Inequalities, Interventions, and New Welfare State
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The existing research indicates that the current Finnish welfare state is efficient in reducing the negative outcomes that are related to many of the structural family disadvantages experienced during the early life course, such as parental low education, unemployment or poverty. Unemployment benefits and other income transfers, as well as free education, can effectively compensate the lacking resources available through immediate family. Despite this, children and youth are still particularly vulnerable when negative life events take place unexpectedly or when many disadvantages accumulate to the same families. In some cases, the weakened wellbeing of the children and youth is observable already during childhood, such as mental and other health problems (e.g., depression), disruptive behaviors, or negative peer experiences, in other cases only decades later as low education, social status, and income. Our argument is that more emphasis should be paid on social investments giving vulnerable groups better tools to cope in different phases of life rather than merely compensating problems through income transfers.


The Inequalities, Interventions, and New Welfare State (INVEST) aims at increasing wellbeing of Finnish society during childhood, youth and early adulthood and preventing psychosocial risks compromising such development through innovative interventions.


Based on cutting-edge research on the conditions and mechanisms involved at different periods of development, we will implement and test various universal and targeted interventions to improve the efficiency of the current welfare state institutions at critical points of the life course. This will provide an outline for more efficient, just and affordable model of the Finnish welfare state for years to come.

The research groups

Intergenerational Cumulative Disadvantage and Resource Compensation (INDIRECT)

The INDIRECT project studies intergenerational inheritance of socioeconomic attainment, with a focus on the idea of resource compensation. Resource compensation can be seen to come into play when families lose resources and attempt to compensate for these losses either through the use of other resources, which have not been lost, or with the resources of other family members or neighbours. By extending the idea of resource compensation to a broad range of situations in which resource compensation may occur, the INDIRECT projects aims to advance the theory behind and empirical evidence for intergenerational socioeconomic inheritance


KiVa® antibullying program

KiVa is a research-based antibullying program that has been developed in the University of Turku, Finland, with funding from the Ministry of Education and Culture. The effectiveness of KiVa has been shown in a large randomized controlled trial. In Finland, KiVa is a sought-after program: most of all comprehensive schools in the country are registered KiVa schools implementing the program.


Tackling Inequalities in Time of Austerity (TITA)

The consortium project Tackling Inequalities in Time of Austerity (TITA) provides a novel and comprehensive analysis of long-term trends in financial inequalities, inequalities in health and well-being and inequalities of opportunities over the life course, and their links to the moral and political climate in society. Thus, it analyses together multiple forms of inequality (such as income, wealth, consumption, education, family dynamics, health, mortality, trust and deprivation) and their interrelationships.

It introduces a holistic framework for mapping the most crucial target groups for policy measures and ensures feasible policy recommendations for reducing inequalities in society for decades to come. It provides tools for policy-learning, both through within-country studies and cross-national comparisons. It exhausts unique longitudinal and time-series data and top-of-the-art statistical methods to fully explore mechanisms of inequality.


Awareness, prevention and early intervention (APEX)

The APEX consortium aims to promote the mental wellbeing of families, regardless of their socioeconomic environment, education, geographical location or ethnic background.

We aim to develop and study services that increase mental health literacy and low-threshold, digitally delivered intervention programs regarding maternal postpartum depression, conduct problems of pre-school children and anxiety problems among school-aged children.

A common factor of these programs is the use of human‐centered digital technologies. We want to provide the general public as well as social welfare, health care, early childhood education and teaching professionals cost‐efficient and practical tools for the detection and early intervention of mental health symptoms.

Transition from costly and strenuous special health care and child welfare services to early detection and prevention requires scientific research to support the decision-making. Our research project is committed to the objective of Strategic Research Council at the Academy of Finland to support evidence-based policy and find solutions to the major challenges facing Finnish society.



Voimaperheet on Turun yliopiston Lastenpsykiatrian tutkimuskeskuksessa kehitetty toimintamalli, jossa lapsen käyttäytymisen ongelmien varhainen tunnistaminen yhdistyy internetin ja puhelimen välityksellä tarjottavaan vanhempainohjaukseen. Tieteelliseen näyttöön perustuva hoito-ohjelma on kehitetty lasten käytösongelmien ennaltaehkäisevään hoitoon.

Voimaperheet-hoito-ohjelman kehittämistyön taustana on laaja kansainvälinen tutkimustieto. Lasten mielenterveyteen liittyvissä tutkimuksissa on osoitettu toistuvasti, että lapsuusiässä alkavat vaikeat käytösongelmat ovat yhteydessä aikuisiän sosiaalisiin ja mielenterveyden ongelmiin. Lapsuuden käytösongelmia voidaan ennaltaehkäistä ja hoitaa tarjoamalla vanhemmille keinoja omien kasvatustaitojensa kehittämiseen ja lasten ongelmien hallitsemiseen. Voimaperheet-hankkeessa näitä periaatteita sovelletaan uudella tavalla.



Työkaluja opiskelijoiden hyvinvoinnin edistämiseen

Toiselle asteelle suunnattu Opintokamu® -ohjelma tarjoaa helposti käyttöön otettavia ja pedagogisesti mielekkäitä työkaluja opiskelijoiden hyvinvoinnin edistämiseksi. Kaikki materiaali löytyy yhdestä paikasta: www.opintokamu.fi


What’s happening?

Professor Jani Erola

Professor Mikko Niemelä talks about the unemployment benefit reform which has generated a lot of discussion in Finland.


Contact us


Head of Flagship, Professor of Sociology at University of Turku


Assistentinkatu 7, 20014 University of Turku, Finland

+358 29 450 2157, GSM: +358 40 512 5286

Publicum building, 4th floor room 497

Meet our team

Christiina Salmivalli

Deputy Head of Flagship, Professor of Psychology University of Turku

Pasi Moisio

Research Professor (social policy) National Institute for Health and Welfare

Mikko Niemelä

Professor of Sociology University of Turku

Andre Sourander

Professor in Child Psychiatry University of Turku

Olli Kangas

Professor of Practise (sociology) University of Turku

Representatives of institutions

Kalle-Antti Suominen

Vice-rector for Research University of Turku

Marina Erhola

Deputy Director General National Institute for Health and Welfare