• Anita Pipere Daugavpils University, Rīga Stradiņš University
  • Kristīne Mārtinsone Rīga Stradiņš University



graduate students, helping professions, national planning documents, professional practice, social capital, social problems, thematic analysis


The paper aims to explore how future practitioners in helping professions grasp the wider societal problems and represent their professional practice in terms of social progress. The inquiry illustrates the perspectives of students by triangulation between their understanding of main societal issues in Latvia in the context of national planning documents (NPDs), social capital (SC), and expectations about their future work. Data of 34 first-year graduate students were collected using the open questionnaire and analyzed employing inductive and deductive thematic analysis. The largest group of societal issues contained the socio-psychological problems followed by economic challenges. Only half of the answers concerning SC were in tune with the theoretical conceptualization of this term. The students’ views on societal issues and SC did not align well with the NPDs. The mentioned socio-psychological problems contained the issues of relationship and value aspects of SC, omitting the social networks. One-third of answers in terms of professional expectations were related to the development of SC, other answers focused on the demands of external entities, and the students’ features. The views of graduate students can become an important signpost for the development of graduate programs in times of global interest in core competencies for helping professions.

Author Biographies

  • Anita Pipere, Daugavpils University, Rīga Stradiņš University
    Dr. Anita Pipere, is a Professor of Psychology at the Center of Sustainable Education (CSE) at the Institute of Humanities and Social Sciences at Daugavpils University, Latvia, where she teaches undergraduate and graduate courses (e.g., educational psychology, philosophy of education, qualitative research methods, researchers’ identity, etc.), and supervises bachelor, master and doctoral students. She has published articles in national and international journals, written two books and regularly presents papers at national and international conferences. From 2002 to 2009 she has served as the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Teacher Education for Sustainability. She was an editor of two volumes of Education and Sustainable Development: First Steps toward Changes, Daugavpils University; currently she is an Editorial Board member of Baltic Journal of Psychology, Eurasian Journal of Educational Research, International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, Acta Paedagogica Vilensia and several other national journals and collections.
  • Kristīne Mārtinsone, Rīga Stradiņš University
    Prof. Dr Kristīne Mārtinsone is a head of the Department of Health Psychology and Pedagogy, Riga Stradiņš University.


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