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Asser Vittrup Nielsen

Asser Vittrup Nielsen

Path of young citizens from socially disadvantaged neighborhoods to youth education - opportunities, potentials and challenges.

Background

In  2005 the World Health Organization (WHO) created Commission on Social Determinants of Health (CSDH). The commission later presented a plan to decrease the social inequality in health. As a member of WHO the countries are obliged to investigate national causal analysis of social inequalities in health and interventions to decrease the gap.

One of the key determining factors for social inequalities in health is education. Adults with higher educational attainment live healthier and longer lives compared to their less educated peers. The disparities are large, widening and growing.

In the last decades, education was also found strongly influenced by place of residence. Citizens from socially disadvantaged neighborhoods are more likely to drop out and not complete a youth education compared to citizens living outside a socially disadvantaged neighborhood.

Based on the vision to stay as long as possible in the Danish education system, the parliament established an “Education for All” plan in 2006. Years later the disparities in educational level among citizens from and outside a socially disadvantaged neighborhood are still significant?. In the socially disadvantaged neighborhoods, the municipalities wants to bring focus to social activities to help the young citizens get motivated for their own education. The knowledge on the effect of social activities on youths motivation in education in socially disadvantaged neighborhoods is however not well-established and should be further studied.

This PhD project is based on a dynamic long-term strategic initiative called Tingbjerg Changing Diabetes (TCD). The vision of TCD is to promote well-being, healthy lifestyle and prevent type 2 diabetes among the residents of Tingbjerg. TCD focuses on building a dynamic and versatile partnership that develops and implements local activities and projects. All activities and projects in TCD are co-created with Tingbjerg's citizens and local actors and are therefore based on the local area's resources, interests, wishes and needs.

Aim

The overall aim of the study is to understand how to engage and motivate young citizens from socially disadvantaged neighborhoods to youth education through social activities in their own neighborhood.

Research questions

  • How does the education-health association vary across place, and how do individual, social and structural contexts influence that variation?
  • Is it possible to promote motivation for education in young citizens from a socially disadvantaged neighborhood by participation in local activities?
  • What influence does the participation in local based social activities have on the motivation in education and well-being of the young citizens?
 Methods

The PhD project is an explorative study. The first part of the study is a review of how structural og contextual factors interact with education. The second part of the study is a longitudinal qualitative approach among the young citizens with the objective to explore barriers and opportunities in the formal education system. The final part of the study is an evaluation of the impact participation in local based social activities have on the young citizens’ motivation to education and well-being.

Results

The results will be presented on a regularly basis to SDU, to the TCD partnership, participants in the project and in scientific settings. Communication include oral presentation of the project at the university and at national and international conferences as well as preparation of three scientific papers.

Time frame

June 2020 - May 2023

Supervisors

Main supervisor: Professor Pernille Tanggaard Andersen, Unit for Health Promotion Research, Department of Public Health, University of Sourthern Denmark.

Co-supervisor: Paul Bloch, Health Promotion Research Unit, Steno Diabetes Center Copenhagen, The Capital Region of Denmark

Co-supervisor: Mette Kirstine Tørslev, Health Promotion Research Unit, Steno Diabetes Center Copenhagen, The Capital Region of Denmark

Last Updated 06.07.2021