How does a targeted active labour market program impact on the well-being of the unemployed? A Concept Mapping study on Barcelona "Employment in the Neighbourhoods"
In 12 neighbourhoods of Barcelona (Spain), an innovative tailored-made Active Labour Market Program called "Employment in the neighbourhoods" was implemented to get people from deprived, high-unemployment neighbourhoods back to work. This study aimed to identify the effects of the program on participants' quality of life, as well as the mechanisms underlying these effects. Methods We used Concept Mapping, a mixed methods approach that combines qualitative and quantitative analysis to develop a
... onceptual map of perceptions of participants and technical staff about changes in the participants' quality of life. Data collection occurred within the generation and structuring steps where participants brainstorm answers to the focus question, and then rate and sort the responses. To compute maps, we used Concept Systems Incorporated software which conducted two main forms of analysis, a multidimensional scaling analysis followed by hierarchical cluster analysis. Results Study participants report several positive effects on mental health and emotional wellbeing, including self-esteem and empowerment. The mechanisms identified were strengthened social networks, skills acquisition and emotional and technical coaching. We also identified some negative impacts, mainly related to the labour market situation. We observed marked gender differences in the discourses of program participants. Conclusions The results obtained have allowed us to identify different mechanisms and impacts by which the "Employment in the Neighbourhoods" Active Labour Market Programme can influence the quality of life of participants from the most deprived areas of Barcelona. Improvement on mental health has been also shown in a pre-post evaluation using quantitative methodology