The social and psychological effects of long-term poverty were examined in two studies analyzing the follow-up material to the Everyday Experiences of Poverty writing competition in 2006 and 2012.
“Long-term difficulties, such as low income, unemployment, insecurity, addictions, pain, and illness, can plunge a person into a vicious circle where life-sustaining power is weakened. Participation in collaboration and experiences of relevance are reduced,” said Anna-Maria IsolaTHL Research Manager.
Planning for the future is difficult if you have to focus on simply coping with each day and anticipating the worst. In these circumstances, you may not recognize positive opportunities and strive to pursue things that are difficult for you to achieve.
The studies found key factors that supported people’s ability to lead their own lives, to pursue things that are important to them, and to make decisions that support their well-being.
These factors include the controllability and predictability of one’s own life and the world around us, financial resources, a sense of togetherness, equal opportunities to participate, and experiencing the meaning of life.
“When there is economic, social and psychological stability and room for maneuver in life, more positive opportunities are seen instead of negative risks. A person experiences less feelings of worthlessness when he is able to live life as he pleases, but also in line with other expectations,” he said. Lotta VirrankariTHL researcher.
As the name suggests, social security provides security that was found to create faith in the future. At its best, Finnish social security was predictable, but income support and labor policy statements in particular were sometimes considered unclear.
“There is a risk that people will not be willing to volunteer, for example, for fear of losing support, which would help them stay connected to the community and bring content to life. Participation in other joint activities may also gradually decline and eventually uncertainty undermines confidence,” Isola described.
THL’s research professor Heikki Hiilamo emphasized that the adequacy of social security must be assessed in relation to how well it enables the poorest to participate in the prevailing lifestyle.
“The opportunity to move around the city, participate in cultural events and sometimes even go out to eat can create meaningful experiences that encourage people to improve their well-being.”
However, social security and related services alone cannot provide sufficient experience of meaningfulness.
There is also a need for open spaces and events where it is easy to interact with others and where different people can meet and do things together. Equal encounters also dispel attitudes and beliefs that are harmful to the most vulnerable.
Source: The Nordic Page