Applying social and cultural capital frameworks: understanding employment perspectives of transition age youth with serious mental health conditions


By bhadmin February 2, 2021

Vulnerable transition age youth, such as those in foster care and with serious mental health conditions, are at increased risk for lower rates of employment. Social capital is empirically linked to employment in the general population, yet little is known about the role of social capital in employment for at-risk transition age youth. Focus groups were conducted with young people with serious mental health conditions and their vocational specialists. Discussions reveal that both social and cultural capital influence employment processes. Those with employment experience value the motivation to work provided through others compared to those with no employment experience. Consistently employed describe strong working relationships with vocational specialists and possession of self-awareness, professionalism, and work-place knowledge as critical for employment success, while inconsistently employed describe worries about controlling emotions or behaviors on the job. Building social and cultural capital are explored as potential service provider goals.

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