Theme 1: Youth, Inter-generational Mobility, and Civic Values

Theme 1: Youth, Inter-generational Mobility, and Civic Values

Karen Evans and Ingrid Schoon
Other Team members: 
Chiara Rosazza Bondibene, Claire Callender, Richard Dorsett, Michela Franceschelli, Alison Fuller, Andy Green, David Guile, Bryony Hoskins, Germ Janmaat, Avril Keating, Pauline Leonard, Geoff Mason, Nicola Pensiero, Cinzia Rienza, Ingrid Schoon,
Martin Weale, and Rachel Wilde


 -  Ingrid Schoon, Karen Evans, and Martin Weale  (Project Leaders), Richard Dorsett, Michela Franceschelli, Gabriella Melis, Cinzia Rienza, Anna Rosso

- Andy Green, Avril Keating (project leaders), Germ Janmaat, Bryony Hoskins, Michela Franceschelli, and Rachel Wilde

- Pauline Leonard (PI) and Rachel Wilde

– Claire Callender and Geoff Mason (Project Leaders)

What is Theme 1 about?

Projects in Theme 1 are exploring the extent to which social circumstances and socio-economic factors in the family of origin influence children's life chances into early adult life and provide a platform for future well-being. Adopting a mixed method and multi-dimensional approach in operationalising indicators of social disadvantage we move beyond previous studies that have focused mainly on class or income, providing a more comprehensive understanding of constellations of socio-economic risk and associated disadvantage.  Examining constellations of risks associated with worklessness, family support, marital dissolution, health and housing, and how these differ in times of social change, this interdisciplinary research offers social scientific originality and innovation as well as answers to questions about changing intergenerational dynamics that are very topical for UK policy.  

With reference to intergenerational transmissions, we are investigating what it is that is being transmitted and in what ways do different transition experiences provide a platform for well-being and civic engagement later in life. The evidence, based on large scale and national representative data as well as in-depth interviews and case studies will offer leverages that could be applied via policy to improve life chances, well-being and social inclusion.

Research Findings

A central topic of investigation has been the effect of the 2008 recession on the life chances and perceptions of young people. Evidence is provided from secondary analysis of existing data (such as the British Household Panel Survey (BHPS), the Longitudinal Study of Young People in England (LSYPE), and the Citizenship Education Longitudinal Study (CELS) as well as generating new qualitative and quantitative data.

Evidence from the CELS survey of civic learning, behaviours, and attitudes among young people in England highlighted the evolution of opportunities and values among young people, focusing on educational, employment and housing opportunities of young people making the transition to adulthood, and how changes in these opportunities affected young people’s civic engagement and civic values. Moreover, qualitative studies explored in more detail how the current climate is affecting young people’s values and aspirations, and how experiences and attitudes vary across regions and between different social sub-groups.

A book on Young People and the Great Recession will be published by Cambridge University Press (co-edited by Schoon and Bynner) and a special issue has already been published in the International Journal of Psychology. The findings, based on national and international longitudinal data, suggest that the recession played a significant but not principal influence on young people’s changing life course post-2007. Better to characterize it as a major economic shock that intensified the impact of pre-existing economic and social trends, associated with an prolongation of the transition from school to work while qualifications are gained, a delay in family formation and mounting problems in making the transition to the labour market, including the rise of insecure and poorly paid jobs, underemployment and repeated job churning. Moreover, there were age specific effects, pointing to potential sensitive periods for interventions and highlighting the transition to adulthood as a crucial developmental phase – especially regarding the formation of values and beliefs about society. While the recession had only a slight effect on the lives of adolescents, it impacted more strongly on those aged 18 to 25 years. Achievement orientation, trust in social institutions and civic engagement were lowered, especially among the most disadvantaged, yet psychological health and wellbeing of adolescents and young people have been only minimally affected.

In addition, findings from a 2015 survey of prospective undergraduates are compared with those from a previous study conducted in 2002 study. The evidence suggests that students’ attitudes to taking on student loan debt are more favourable in 2015 than in 2002. Yet, debt averse attitudes remain much stronger among lower-class students than among upper-class students, and more so than in 2002. However, lower-class students in 2015 did not have stronger debt averse attitudes than did middle-class students. Finally, debt averse attitudes seem more likely to deter planning for higher education among lower-class students compared with students from other social classes, and more so in 2015 than in 2002.

