’Insecure’ jobs and alternating between periods of unemployment and periods of employment under fixed-term contracts are increasingly widespread among the youth in Europe. This phenomenon is an important risk factor for young people’s well-being. Despite the growing number of studies, some issues have still not been adequately addressed. Compared to the high number of quantitative studies, the number of qualitative researches is limited: in fact, few studies have tackled this topic from a qualitative standpoint, highlighting the dynamics and the subjective processes which operate in this relationship and considering the different functions that work can have for the individual. Another aspect that has not been adequately dealt with is represented by the coping strategies that young people put in place to deal with job insecurity, and which have consequences on their well-being. The present article on the Italian case is intended to give a contribution in these directions. In particular, it analyses the way in which a group of 40 unemployed or temporarily employed young people, in-depth interviewed, subjectively describe the relationship between job insecurity and well-being, and reflects on coping strategies to face job insecurity and related perceived consequences. In doing this, the authors consider the role of individual factors, as well as of meso and macro ones, given that—for example—the national contexts have a role in influencing the way in which job insecurity is perceived and managed by individuals. The results highlight the complexity of this relationship, in which the intertwining of factors at different levels plays a very important role in determining the coping strategies and the overall well-being of people: individually, like the functions and the subjective meanings of work for the youth, but also in meso and macro terms, such as the familial support and relationships, and the institutional and public resources available.
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