Photo Patrick Clenet, Wikipedia

NCCR LIVES strengthens commitment to life course studies at international level

Several members of the Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research LIVES participated in the annual Conference of the Society for Longitudinal and Life Course Studies (SLLS) in Amsterdam, September 23-25, 2013. The next conference will take place in Lausanne. See you in 2014!

The National Centre of Competence in Research LIVES – Overcoming Vulnerability: Life Course Perspectives (NCCR LIVES) became member of the Society for Longitudinal and Life Course Studies (SLLS) in 2012. NCCR LIVES Director, Dario Spini, is the global representative for Switzerland at the SLLS. He was in Amsterdam for the SLLS International Conference from 23rd to 25th September with other LIVES members in order to present their research.

The title of the conference this year was “Growing Up and Growing Old: Health Transitions Throughout the Lifecourse”. Keynote speakers were Eco de Geus, Professor of Biological Psychology, Co-Director of the Netherlands Twin Registry at the VU Medical Center in Amsterdam, Mark Hayward, Professor of Sociology, Director of the Population Research Center at the University of Texas at Austin, and Mel Bartley, Emeritus Professor of Medical Sociology, Director of the ESRC Centre for Life Course Studies in Society and Health, University College London.

The sessions covered a variety of topics relating to health in the life course, such as substance use, exercise behaviour, obesity, mental health, education, adolescence and transition to adulthood, old age, socioeconomic background, employment, and more, with about 150 presentations and 30 posters coming from more than 15 countries.

Two LIVES symposia

LIVES members organised two symposia: “At risk situations and well-being: the impact of personal resources”, and “Looking back: functional and psychological health among the generations of Swiss elderly (1979-2012)”.

The first one featured Christian Maggiori (IP7) with “Unemployed professional trajectories – evidences from the first two years of a Swiss longitudinal study”. The researcher showed that when former unemployed individuals find a job that is perceived as unstable, their well-being remain low and quite comparable to that of still unemployed people, whereas the well-being of persons who find a stable job rise up considerably. This finding challenges the dichotomy between employed and unemployed people regarding well-being.

The following presentation by Veronique Eicher (IP9) addressed “Coping with stressful situations in the professional domain”. Then Dario Spini (IP1, IP13) talked about “Social group participation as a coping strategy after the loss of an intimate partner”, and Rachel Fasel, scientific officer at the NCCR LIVES, about “Shattered beliefs: how to cope when the world is not a just place?” (see Book on war traces in former Yugoslavia crosses borders between scientific disciplines).

Other LIVES researchers also presented their work: Gilbert Ritschard, Stéphane Cullati, Mouna Bakouri, Nora Dasoki, Aude Tholomier, Michaela Knecht.

All of them had many opportunities to learn about the methods and findings of important panel studies in other countries like the USA, UK and France, among others.

Next year in Lausanne

The next International Conference of the SLLS will focus on social policy in a life course perspective. The NCCR LIVES team is looking foward to hosting this interdisciplinary event in the premises of the University of Lausanne from 9th to 11th October 2014.