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TRAILS

2015

Education & work participation: Mental health trajectories from childhood to young adulthood affect the educational and employment status of young adults: results from the TRAILS study

Authors: Veldman K, Reijneveld SA, Almansa Ortiz J, Verhulst RC, Bültmann U

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.

Published by the BMJ Publishing Group Limited.

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Education & work participation: Childhood adversities and educational attainment in young adulthood: the role of mental health problems in adolescence

Authors: Veldman K, Bültmann U, Almansa J, Reijneveld SA

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.

Copyright © 2015 Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Education & work participation: The role of basal cortisol in predicting change in mental health problems across the transition to middle school

Authors: Zandstra ARE, Ormel J, Nederhof E, Hoekstra PJ, Hartman CA

Purpose. The period in which the transition to middle school occurs is marked by major changes in social context, social rules, and scholastic responsibilities. Some adolescents thrive during this period whereas others are overwhelmed and fail to cope adequately with their changing environment. We investigated basal cortisol upon waking as a predictor of change in mental health problems across the transition to middle school. By taking into account the transition experience, we extend prior findings that high basal cortisol predicts deteriorated mental health after the transition. In individuals with high awakening cortisol, we expected mental health problems to increase after negative transition experiences and to decrease after positive transition experiences, reflecting differential susceptibility. Evidence for the former but not the latter would suggest diathesis-stress. Methods. Data from 1,664 subjects were obtained from two measurement waves (mean ages, 11 and 13.5 years) of the TRacking Adolescents' Individual Lives Survey. Using linear regression, we investigated effects of awakening cortisol level, school transition experience, and their hypothesized interaction on change in mental health problems. Results. We found that a negative but not a positive experience was predictive of change in mental health. Importantly, our results showed that a negative experience predicts deteriorated mental health only in adolescents with high awakening cortisol but not in adolescents with low awakening cortisol. This finding was robust across informants. The converse, high awakening cortisol predicting decreasing mental health problems after a positive transition was not found. Conclusions. These results support the diathesis-stress model but not the differential susceptibility hypothesis.

Copyright © 2015 Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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