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FSD2884 Welfare and Services in Finland 2004

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Tekijät

  • Moisio, Pasi (National Research and Development Centre for Welfare and Health (STAKES))

Asiasanat

activities of daily living, family policy, health, health policy, health services, home help, housing, living conditions, quality of life, satisfaction, social and welfare policy, social networks, social security, social services, social welfare, well-being (health)

Sisällön kuvaus

Welfare and Services in Finland is a panel survey that combines telephone and face-to-face interviews, postal surveys and register data. The aim of the study is to offer up-to-date, reliable and extensive research data on Finnish welfare and the use of welfare services. In 2004, the survey was conducted as a telephone interview and postal survey.

Questions in the telephone interview charted the respondents' household, parents and childhood, economic activity and work, housing and economic circumstances, attitudes, and use of health and social services.

The questions focusing on the household, parents and childhood surveyed the number of people in the household, the number of children in the household, parents' occupations, and economic circumstances in childhood home. Relating to economic activity and work, the economic activity was charted and, depending on the activity, further questions investigated, among others, spells of unemployment, type of employment contract, work schedule, job-related uncertainty, and age when retired.

Concerning housing, the questions investigated the housing tenure, number of rooms, floor area, type of neighbourhood, satisfaction with various aspects of the housing, and difficulties with the home. Some questions studied the respondents' economic circumstances, for example, savings, mortgage, difficulties with housing costs and other loans, and ability to pay for food.

Relating to health, questions were asked about health status, exercise habits, alcohol consumption, smoking, height and weight, limiting long-term illnesses or disabilities and their effects on daily life, stress, and visits to a doctor or nurse in the previous 12 months. Further questions probed where the respondents would primarily try to get a doctor's appointment during daytime, whether they had received sufficient care for health problems, what the distance to the closest health centre, doctor's office, dentist's office etc. was from their home, and whether they had had to wait unreasonably long to receive treatment (e.g. to get a doctor's appointment in a health centre). Dental health and visits to a dentist were surveyed.

Regarding social services, the respondents were asked whether their household had received financial help from different people or actors (e.g. relatives, organisations, government/municipal authorities) in the previous 12 months, and whether their household or someone in the household had received or purchased home help services, personal care services or counselling services. The significance of the above-mentioned support/services was also charted.

Attitudes were investigated with questions on who should hold the main responsibility for elderly care in Finland, whether the level of social security in Finland was too high or low, and expectations for the economic circumstances of the household and for the respondent's personal situation. Further topics covered the gap between the rich and poor in Finland and the relationship between taxation level and social security. The respondents who were aged 60 or older were asked additional questions about, for instance, how they managed with daily activities, from whom they received help, contacts with relatives and friends, and views on ageing.

The postal survey charted health problems and insurances, medication, views on health services and their funding, social services, quality of life, social networks, and need for help as well as use and quality of services. The first questions surveyed satisfaction with life, preferred economic activity, trust in people and opinions on the general characteristics of people (self-seeking vs. selfless), paid employment in the previous 12 months, and opinions on the fairness of the supervisor and democracy at the workplace. The respondents were also asked which services could be cut to diminish costs, whether health services should be provided by private companies or government, from whom the respondents could ask for help and support, whether younger people would respect the respondents less or more as they got older, how the funding for elderly care could be safeguarded, and whether the elderly were discriminated against in Finland.

Relating to health problems and insurances, questions surveyed the monitoring of short-term sick leave at the workplace, insurances purchased, and days spent in hospital for treatment in the previous 12 months. Questions regarding medication investigated prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs and natural remedies used.

With regard to health services, the respondents were asked whether healthcare functioned well or needed improvement, which areas of healthcare should be improved in the municipality, which services should be developed in the municipality (e.g. hospital services, dental health services), whether the government should lower taxes or increase health care funding, who should primarily be responsible for monitoring and providing healthcare services, and how the services should be funded. Views on social services were charted by asking whether the respondents thought claiming a benefit would be difficult for them, whether they would be entitled to different services and benefits if needed, whether social services functioned well or needed improvement, how social services should be improved in the municipality, and to what extent various services should be developed in the municipality. Use of social services was investigated with questions surveying contacts with the social services in the previous 12 months in order to receive aid or service, type of aid claimed and its sufficiency, reasons for potential rejection of the claim, waiting time for the service or support, and satisfaction with the services.

The questions about quality of life in the postal survey examined the ability to move, read, see, hear, breathe, sleep, eat and speak normally as well as bladder and bowel function, ability to perform everyday tasks, ability to think clearly and remember things, health problems and symptoms, mood, anxiety, energy, and effect of health on love life. Social networks and participation were studied with questions charting how often the respondents were in touch with different people and which activities they had done in the previous two weeks (e.g. participated in the activities of an organisation or association, tutored or mentored other people).

Relating to need for care and assistance as well as the use and perceived quality of services, the questions presented charted services claimed/purchased in the previous 12 months, the most important services, financial problems caused by service fees, care or aid given by the respondent, and experiences of great personal significance in the previous two years. Finally, perceptions of quality of life were surveyed as well as satisfaction with health, ability to focus on things, sense of security or insecurity in daily life, healthiness of physical environment, ability to do things (in terms of, for instance, money and energy), ability to move, satisfaction with various things in life (e.g. relationships), negative feelings, and feelings of loneliness.

Background variables included the size of the household, occupations of parents, R's gender, year of birth, and type of municipality. In addition, there are register variables containing information on region (NUTS3), statistical grouping of the municipality of residence, disposable income of the household, and level of education (three-level ISCED classification).

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