Support networks of youth in psychosocial distress

Project type: Ciljni raziskovalni program

Code: V5-1910

Beginning: 01.11.2019

End: 31.10.2021

Funding: Slovene Research Agency


Ministry of Health

Collaborating organisations:

Faculty of Education

Coordinator: UL, Faculty of Social Work

Leader: prof. dr. Vesna Leskošek


doc. dr. Mija M. Klemenčič Rozman

doc. dr. Jana Rapuš Pavel

doc. dr. Špela Razpotnik

doc. dr. Matej Sande

as. dr. Darja Tadič

mag. Mirjam ten Veen (T)


Research findings in Slovenia show that youth facing psychosocial distress cannot manage to reach the existing supportive services, activities or organizations for various reasons, or they are left-out or excluded from the support they’ve found or reached. These findings represent the starting point of the project. The fundamental goals of the project are: to find out (a) how youth describe their own position when experiencing different critical situations and the responses to these positions by existing supportive networks, (b) how to find, address, include or withhold youth in the supportive activities network and (c) to outline the characteristics of adequately condensed, interconnected as well as qualitatively and/or quantitatively (re)formed network of (non)formal forms of support of youth in psychosocial distress. Based on the experiences reported by youth and the analysis of the existing network of (non)formal support of youth in psychosocial distress, the overall aim of the project is to learn how to expand or reform this network to become closer to the youth, their needs, life circumstances and contexts. The specific consideration of the project will be focused to drawing closer the support network towards youth, who are (1.) coping with earlier phases of psychosocial distress, (2.) drop-out of the support system and (3.) to youth who are using psychoactive substances (all of the points above are stated separately to facilitate comprehension, whereas real-life situations show their interconnections). The project is based on the findings, that factors hindering Slovenian youth receiving the support are linked not only to objectively inaccessible sources of support (e.g. adequate number of places, geographical proximity, free services), but (even more so) to their subjective accessibility, which is founded on youth’s perception, experiencing and evaluating sources of support. These sources present the criteria for valuing the sense of using the support and directing their mode of preparedness for entering and remaining in a support network. Deriving from the goals of the project, which are focused on the area of qualitative characteristics of support network for youth, the project is founded on a qualitative research approach. Instead of how much and where should sources of support be located, this approach will enable to study what support for youth should be like and would be therefore welcomed and accepted by youth. This will present the meeting of the first condition of the aim of support networks for youth, i.e. the one that youth can reach, find and stay in it. In the sense of the research design the project is designed on two levels. Different research methods will be applied. They will be planned and conducted in a way to meet the key criteria, i.e. to get as close as possible to the users' perspective/to youth. Another research area will be oriented towards joining the existing forms of connecting and networking the activities, projects and programs in the field of youth work in a research manner. The complexity of the research project also is founded on the aspect of understanding the category of »psychosocial distress of youth«. It comprehends this category as complex and most of all, heterogenic phenomena, which cannot be thought in a simplified manner. Moreover, it demands deep, heterogenized and contextualized approach, which could grasp the variety of youth experiences and their experiences with support.


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