Iuventa / Výskum mládeže / Data catalogue / 2011 / Autonomy of the youth in Slovakia as a multidimensional phenomenon

Autonomy of the youth in Slovakia as a multidimensional phenomenon

Research identification sheet ID: DAYR 033

Authors of the survey: Mgr. Lívia Nemcová, PhD. (project leader), PhDr. Alžbeta Brozmanová Gregorová, PhD., PhDr. Patrícia Zolyomiová, PhD., doc. PaedDr. Peter Jusko, PhD. (project team members), doc. PhDr. Ivan Kusý, PhD. (professional consultant)
Period of data collection: November 2010 – January 2011
Data collection: Empirical data collection was made in cooperation with external company Respond using a network of interviewers in the form of face-to-face standardized interviews.

Abstract

The concept of autonomy of the youth is currently becoming a topical issue especially concerning creation of the youth policy. The autonomy, as well as other phenomena related to the youth, has a strong multidisciplinary dimension. A broader definition of autonomy of the youth stresses its various aspects and factors that influence it, it is understood as a comprehensive issue and, at practical level, it is connected to various types of policies. The starting definition of autonomy of the youth was a definition prepared as a part of the document titled Policy Paper on Youth Autonomy (2004), which was prepared by the European Youth Forum. Definition included in this document was also applied to other frameworks of youth policy at the European level. The document reads: Autonomy is a situation when young people have the necessary support, resources and opportunities to live their lives independently, organize them, participate, in full, in social and political aspects in all sectors of everyday life and adopt independent decisions. The scope of the survey covered selected areas of youth autonomy, in particular: financial independence, autonomy in the field of housing, autonomy in the field of partnership and parenthood, relative autonomy (extent of freedom in decision making and actions in particular areas of life) and subjective assessment of autonomy of young people. The purpose of the survey was to uncover the level of autonomy of young people in surveyed areas and how particular areas influence each other.

Goals of the survey

The goal of the survey was to uncover the level of autonomy of young people in surveyed areas (financial independence, autonomy in the field of housing, autonomy in the field of partnership and parenthood; relative autonomy - extent of freedom in decision making and actions; subjective assessment of autonomy of young people) and how those particular areas influence each other.

Methodology of the survey and survey sample

Empirical data collection was carried out in cooperation with an external company using a network of interviewers in the form of face-to-face standardized interviews in the period from November 2010 to January 2011. Data was processed using the statistical program SPSS version 18.

The survey sample consisted of 1,001 respondents aged 20 to 34 years of age. Respondents were selected on the basis of quota selection depending on selection marks: region, type of municipality (rural, urban), age and gender. The survey sample was made up of 532 women (53.15 %) and 469 men (46.85 %). Out of the total number of 1,001 respondents, there were 40.16 % aged 20-24, 32.97 % aged 25-29 and respondents aged 30-34 formed the smallest part with 26.67 % share. Respondents had their places of permanent residence in 8 regions of Slovakia – with approximately equal representation of each region (app. 110 – 140 respondents from each region). 40.56 % of respondents live in rural areas and 59.44 % in towns.

Conclusions and main findings of the survey

We consider the below findings in the area of autonomy of young people (in our case people aged 20-34) in Slovakia to be the most important:

  • Particular area of autonomy are closely interrelated. It means that is young people become autonomous in the field of finances, it is logical to also expect autonomy in the area of living and subsequently also life in partnership and parenthood. At the same time, they show a higher level of freedom in decision making and actions and a higher level of subjective perception of the possibility to live in an autonomous and satisfactory way.
  • Achieving autonomy is related to age. However, in particular areas, autonomy does not have to increase with age. It is especially related to the fact that even though there is an increasing number of respondents with the higher age who are autonomous in the field of housing, partnership and parenthood, in that group, there is the highest number of young people on maternity or parental leave, which is the period that is typical by a loss of financial independence, level of freedom in decision making and [a loss of] the feeling of subjective autonomy.
  • Achieving autonomy is related to education. We found the highest share of autonomous young people among young people with university education. It is a proof that education is the factor that makes it possible for young people to get more job opportunities and thus also the source of independent and higher income which is a precondition for achieving autonomy in other areas. People with university education also show a higher level of autonomy in the area of housing, higher level of freedom in decision making and actions and a higher level of subjective autonomy. It is interesting that education is not the factor that plays a role in autonomy in the field of partnership and parenthood. However, we found differences in planning changes in these areas. Respondents with university education decided to make changes in both cases more often. It is related to above mentioned interrelations between individual areas of autonomy.
  • Achieving autonomy is related to job position. The highest level of autonomy was observed among working young people. i.e. those who are employed or self-employed.
  • Achieving autonomy is related to the standard of living of the original family. Young people coming from families with higher living standards achieve higher level of autonomy in particular areas. The original family can, on one hand, establish preconditions for achieving autonomy of young people but, at the same time, serve as a pattern – role model – adopted by young people.

Recommendations of the survey

As the autonomy of youth represents a wide range of areas of lives of young people, its support requires coordination of all policies, including employment, family, housing, social protection, health and social justice.

The key findings are as follows:

  • Provide free access to education at all levels and for everyone and, at the same time, strengthen motivation to increase education level;
  • Develop a specific labour market policy aimed at the youth, encompassing various possibilities of acquiring work experience (internship for fresh graduates, a statutory regulation of a specified percentage share of young people in large companies in order to gain experience), higher level of stability of working conditions, support to young people’s business activities, programs for support of transition from school to employment , etc.; connection of school and the labour market;
  • Support low-cost and subsidized housing for young people;
  • Build a system of social protection that will make it possible for young people to achieve the highest possible level of autonomy even in specific situations such as unemployment, as well as care for children;
  • Set up specific programs aimed at supporting autonomy of young people with lack of opportunities (coming from families with low income, incomplete families, rural areas, etc.);
  • Provide information, in media, to young people about utilisation of tools for supporting their autonomy, utilisation of opportunities and their rights.

Prepared by: Mgr. Lívia Nemcová, PhD.

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