Human Functioning

According to the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare and The Social Insurance Institution, the Finnish population's ability to function is deteriorating. In particular, mental health problems, poor nutrition, lack of physical activity, smoking and substance abuse, and common diseases such as cardiovascular diseases are all factors that impair working and functional capacity.

The Research Center for Human Functioning addresses the challenge of labour shortage in Satakunta through research, education, and development work. Maintaining people's ability to work and function and strengthening people's feeling of inclusion can their physical, mental, and social abilities to cope with meaningful and necessary daily life activities be supported as well as their integration into society.

What is human functioning?

People's ability to function is a pillar of the economic and social sustainability of society. With an aging population, means must be found to keep as many working-age people in employment as possible. Prevention is key.

Functioning can be defined in a number of ways. Functioning is commonly divided into the following dimensions (Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare):

  • Physical functioning means the ability to move.
  • Mental functioning refers to the resources needed to cope with everyday challenges and crisis situations. Mental capacity also relates to life management and psychological well-being, covering cognitive and thinking functions.
  • Cognitive functioning covers the different aspects of information processing, such as the reception, processing, storage, and use of information.
  • Social functioning is expressed through interactions, social activity, and experiences of inclusion.

Good physical, mental, and social functioning and an environment supporting these help people feel well, find their place in society, cope with working life, and manage independently in their day-to-day lives. Poor lifestyles and risk factors reduce functional capacity.

More on functional capacity and indicators of functional capacity on the website of the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare.

Ideas for co-operation? Contact:

Henna Kyhä

Henna Kyhä
Research Manager,
Head of Research Center for Human Functioning

+358 44 710 3134