Background. Young adults at work without basic educational level (BEL), and young adults in Neither Employment, Education nor Training (NEET) are at high risk of adverse employment outcomes. Evidence lacks on the impact of mental health problems during childhood, adolescence and young adulthood on employment outcomes of young adults. Therefore, the aims of this study were to (1) identify trajectories of mental health problems from childhood to young adulthood and (2) investigate the relation between these trajectories and the educational or employment status of young adults. Methods. Data were used from the Tracking Adolescents' Individual Lives Survey (TRAILS), a Dutch prospective cohort study with 9-year follow-up. Trajectories of mental health problems measured at ages 11, 13.5, 16 and 19 years were identified in 1711 young adults with latent class growth models. Results. Young adults with high-stable trajectories of total problems, from childhood to young adulthood, were more likely to work without BEL or be in NEET at age 19, than to be at school or to work with BEL (28.0% vs 16.0%, p=0.01). The same was found for externalising problems (35.3% vs 23.2%, p=0.02). For internalising and attention problems, no statistically significant differences were found. Conclusions. Young adults with high-stable trajectories of mental health problems from age 11 to 19, were at risk of adverse employment outcomes. Interventions reducing mental health problems in childhood may improve the educational or employment status of young adults and their chances for successfully entering the labour market.
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Purpose. The aims of this study were to examine whether the association between childhood adversities and educational attainment in young adulthood can be explained by mental health problems in adolescence and whether associations and pathways differ for boys and girls. Methods. Data were used of 2,230 participants from the Tracking Adolescents' Individual Lives Survey, a Dutch prospective cohort study with a 9-year follow-up. Childhood adversities were measured at age 11 years, mental health problems (i.e., externalizing, internalizing and attention problems with Youth Self-Report) at age 16 years, and educational attainment at age 19 years. Structural equation modeling was performed to analyze the data, overall and stratified by gender. Results. Only among boys, childhood adversities were associated with low educational attainment in young adulthood. Externalizing problems in adolescence explained 5% of the association between childhood adversities and educational attainment. Furthermore, for both boys and girls, externalizing problems in adolescence had a direct effect on educational attainment in young adulthood. Conclusions. Among boys, childhood adversities are associated with poorer educational outcomes of young adults. A part of this association runs via adolescent externalizing problems. The results suggest that boys, compared with girls, are less capable to cope with childhood adversities. Monitoring of exposed boys to childhood adversities is of utmost importance.
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