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FSD3266 Identity Horizons of Finnish Higher Education Students 2015

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Authors

  • Helve, Helena (University of Tampere. School of Social Sciences and Humanities)
  • Svynarenko, Arseniy (Finnish Youth Research Society. Finnish Youth Research Network)

Keywords

education, expectation, identity, personal identity, personality, self-esteem, students (college), tertiary education, undergraduates

Abstract

This survey studied the identity, values, attitudes, experiences, and expectations of Finnish higher education students between 18 and 24 years of age. The themes of the survey included, among others, self-esteem, personality traits, and local and global identity. Most of the themes were studied using standardised measures. The survey was carried out as part of the international project "The role of identity horizons in education-to-work transitions - A cross-cultural study of students in higher education in Finland, Japan and Northern America". The project surveyed the identities and values of young people and their significance in the transition from higher education to work life.

First, the respondents were asked about their regional identity (for example, whether they identified as Europeans, Finnish citizens, or cosmopolitans). Next, the respondents' identities were examined by charting their experiences and thoughts using the Identity Issues Inventory and Identity Resolution Index by James Côté. The respondents were presented with a set of attitudinal statements concerning, for example, self-confidence, social behaviour and roles, beliefs and values, perception of own skills, and adulthood. The respondents also responded to attitudinal statements from the MAPS20 Self-esteem scale (for example, whether the respondents perceived themselves as fun to be with and popular with persons their own age).

The survey also carried a set of attitudinal statements that examined the respondents' identity by using the Identity Horizons Scale to chart, for example, career plans and opinions on additional education, and the Identity Styles Inventory (5th version) to chart beliefs, attitudes and ways of dealing with issues (for example, whether the respondents thought that it is better to have a firm set of beliefs than to be open-minded and whether the respondents waited as long as possible before making a decision). The next set of attitudinal statements surveyed the respondents' opinions on their ability to affect the future by their own actions (for example, whether the respondents thought that luck plays an important role in their life) using the Internal Locus of Control from the MAPS20. The respondents' views on their personality traits were surveyed with attitudinal statements from the Ten-item Personality Inventory concerning whether the respondents thought of themselves as, for example, critical and quarrelsome, dependable and self-disciplined, or sympathetic and warm. Additionally, the respondents were presented with attitudinal statements from the MAPS20 Purpose in Life Scale about the purpose and meaning in life (for example, whether life seemed exciting versus completely routine to the respondents and whether the respondents thought of themselves as irresponsible or responsible persons).

The survey also carried a set of attitudinal questions from the Proactive Personality Scale concerning the extent to which the respondents took action to influence their environments (for example, whether the respondents were constantly trying to find ways to make their life better and whether the respondents thought they excel at identifying opportunities). The development of the respondents' identity was charted by using a set of attitudinal statements from the Dimensions of Identity Development Scale concerning the respondents' clarity on their plans for the future (for example, whether the respondents had plans for what they are going to do in the future and whether their future plans gave them self-confidence). Further statements from the MAPS20 Ego Strength surveyed the respondents' will power (for example, whether the respondents enjoyed difficult and challenging situations). Finally, the respondents were presented with Helena Helve's attitudinal statements concerning, among others, income distribution, disparity, internationalism, democracy, work ethics, equality, and environmental protection.

Background variables included, among others, age, gender, country of citizenship, NUTS3 region, and the highest level of education of the respondent and the respondent's parents.

The data are based on James Côté's comparative study on identity and the measures used in it (see Côté, J. E., Mizokami, S. Roberts, S. E., Nakama, R., Meca, A. and Schwartz, S .J. (2015) The Role of Identity Horizons in Education-to-Work Transitions: A Cross-Cultural Validation Study in Japan and the United States. Identity An International Journal of Theory and Research Volume 15, 2015 -Issue 4 (pp. 263-286)); and Helena Helve's study on values of young people (see Helve, H. (2013) From higher education to working life: work values of young Finns in changing labour markets. In Helve Helena, Evans Karen (eds.) Youth and work transitions in changing social landscapes. London and U.S.A.: Tufnell Press, pp. 119-137); and attitudinal statements in Helena Helve's study on the change of values (see Helve, H. 2002. Arvot, muutos ja nuoret. Yliopistopaino, University of Helsinki).

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