Social Research Methods and Research Practices > Inter/Transdisciplinary Methods

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Spain is one of the eight EU-27 countries that failed to reduce early school leaving (ESL) below 10% in 2020, and now faces the challenge of achieving a rate below 9% by 2030. The determinants of this phenomenon are usually studied using cross-sectional data at the micro level and without differentiation by gender. In this study, we analyse it for the first time for Spain using panel data (between 2002 and 2020), taking into account the high regional inequalities at the macroeconomic level and the masculinisation of the phenomenon. The results show a positive relationship between ESL and socio-economic variables such as the adolescent fertility rate, immigration, unemployment or the weight of the industrial and construction sectors in the regional economy, with significant gender differences that invite us to discuss educational policies. Surprisingly, youth unemployment has only small but significant impact on female ESL.

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While a vast number of studies confirm the transmission of labour-market disadvantages from one generation to the next, less is known about how parents’ interconnected labour-market pathways co-evolve and shape the opportunities and obstacles for their children’s future careers. This study uses a multidimensional view of intergenerational transmission by describing the most typical pathways of parents’ occupational careers and assesses how these patterns are associated with their children’s labour-market outcomes. Drawing on Swedish longitudinal register data, we used multichannel sequence analysis to follow a cohort of people born in 1985 (n = 72,409) and their parents across 26 years. We identified four parental earning models, differentiating between (1) dual earners with high wages, (2) dual earners with low-wage, (3) one-and-a-half-earners and (4) mother as the main breadwinner. Regression analysis shows strong intergenerational transmission among the most advantageous trajectories, with education as a key determinant for young people to become less dependent on family resources. This study stresses the importance of intra-couple perspectives in life course research to understand how inequalities are shaped and preserved across generations.

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This paper undertakes an analysis and discussion of the methodological challenges and insights derived from three longitudinal qualitative studies, all conducted in Chile during the COVID-19 pandemic and subject to comprehensive theoretical-methodological reflection processes centred on their respective designs. This analysis makes a significant contribution to interdisciplinary discussions within social research, with a particular emphasis on longitudinal trajectories.

First, we present a comparative analysis of three studies in social work, utilising Saldaña’s questions addressing changes and learning in longitudinal studies. The first study explores the labour trajectories of researchers, the second focuses on the educational trajectories of students, and the last examines therapeutic alliance trajectories between social workers and families within the child protection system.

Following this, we delve into the methodological decisions made by the research group during the execution of these longitudinal studies. This encompasses an examination of participant involvement, temporal definitions of the adopted designs, and the most suitable methodological tools for analysing change processes over time. The outcomes of this comparative analysis reveal the distinctive characteristics of the three longitudinal studies, providing insights into how the time dimension is explored within them. We highlight key criteria essential for consideration in longitudinal qualitative research, particularly regarding participants and methodology.

In conclusion, we advocate for an expanded reflection within the realm of longitudinal qualitative methodology, encompassing aspects such as design choices, approaches to data analysis, integration of technology in information processing, and strategies for maintaining participant engagement.

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The present text builds on an earlier publication* which had the same aim: namely, to encourage clarity and coherence in the interdisciplinary area we called social-to-biological transitions. This burgeoning area of research involves a complex workforce with differing career levels and disciplinary traditions, reflecting which the present authors comment from different perspectives (one author from each of early career research, epidemiology, biology and public health) and invite debate. (* Blane, D., Kelly-Irving, M., d’Errico, A., Bartley, M. and Montgomery, S. (2013) Social-biological transitions: how does the social become biological?, Longitudinal and Life Course Studies, 4(2): 136–46.)

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The prevention paradox describes circumstances in which the majority of cases with a suicide attempt come from a population of low or moderate risk, and only a few from a ‘high-risk’ group. The assumption is that a low base rate in combination with multiple causes makes it impossible to identify a high-risk group with all suicide attempts.

The best way to study events such as first-time suicide attempts and their causes is to collect event history data. Administrative registers were used to identify a group at higher risk of suicidal behaviour within a population of six national birth cohorts (N = 300,000) born between 1980 and 1985 and followed from age 15 to 29 years. Estimation of risk parameters is based on the discrete-time logistic odds-ratio model.

Lifetime prevalence was 4.5% for first-time suicide attempts. Family background and family child-rearing factors were predicative of later first-time suicide attempts. A young person’s diagnosis with psychiatric or neurodevelopmental disorders (ADHD, anxiety, depression, PTSD), and being a victim of violence or sex offences contributed to the explanatory model. Contrary to the prevention paradox, results suggest that it is possible to identify a discrete high-risk group (<12%) among the population from whom two thirds of all first-time suicide attempts occur, but one third of observed suicide attempts derived from low- to moderate-risk groups.

Findings confirm the need for a combined strategy of universal, targeted and indicated prevention approaches in policy development and in strategic and practice responses, and some promising prevention strategies are presented.

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Adult arrest records were examined for a cohort of 150 public high school males named as friends by classmates 28 years earlier. The overall adult arrest rate was 35.3%. The arrest rate for males with at least one disciplinary referral was 59.2%. Friendship data were divided into offender–offender, offender–non-offender and non-offender–non-offender dyads. The proportion of offender–offender dyads was four times greater than offender–non-offender dyads, both for those with and without disciplinary referrals. These results are interpreted as indications of the possible influence of high school friends on adult offences. Arrests were disproportionally for violent offences against females among those who shared high school friendships. An interpretation that negative attitudes, emotions and behaviour toward females formed during activities with friends in high school, leading to a trajectory of violence towards women, is presented. Recommendations are made for interventions for adolescent male anger towards females to prevent adult domestic and intimate partner violence. Suggested interventions include anger management, school violence prevention, dating violence prevention and youth mentoring programmes. Also recommended is to change punitive school policies that bring students with behaviour problems together to opportunities for positive experiences, such as through organised activities, volunteer service in the community and restorative justice practices.

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