Mental Well-Being And Sense Of Coherence At Entry To Working Life - A Study Of Young Physicians And Architects

Virtanen P and Heino J.
University of Tampere. Tampere (Finland).
Status passage to labour market is a critical period in the life of young people. In this follow-up study we monitored for three years the entry into working life of young physicians and architects. The aim was to describe the changes and to find out possible differences in their well-being.
A questionnaire was posted to all Finnish students of architecture (n = 173) and medicine (n = 642) in 1994 which was the last year of their regular curriculum, and after that in 1995, 1996 and 1998.
The study group was assessed with the 12-item version of Goldberg's General Health Questionnaire (GHQ) and the 13-item version of Antonovsky's Sense of Coherence questionnaire (SOC).
The percentages of those with 'poor' score in GHQ in 1994 were among the physicians 34, 1 and among the architects 38,0. In the fourth questionnaire in 1998 the respective figures were 22,3 and 29,5. In the same period SOC scores improved among physicians (62,7 - 6618) but not among architects (62,1 - 62,5).
During the study years physicians had no difficulties in finding work, architects were faced with one of highest unemployment of academic professions.
Mental well-being was improved among both professions but different levels of GHQ reflect the significance of employment prospective. The improvement of SOC in physicians but not in architects indicates that even among those studying to relatively high age the SOC does not reach its 'mature' level until after a period of professional work. Thus, it is especially important to diminish youth unemployment.
Mental well-being and sense of coherence at entry to working life - a study of young physicians and architects