Social–psychological youth problems in Lithuania: investigations of phone calls to the youth line

Jonas Ruškus, Audronė Mičiudaitė


What is the characteristics of the youth social – psychological problems at present? Can we consider that young people have special social and psychological problems? – these were the main points of our analysis. Presumption that the biggest youth problem is contradictions in forming social identity was the hypothesis of the research. The research aim was formed accordingly – we tried to show social and psychological problems that forced young people to look for anonymous psychological social help. The place of research included Psychological Creative Youth Centre in Siauliai (PKJC) and the Youth Line programme. The methods of the research: 1) quality analysis of calls to Siauliai Youth Line; 2) quantity analysis of calls to Siauliai Youth Line, applying standard „Duty List”. The time of the research: 2000 September – 2000 November (I stage) and 2000 December – 2001 February (II stage). The sample of the work is not defined because of the ethics principles, the confidence and anonymity requirements. 1091 calls were on duty for 56 days – 224 hours. The largest part of the calls (50,8 %) were intentional calls, another part (30 %) were „empty” or „silent” calls. 220 calls needed consultations (20 %). As much as it was possible the contents of the conversations were registered.
During the first stage the facts were collected in several ways. First, the contents of the conversations were fixed by the author of the research who at the same time was a Youth Line volunteer – consultant. Second, the contents of the calls were given by other members of the Youth Line during the meetings. Third, extracts of conversations were fixed. It was required to remember the conversations as exactly as possible, to give phrases and ideas. The recommendation was not quote the caller. The information received was discussed during weekly supervisions. During the second stage the contents of the conversations were not registered. We used standard „Duty List” that every consultant was taught to fill in.
The analysis of calls to the Youth Line showed that young people come across such problems as inferiority of social interaction, shortage of competence in communication, loneliness, and „parents as super ego”. The categories of dominant youth problems emphasize that young people experience difficulties in forming social identity, entering the world of adults implicate dilemmas of personal „I” identity. New kind of relations with other people, other than in childhood, personal and social experience coordination, seeking independence implicate social and psychological dilemmas. If they are not solved in one way or another they may lead to serious personal disorders, degradation of social relations, breakup of social solidarity feeling. Youth Line is an adequate means to contribute to creating social identity and personal maturity for young people. A chance to be heard and understood, a possibility to get some advice might be like a bridge helping to have a new look and estimate your own experience, to find inner forces to develop your personality and social competence.

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"Social Work" ISSN online 2029-2775 / ISSN print 1648-4789