Filling in the Details - Significant events and economic disadvantage among young people in Australia

Gerard Redmond, Jennifer Skattebol

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Economic disadvantage is a strong predictor of social exclusion, disengagement at school, early school dropout and low educational attainment. This paper shows that experience of significant events - for example, moving home and school following parents' separation; a sudden fall in family income; or illness and death in the family - can greatly exacerbate economically disadvantaged young people's sense of exclusion and disengagement. Survey data are used to show that such negative events (often characterised by young people as 'shocks') are most likely to occur among economically disadvantaged families with children. In-depth interviews with young people are also used to explore young people's construction of these events, which they often describe in terms of a cascade, with several shocks following each other in rapid succession, draining away their, and their families', economic, social and emotional resources, and leaving them at risk of further exclusion. The paper concludes that policy needs to buffer young people better from the effects of these events, and so reduce their disengagement and exclusion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)552-568
Number of pages17
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Children's perspectives
  • Exclusion
  • Mixed methods
  • Poverty
  • Significant events


Dive into the research topics of 'Filling in the Details - Significant events and economic disadvantage among young people in Australia'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this