Young adults' work-family life courses and mental health trajectories from adolescence to young adulthood: a TRAILS study

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PURPOSE: Work-family life courses have been associated with mental health at various time points in life but little is known about how mental health develops during these work-family life courses. The aim of this study was to examine mental health trajectories from adolescence to young adulthood in women and men with different work-family life courses.

METHODS: Data from 992 young adults participating in the 18-year follow-up TRacking Adolescents' Individual Lives Survey (TRAILS) were used. Work-family life courses from ages 18 to 28 years were previously constructed using sequence analysis. For each work-family life course, trajectories of internalising and externalising problems from ages 11 to 29 years were estimated using a multi-group random intercept growth model. Differences in mental health trajectories were examined across work-family life courses.

RESULTS: For women, trajectories of internalising and externalising problems in young adulthood differed significantly between work-family life courses (p = 0.037 and p < 0.001, respectively). Women in the inactive work-family life course reported the highest scores of internalising and externalising problems during the entire young adulthood but the differences in mental health scores became most pronounced at age 29. Trajectories of internalising and externalising problems of men did not significantly differ between the work-family life courses.

CONCLUSION: Mental health trajectories differed between women depending on their work-family life course. In men, differences between work-family life courses were less pronounced. Future studies should examine which work-family events and transitions captured in work-family life courses are associated with subsequent mental health problems during longer follow-up.

Originele taal-2English
Aantal pagina's9
TijdschriftSocial Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology
DOI's
StatusE-pub ahead of print - 29-mrt.-2024

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