Does the timing and duration of mental health problems during childhood and adolescence matter for labour market participation of young adults?

Samira de Groot*, Karin Veldman, Benjamin C Amick Iii, Tineke A J Oldehinkel, Iris Arends, Ute Bültmann

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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BACKGROUND: Little is known about the timing and duration of mental health problems (MHPs) on young adults' labour market participation (LMP). This life-course study aims to examine whether and how the timing and duration of MHPs between childhood and young adulthood are associated with LMP in young adulthood.

METHODS: Logistic regression analyses were performed with data from the Tracking Adolescents' Individual Lives Survey (TRAILS), a Dutch prospective cohort study with 15-year follow-up (N=874). Internalising and externalising problems were measured by the Youth/Adult Self-Report at ages 11, 13, 16, 19 and 22. Labour market participation (having a paid job yes/no) was assessed at age 26.

RESULTS: Internalising problems at all ages and externalising problems at age 13, 19 and 22 were associated with an increased risk of not having a paid job (internalising problems ORs ranging from 2.24, 95% CI 1.02 to 4.90 at age 11 to OR 6.58, CI 3.14 to 13.80 at age 22; externalising problems ORs from 2.84, CI 1.11 to 7.27 at age 13 to OR 6.36, CI 2.30 to 17.56 at age 22). Especially a long duration of internalising problems increased the risk of not having a paid job in young adulthood.

CONCLUSION: The duration of MHPs during childhood and adolescence is strongly associated with not having paid work in young adulthood. This emphasises the necessity of applying a life-course perspective when investigating the effect of MHPs on LMP. Early monitoring, mental healthcare and the (early) provision of employment support may improve young adult's participation in the labour market.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)896-902
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Epidemiology and Community Health
Early online date8-Feb-2021
Publication statusPublished - 10-Aug-2021

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