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ERIC Number: EJ786808
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Jan
Pages: 28
Abstractor: Author
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0303-8300
Self-Reported Fears as Indicators of Young Children's Well-Being in Societal Change: A Cross-Cultural Perspective
Taimalu, Merle; Lahikainen, Anja Riitta; Korhonen, Piia; Kraav, Inger
Social Indicators Research, v80 n1 p51-78 Jan 2007
Our main interest in this paper is in studying children's well-being by using children themselves as informants and fear as an indicator of insecurity from cross-cultural and longitudinal perspectives. More specifically our paper documents the changes in the content and prevalence of children's fears in two neighboring countries, Finland and Estonia, during the last decade. The study was carried out in 1993 and replicated in 2002/2003 in both countries with the random samples of total number of 420 five to six-year-old children (in Estonia 115 in 1993 and 91 in 2002; in Finland 105 and 109, respectively). For both countries the decade in question was a period of social, political and economic transition including post-socialist transformation in Estonia. Especially informationalization and globalization had a profound impact on the everyday life of parents and children. The increase of insecurity among children in both countries was expected. Children's fears were investigated by means of an individual semi-structured and picture-aided interview. The most important findings are: the prevalence of children's self-reported fears has generally increased during the ten years, especially among the Estonian children. The most significant increase was observed in both countries in fears of imagination-related things including television-related fears, fears of imagined creatures and of nightmares parallel to children's increased media-exposure in daily life. Despite the increase of general welfare in both countries our results suggest the opposite tendency among young children; decrease of safety and increase of insecurity. The level of children's insecurity was higher in Estonian than in Finland at both times. It is noteworthy that some fears of young children are "universal" (fear of getting lost, fear of darkness, fear of being alone), while some fears are more context dependent (television-induced fears, fear of strange people). Young children proved to be competent informants of their condition and well able to provide essential and invaluable information about their problems and well-being.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Estonia; Finland