Finnish university student activists’ resources in student union activities: A Positive Youth Development (PYD) perspective

2016 IJRSP – Volume 5 Issue 3


Ansala, Liisa*
University of Lapland, Finland (

Uusiautti, Satu
University of Lapland, Finland (


Active citizenship is an important political goal in the Finnish society. In this study, the challenges faced in student activism were studied through twelve student activists’ narratives. The activists interviewed in this study were the chairpersons of the Finnish student unions at universities. The study leaned on the Positive Youth Development (PYD) theory. Challenges the interviewees mentioned were categorized into social, functional, emotion, and cognitive challenges and related resources. The positive coping with these challenges was analyzed through the elements of PYD. An especially relevant finding was that the student activists showed the development of active citizenship, which was contrasted as the sixth “C” of PYD, contributions to self, others, and society.

Keywords: Positive Youth Development; student activism; student unions; narrative research; positive psychology



*Corresponding Author