Youth Got Talent

Optimizing youth’s potential for societal participation, health, and wellbeing

In the Netherlands, we presume that everyone can be and become what they want to be, and lead a happy, healthy, and productive life. Compared to most other countries, the Netherlands perform well in many measures of welfare and wellbeing. Our country ranks top in income, housing, health status, safety and education. Despite these opportunities, social economic status (SES) differences are still substantial and relate to differences in health and wellbeing among young people. Why do some young people succeed in developing their potential and talent, while others do not?

Jonge mensen chillen in de zon

Youth from families with a higher SES tend to benefit more from what our welfare state has to offer than youth from families with lower SES. And while there are young people who manage to successfully and actively find their way into society, despite early disadvantage, increasingly others do not. How can we enable all young people to work toward their future, assert their autonomy, and take advantage of the opportunities that our society offers them?

Integrating knowledge

In order to answer these questions, the researchers in this project form an interdisciplinary team. From the perspective of family law, we examine how rules and regulations ensure and encourage youth social participation and well-being. Do they ensure equality and inclusiveness? And what do young people think about these rules?

From the perspective of geosciences, we investigate how the chances of young people are influenced by their immediate environment. How do the characteristics of the neighborhood in which young people live or the school they visit (e.g., social cohesion, experience safety and trust) affect their social participation and well-being?

Kinderen bezig met verschillende dingen

Based on collaborations in the social sciences, we examine the interplay of individual characteristics, such as impulsivity, and social contexts, such as family and peers, that determine youth participation and well-being. How do these factors affect the adolescents’ pathways and development towards their social position in adulthood? Which factors promote well-being and successful participation and which impede social opportunities?

Together with societal partners, such as the City of Utrecht and MasterPeace, this interdisciplinary research initiative will help to identify ways to optimize youth’s potential for societal participation, health, and wellbeing, and will help to improve interventions and policies. Through the interdisciplinary focus and involvement of young people and societal partners, we will enhance our understanding of the processes that contribute to social equality and inclusion among young people from all socio-economic backgrounds.

Dom Weinberg about talent development

Dynamics of Youth needs you

Interested in this project? Please contact dr. Gonneke StevensG.W.J.M.Stevens@uu.nl, +31 30 253 3488.

These are our partners: