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Children with Poor Mental Health at Risk of Unemployment during Adulthood

Update Date: Nov 28, 2014 09:06 AM EST
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People who experienced emotional issues as children have a harder time finding employment, a new study reported. According to the researchers from the University of Stirling in the United Kingdom, the risk increases even more during times of recession.

"Our findings point to childhood mental health as a key factor which shapes whether a young person will find a job. We now know that early life emotional problems have a substantial influence on productivity and employment prospects in adulthood. The economic benefit of extending childhood mental health services to address these problems early in life is likely to be substantial," lead researcher Mark Egan, from the University of Stirling's Behavioral Science Center, said reported by Medical Xpress.

For this study, the team examined data on nearly 20,000 children collected by the Longitudinal Study of Young People in England and the National Child Development Study. The team assessed the children's entry to the labor market during the mid-1980s and 1970s.

The researchers assessed the children's mental state and categorized them accordingly. Children who reported feelings of depression or worthlessness at 14-years-old or children between the ages of seven and 11 who had high distress scores measured by teachers were grouped under "highly distressed." The team found that the negative affects of childhood emotional problems on future employment prospects increased by 50 percent. As young children, those who were highly distressed had a 40 percent greater chance of being unemployed.

"Our findings suggest that young people with mental health problems may be at particularly high risk of unemployment when an economy is doing poorly. We found this to be true in the aftermath of the 1980 recession and are now examining new data to test whether this was true after the 2008 recession," commented Egan.

The university's press release can be found here.

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