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Security in a contemporary context: Modelling expressed commitment to national defence in Finland, 2020

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Title: Security in a contemporary context: Modelling expressed commitment to national defence in Finland, 2020
Author(s): Häggblom, Erasmus
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Social Sciences
Degree program: Master's Programme in Contemporary Societies
Specialisation: Social and Public Policy
Language: English
Acceptance year: 2022
The diverse range of threats to contemporary states mean that a high level of commitment to national defence is required effectively implement defensive doctrine. States need an accurate picture of the commitment to national defence among their citizens. However, research on the topic has been sparse. There is also limited knowledge regarding the factors that can be used to predict expressed commitment to national defence. This thesis examines data from the 2020 Advisory Board for Defence Information (ABDI) survey (N = 1169) on Finnish opinions on national defence using binary logistic regression. The survey consisted of in-person interviews (N = 500) and an online questionnaire (N = 669). The response rate for the survey was 21.8% for online participants and not reported for in-person interviews. Commitment to national defence is operationalised through questions on general and personal will to defend the country, which are examined separately and combined to represent the concept of national defence thought. The rate of positive responses to the dependent variables is examined by hierarchically constructing four regression models for each dependent variable followed by a final, simplified model. The chosen predictors are organised thematically and utilise demographic, socioeconomic, personal circumstance and geographic background information on the respondents. The primary predictors are the participants’ gender (53.9% male, 46.1% female) and age (age range 15-79). The thesis finds that the respondents’ gender and age are key predictors of expressed commitment to national defence. Men and older participants express higher levels of commitment compared to women and younger respondents. The respondents’ socioeconomic status, personal circumstance and geographic location are inconsistently associated with their expressed commitment to national defence. The association between commitment to national defence and gender does not change when additional predictors are added to the model. The respondents’ age is found be more strongly associated with their personal will to defend the country when controlling for their retirement status. This effect has not previously been identified in the literature and warrants examination in future research. The key finding of the study is the important role of gender and age as predictors of commitment to national defence.
Keyword(s): National defence gendered differences security commitment to defence generational divide maanpuolustus kansallinen turvallisuus sukupuolierot ikäerot maanpuolustustahto

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