A qualitative study on the youth employability schemes offered by different regional economies across the UK suggests that these vary considerably in terms of the opportunities and outcomes they offer to young people. While some young people gain access to high quality training and a secure job as an outcome of their programme, many exit only to remain on the ringroads of un/employment: another part-time job or short term contract. Across the regions we investigated, two factors are key to this income. On the supply side, social class is key. On the demand side, whether the programme is offered ‘in-house’ or by a third sector agency is also critical. In the former, employers recognise that they profit from access to talent and can respond quickly to offer employment.  In the latter, in spite of the fact that employability programmes benefit from high quality staff and unwavering commitment, that they need to rely on a network of committed employers to offer good training and work experience presents intractable problems. Employers need to step up and into the youth employment agenda.

Between 2015 and March 2017 the Project teams have produced:

14 journal articles

3 books

7 book chapters

4 research reports

11 Keynotes and 16 seminars

There are currently 9 papers under review and 12 articles in preparation.

Publication Outputs

Journal articles

Callender, C and Mason, G. (2017) Does student loan debt deter higher education participation? New evidence from England.  Annals of American Political and Social Science. Vol 671, May 2017

Dorsett, R., Lui, S. & Weale, M. (2016)  Empirical Economics. Vol 51. pp737-762.

Evans, K., & Biasin, C. (2016). Agency, Learning and Identity in Women’s Life Trajectories. Savoirs42(3), 71. doi:

Evans, K., & Biasin, C. (2017). Exploring agency, learning and identity in women’s life trajectories in United Kingdom and Italy - Exploración de la agencia, el aprendizaje y la identidad en las trayectorias de vida de las mujeres en el Reino Unido e Italia. Revista Española de Educación Comparada0(29), 15. DOI:

Franceschelli, M., Evans, K. & Schoon, I. (2015). ‘A fish out of water?’ The therapeutic narratives of class change. Current Sociology, DOI:

Franceschelli, M., Schoon, I. & Evans, K. (2017). 'Your past makes you who you are': retrospective parenting and relational resilience amongst Black Caribbean British young people. Sociological Research Online. DOI: 

Green, A. Pensiero, N. Franceschelli, M. and Henseke, G. (forthcoming, 2017) ‘Education and the Changing Structure of Opportunities for Young People in England,’  Journal of Asian Education Review.

Hoskins, B., Leonard, P. & Wilde, R. (2017) British Educational Research Journal, 1-24.  DOI: 10.1002/berj.3318.

Keating, A. and Janmaat, J.G. (2015)  In: Parliam Aff (2015) doi: 10.1093/pa/gsv017

Keating, A. (2015) . In: Journal of Youth Studies. DOI: 10.1080/13676261.2015.1072617

Ng-Knight, T. & Schoon, I. (2016). . Journal of Personality. 

Parker, P. D., Jerrim, J., Schoon, I., & Marsh, H. W. (2016). A Multination Study of Socioeconomic Inequality in Expectations for Progression to Higher Education: The Role of Between-School Tracking and Ability Stratification. American Educational Research Journal, 53(1), 6-32. Doi:10.3102/0002831215621786

Schoon, I., & Ng-Knight, T. (in press). Co-development of educational expectations and effort: their antecedents and role as predictors of academic success. Research in Human Development.

Schoon I. & Mortimer, J.T. (2017). Youth and the Great Recession – are values, achievement orientation and outlook to the future affected? International Journal of Psychology, 52(1), 1-8

Schoon I. & Lyons-Amos, M. (2017). A socio-ecological model of agency. The role of psycho-social and socio-economic resources in shaping education and employment transitions in England. Longitudinal and Life Course Studies, 8(1), 35-56

Schoon, I. & Mullin, A.S. (2016). Crime involvement and family formation among men and women. Evidence from the 1970 British Birth Cohort Study. Advances in Life Course Research, 28, 22-20

Schoon, I. & Lyons-Amos, M. (2016) . Research in Social Stratification and Mobility. ISSN 02765624.

Symonds, J., Schoon, I. & Salmela-Aro, K. (2016). . British Educational Research Journal.

Wilde, R. & Leonard, P. (2017).  Journal of Education and Work.  DOI: 10.1080/13639080.2017.1421311. 


Andy Green (forthcoming May, 2017) The Crisis for Young People: Generational Inequalities in Education, Work, Housing and Welfare, Palgrave Pivot.

