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Mental health from a life-course perspective

The transition from school to work
PhD ceremony:dr. K. (Karin) Veldman
When:December 13, 2016
Supervisors:prof. dr. U. (Ute) Bultmann, prof. dr. S.A. (Menno) Reijneveld
Where:Academy building RUG
Faculty:Medical Sciences / UMCG
Mental health from a life-course perspective

Adolescents suffering from mental health problems are at risk of dropping out from high school without a basic educational level (BEL) or to be in NEET (Neither in Education, Employment nor Training), and when having entered the labor market in adulthood, to be unemployed and/or earn lower wages. This may seem obvious but conclusive evidence lacks. Therefore, this thesis aims to determine the impact of mental health problems from childhood to young adulthood on the school-to-work transition from a life course perspective. We used data of the Dutch TRacking Adolescents’ Lives Survey (TRAILS) and of the Danish Vestliv study, both prospective cohort studies.

Young adults with a history of externalizing problems were at risk of reaching only a low level of educational attainment. Regarding the school-to-work transition, these young adults were also more likely to be at work without a BEL or to be in NEET. Young adults with a history of internalizing problems had poor labor market participation and reported poorer employment conditions and psychosocial work characteristics (like few possibilities for development and low job satisfaction).

These results imply that mental health problems should be detected and treated early in life (i.e., in childhood and early adolescence). To improve the transition into the labor market for young adults with mental health problems, collaboration between schools, youth health care services, employers and occupational health care services is important. For future research, longer follow-up is needed to examine the long-term consequences of early mental health problems regarding employment and work outcomes.