G5 Doctoral dissertation (article)
The accumulation of problems of social functioning: outer, inner, and behavioral strands (1999)

Rönkä, A. (1999). The accumulation of problems of social functioning: outer, inner, and behavioral strands [Doctoral dissertation]. University of Jyväskylä. Jyväskylä studies in Education, Psychology, and Social Research (Doctoral Thesis), 148. http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-951-39-8067-2

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Rönkä, Anna

ISBN: 951-39-0385-0

eISBN: 978-951-39-8067-2

Journal or series: Jyväskylä studies in Education, Psychology, and Social Research (Doctoral Thesis)

ISSN: 0075-4625

Publication year: 1999

Number in series: 148

Number of pages in the book: 44

Publisher: University of Jyväskylä

Place of Publication: Jyväskylä

Publication language: English

Persistent website address: http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-951-39-8067-2

Publication open access: Openly available

Publication channel open access:

Publication is parallel published (JYX): http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-951-39-8067-2


This study examined the question of whether problems of social functioning in
adulthood accumulate, and compared developmental processes involved in the
accumulation of problems in men and women. Problems of social functioning in
adulthood included, for example, poor financial standing, poor social
relationships, and drinking problems. Risk factors in childhood and adolescence
consisted of aggressiveness and anxiety, family problems, and negative schooling
experiences. The study was based on the Jyvaskyla Longitudinal Study of
Personality and Social Development, in which the lives of the participants have
been followed from age 8 to age 36. The original sample consisted of 196 boys
and 173 girls born in 1959. Data collected at ages 8,1 4,2 7,a nd 36 by using teacher
ratings, questionnaires, interviews and criminal records were utilized. The results
indicated that problems of social functioning tend to interact and co-occur. The
accumulation of problems was more common among the men than among the
women, and there were sex differences in the strands through which accumulated
risk factors were transmuted into adult problems. The "outer strand", referring
to lack of opportunities in life included career instability in both sexes; but early
parenthood and a problematic partner only in women. "Behavioral strand",
denoting the individual's tendency to exhibit problem behavior, and its negative
consequences, was more prominent in the accumulation of problems in men than
in women, whereas the "inner strand" in terms of sense of failure was more
central in the case of women. Continuity in the accumulation of problems was
weaker among women, and women's problems started to accumulate later in life
than men's problems. As a conceptual conclusion, a distinction was drawn on the
basis of the focus of interest (individual or population) and temporal perspective
(state or process) between accumulation as a co-occurrence of problems, and
accumulation as a chain of problems in individuals; and accumulation as a
concentration of problems in a subgroup of people and accumulation as
polarization of problems in a population. "Accumulation" in the present study
refers to a long-term process on the individual level.

Keywords: social functioning; problem behaviour; risk factors; aggressions; anxiety; growing up; alcoholism; human relations; self-control; self-esteem; accumulation; quantitative research; questionnaire survey; behavioural psychology; development of personality; deviant behaviour; follow-up study; maladjustment; social problems; gender differences; social exclusion; unemployment; doctoral dissertations

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Last updated on 2021-14-09 at 10:54