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Promoting social engagement for young adults living in social isolation: Social workers and health care professionals' perceptions of success factors
Dalarna University, School of Education, Health and Social Studies, Social Work.
Dalarna University, School of Education, Health and Social Studies, Social Work.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-2853-0575
Dalarna University, School of Education, Health and Social Studies, Social Work.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-0106-2839
2019 (English)Conference paper, Poster (with or without abstract) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Background: Today the global number of young adults not in employment, education or training seem to increase. A large proportion of the group are unemployed and disengaged and have not been in contact with any authority. Thus, they are invisible to many community services and official agencies. The situation standing outside the society may have negative long-term health effects and statistics shows that more than a third of the target group after ten years still not work or study. Socially withdrawn youth is a complex phenomenon and very few young adults seek help, often due to their lack of motivation. For this reason, unemployed and inactive young people are often described as being a difficult group to support and engage. Further, there is currently limited evidence on the effects of interventions directed to socially withdrawn youth not in employment or education and the use of evidence-based practice has to be improved.

Aim: The aim of this study was to investigate social workers and health care professionals’ experiences of working with young adults living in social isolation, and to identify which interventions the professionals find most successful in supporting the young adults’ engagement in society.

Methods: In this study a qualitative method was used. Ten semi-structured interviews were conducted that included thirteen employees from social services and outpatient psychiatric clinics in a Swedish county. Data were analyzed using thematic network analysis.

Results: Analysis resulted in two general thematic networks: ”barriers of the transition into adulthood” and ”to manage complex needs”. Participants tended to associate the issues of young adults with difficulties related to transition into adulthood. Mental health problems, low self-esteem, school related problems and limited social networks also came out in the interviews as factors that characterized unemployed and disengaged socially withdrawn youths. Participants described that successful work to re-engage these young adults included an empowerment-oriented perspective with a focus on the individual strengths, integrated and coordinated interventions and a flexible working approach.

Conclusion: Today the societal changes and the process of individualization place greater demands on individual resources and capabilities which might increase the risk of social exclusion. Participants indicated that the complex problems of socially isolated young adults and experiences of long-term disengagement may contribute to stable and persistent withdrawal from society. Early identification and support for youths at risk of social withdrawal, a holistic approach, multifaceted interventions and tailored and flexible activities is deemed crucial to help reintegrate these young people. Further investigation is required to examine the effects of interventions targeting socially withdrawn and inactive young adults.

 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019.
National Category
Social Work
Research subject
Health and Welfare
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:du-29657OAI: oai:DiVA.org:du-29657DiVA, id: diva2:1296013
Conference
European Conference for Social Work Research 2019 (ECSWR), 10-12 april, Leuven, Belgium
Available from: 2019-03-13 Created: 2019-03-13 Last updated: 2019-04-08Bibliographically approved

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Ayoub, MariaUdo, CamillaRandell, Eva

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CiteExportLink to record
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