Schoon, I. & Bynner J. (Eds.) (in press). Young People’s Development and the Great Recession: Uncertain Transitions and Precarious Futures. Cambridge University Press

Schoon, I. & Silbereisen, R.K (Eds.) (in press). Pathways to Adulthood: How do Social Inquality, Individual Motivation, and Social Change matter? UCL Institute of Education Press


Bynner, J., Elder, G.H.Jr., Heinz, W. & Schoon, I. (in press). Insights gained on the Great Recession’s Effects. In: I.Schoon & J.Bynner (Eds.). Young People’s Development and the Great Recession: Uncertain Transitions and Precarious Futures

Green, A. and Pensiero, N. (2016) ‘Comparative Perspectives: Education and Training System Effects on Youth Transitions and Opportunities’ in Schoon, I. and Bynner, J, (eds), Young People and the Great Recession: Preparing for an Uncertain Future, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Lyons-Amos, M.J. and Schoon I. (in press). Employment and Family Transitions in the UK: Trends before and after the Great Recession in I.Schoon & J.Bynner (Eds.). Young People’s Development and the Great Recession: Uncertain Transitions and Precarious Futures

Schoon I. & Bynner, J. (in press). Conceptualizing youth transitions in times of economic upheaval and uncertainty. I n I.Schoon & J.Bynner (Eds.). Young People’s Development and the Great Recession: Uncertain Transitions and Precarious Futures

Schoon, I. (2017). Making it against the odds: diverse strategies and successful adaptation. In A. C. Peterson, S. H. Koller, F. Motti-Stefanidi, & S. Verma (Eds.), Positive youth development in global contexts of social and economic change. New York: Routledge.

Schoon, I. (2015). Gender and the transition to adulthood: A diverse pathways view. In Robert Scott and Stephen Kosslyn, Hoboken (eds.). Emerging Trends in the Social and Behavioral Sciences: An Interdisciplinary, Searchable, and Linkable Resource. (pp 1–15). NJ:  John Wiley and Sons. DOI: 10.1002/9781118900772.etrds0138

Schoon, I. (2015). Diverse Pathways: Rethinking the Transition to Adulthood. In P. Amato, A. Booth, S. McHale, & J. Van Hook (Eds.), Families in an era of increasing inequality: Diverging destinies. (pp. 115-136). New York: Springer

Research Reports

Leonard, P. and Wilde, R. (2015) “They go the extra mile”: Experiences of Young People at Volunteer Glasgow Project Report, London, UCL, LLAKES

Leonard, P. and Wilde, R. (2017) Reducing the Skills Gap: Giving Young People A Chance to Demonstrate their Employability (under review) London, UCL, LLAKES

Keating, A., Green, A., and Janmaat, G. (2015). . LLAKES Policy Briefing, UCL Institute of Education.

Schoon, I., Nasim, B., Shemi, R. & Cook, R. (2015) The impact of early life skills on later outcomes. Report for the OECD (Early Childhood Education and Care). EDU/EDPC(2015)26 JT03384682

Articles under review

Franceschelli, M. and Keating, A. (under review) ‘Imagining the future in the neoliberal era: the turn to the self and young people’s belief in hard work’

Franceschelli, M., Evans, K. & Schoon, I. (under review). Enhancing the life chances of Black Caribbean British young people: the role of past in parenting and relational resilience.

Gutman, L. & Schoon, I. (under review). Aiming high, aiming low, not knowing where to go: Career aspirations of young people with special educational needs.

Janmaat, G. and Keating, A. (under review) ‘Are today’s youth more tolerant? Trends in tolerance among young people in Britain’ Ethnicities, revisions to be submitted in March/ April).

Keating, A. and Melis, G. (under review) ‘Social media and youth political engagement: Preaching to the converted or providing a new voice for youth?’ (review)

Ng-Knight, T., & Schoon, I. (under review). Can locus of control compensate for socioeconomic adversity in the transition from school to work? Journal of Youth and Adolescence.

Pensiero, N. & Ingrid Schoon, I. (under review). Social inequalities in educational attainment across 3 UK age cohorts: A refined tale

In Preparation 

Callender, C and Mason, G. Student debt aversion, HE participation and borrowing intentions

Franceschelli, M; Keating, A. ‘Conditional cosmopolitanism? Exploring the contradictions of youth attitudes towards global citizenship’ (planned for June Submission)

Janmaat, G. and Keating, A ‘Qual paper on Youth attitudes towards immigration’ (this paper is well under-way, but title tbd).

Keating, A. Melis, G. and  and Franceschelli, M, ‘Youth attitudes towards their future: the role of resources, agency and perceptions of hard work  (Autumn 2017_)

Schoon, I. and Melis, G. Constellations of Risk. Evidence on the intergenerational transmission of disadvantage in the 1970 British Birth Cohort