Publication - Research and analysis

Young people's participation in decision making: attitudes and perceptions

Published: 12 May 2020

Research on young people’s involvement in decision making in schools and out-of-school activities and groups through the Young People in Scotland survey.

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Contents
Young people's participation in decision making: attitudes and perceptions
2. Views Towards Adults in General

29 page PDF

629.9 kB

2. Views Towards Adults in General

The first set of questions asked about young people's perceptions of whether adults in general, listened to their views and took their views into account, when making decisions that affect them. Pupils were also asked what they think stops these adults from listening to their views and taking them into account.

Adults listening to young people

Pupils were asked to what extent they agreed or disagreed that adults in general, such as their family, teachers, youth workers, sport coaches and Scouts/Guides leaders, were good at listening to their views.

Pupils were asked to what extent they agreed or disagreed with the following statements:

  • Generally, adults are good at listening to my views
  • Generally, adults are good at taking my views into accounts when making decisions that affect me

When asked about adults in general, over half (57 per cent) of young people surveyed agreed that adults were good at listening to their views) while 16 percent disagreed. Figure 2.1 illustrates.

Figure 2.1 Agreement with statement 'Generally, adults are good at listening to my views'
Figure 2.1 Agreement with statement 'Generally, adults are good at listening to my views'

Base: 1731

Compared with responses in 2017, when 58 per cent agreed and 21 per cent disagreed there has been little change.

As Figure 2.2 shows, boys were more likely to agree than girls, with 59 per cent of boys agreeing that adults listen to their views compared with 55 per cent of girls.

Figure 2.2 Agreement with the statement 'Generally, adults are good at listening to my views', by gender
Figure 2.2 Agreement with the statement 'Generally, adults are good at listening to my views', by gender

Base: 1731

As Figure 2.3 shows, the percentage of those who felt that adults were good at listening to their views broadly decreased with school year. In S1, 61 per cent of respondents felt that adults were good at listening to their views, compared with 51 per cent in S6 (Figure 2.3).

Figure 2.3 Agreement with statement 'Generally, adults are good at listening to my views', by school year
Figure 2.3 Agreement with statement 'Generally, adults are good at listening to my views', by school year

Base: 1731

Respondents with a mental or physical health condition were less positive than those without. Of those with a health condition, 54 per cent felt that adults were good at listening to their views, compared with 61 percent of those without a health condition.

Figure 2.4 Agreement with statement 'Generally, adults are good at listening to my views', by area deprivation
Figure 2.4 Agreement with statement 'Generally, adults are good at listening to my views', by area deprivation

Base: 1731

There was little variation between respondents from different Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD) quintiles.[3]

Adults taking young people's views into account

Young people were asked to what extent they agreed or disagreed that adults in general, such as their family, teachers, youth workers, sports coaches or Scouts/Guides leaders, were good at taking their views into accounts when making decisions that affect them. This question was intended to gauge whether young people feel that adults take action after listening to their views.

As Figure 2.4 shows, 58 per cent of respondents agreed that adults in general were good at taking their views into consideration when making decisions that affected them, while 15 per cent disagreed with this statement.

Since the last survey conducted in 2017, respondents have become more positive in response to this question. In 2017, 53 per cent of respondents felt that adults were good at taking their views into accounts and 19 per cent disagreed.

Figure 2.5 Agreement with the statement 'Generally, adults are good at taking my views into account when making decisions that affect me'
Figure 2.5 Agreement with the statement 'Generally, adults are good at taking my views into account when making decisions that affect me'

Base: 1731

Boys were more positive than girls. As Figure 2.5 shows, 61 per cent of boys agreed that adults in general were good a taking their views into accounts compared with 55 per cent of girls.

Figure 2.6 Agreement with the statement 'Generally, adults are good at taking my views into account when making decision that affect me'
Figure 2.6 Agreement with the statement 'Generally, adults are good at taking my views into account when making decision that affect me'

Base: 1731

Perceptions worsened between S1 and S6. As Figure 2.6 shows, 63 per cent of respondents in S1 felt that adults were good at listening to their views, compared with 53 per cent of respondents in S6.

