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Anastasia Kitiashvili, Tamar Abashidze, Irine Zhvania

Abstract: Education and employment are essential factors for social inclusion of young people in society, so it is important to study young people who are neither in education or in employment (called NEETs) to determine how they deal with their social status and their mechanisms to integrate into society. This study examines how negatively or positively NEET young people perceive their social status, how NEET status affects young people's attitudes, social identity, or well-being, and whether young people try to escape from the status of NEET. The survey was conducted with 380 young people and in-depth interviews with 12 people. Research shows that the social status of NEET is neither desirable nor appreciated. NEETs are associated with diminished well-being mainly because of their lower life satisfaction. NEET youth scores lower than the general population in life satisfaction, although they have similar level of self-esteem. Research has shown that NEET youth use psychological mechanisms, such as identifying with a positively assessed group, to help young people maintain high self-esteem or use strategies to escape from the NEETs group, get a job, or continue their education. The following factors positively contribute to the desire to leave the NEET group: self-esteem is the most important motivator, followed by social identity, attitudes towards education and employment, and family economic status. The high NEET rate in Georgia suggests that NEETs youth should be a particular target group for interventions to enable their ‘activation’ to integrate into society. Keywords: attitudes towards education, attitudes towards employment, NEET youth, social identity, well-being
Keywords: attitudes / young people / NEET youth / identity / survey / esteem / society

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