Figure 2.7 Agreement with the statement 'Generally, adults are good at taking my views into account when making decisions that affect me', by school year
Figure 2.7 Agreement with the statement 'Generally, adults are good at taking my views into account when making decisions that affect me', by school year

Base: 1731

Pupils with a mental or physical health condition were more likely to disagree that adults take their views into account when making decisions that affect them. Pupils without a health condition were more likely to agree that adults were good at taking their views into account (62 per cent) than those with a health condition (54 per cent).

Figure 2.8 Agreement with the statement 'Generally, adults are good at taking my views into account when making decision that affect me', by area deprivation
Figure 2.8 Agreement with the statement 'Generally, adults are good at taking my views into account when making decision that affect me', by area deprivation

Base: 1731

As Figure 2.8 shows, those in SIMD 4 were the most likely to agree that adults take their views into account (62 per cent) while those in SIMD 2 were the least likely to agree (53 per cent).

Barriers to listening

Respondents were asked what, if anything they thought stopped adults in general listening to their views.

The most commonly selected reason for why adults do not listen to young people was 'it doesn't fit with what they want to hear' (26 per cent) followed by 'they don't like their views being challenged' (23 per cent). Around a quarter (23 per cent) selected 'nothing - they do listen' and a further 21 per cent said they didn't know.

Compared with responses from 2017, pupils were less likely to select any barrier. The percentage selecting no barrier increased from 14 per cent in 2017 to 23 per cent in 2019, while the percentage saying adults 'don't have time to listen' or 'don't think my views are important' decreased substantially from 30 per cent and 28 per cent respectively to 17 per cent for both.

Figure 2.9 Barriers to adults listening to young people
Figure 2.9 Barriers to adults listening to young people

Base: 1731

Girls were more likely than boys to select each of the barriers as a reason for why adults do not listen to young people. Boys (26 per cent) were more likely to select no barriers than girls (20 per cent). Figure 2.10 illustrates.

Figure 2.10 Barriers to adults listening to young people by gender
Figure 2.10 Barriers to adults listening to young people by gender

Base: 1731

Pupils in later school years were more likely to select most of the barriers as a reason for why adults don't listen to them. The percentage selecting that 'nothing - they do listen' also decreased from S2 (30 per cent) to S6 (13 per cent).

Figure 2.11 Barriers to adults listening to young people, by school year
Figure 2.11 Barriers to adults listening to young people, by school year

Base: 1731

Barriers to adults taking young people's views into account

Respondents were also asked what they saw as the barriers to adults taking their views into accounts when making decisions that affect them.

As Figure 2.12 shows, the most commonly selected statement was 'don't know' (30 per cent), followed by the statement 'nothing - they do take my views into account' (25 per cent).

In terms of substantive answers, the most commonly selected were 'they don't like their views challenged' (20 per cent) and 'they don't think my views are important' (15 per cent).

Similar to the last question, pupils were more likely to say that there was no barrier as adults do listen to them, compared with responses in 2017 (16 per cent).

Figure 2.12 Barriers to adults taking young people's views into account
Figure 2.12 Barriers to adults taking young people's views into account

Base: 1731

As Figure 2.13 shows, girls were slightly more likely to select all barriers, and in particular 'they don't think my views are important' (18 per cent among girls, compared with 13 per cent among boys).

Figure 2.13 Barriers to adults taking young people's views into account by gender
Figure 2.13 Barriers to adults taking young people's views into account by gender

Base: 1731

The percentage selecting each barrier broadly increased with school year. As Figure 2.14 shows, there was a wide gap between S1 and S6: Pupils in S6 were over three times as likely to select each of the barriers than those is S1.

Figure 2.14 barriers to adults taking young people's views into account, by school year
Figure 2.14 barriers to adults taking young people's views into account, by school year

Base: 1731


Contact

Email: socialresearch@gov.scot