Publicatie datum

The association between adolescents’ health and disparities in school career: a longitudinal cohort study.

Uiters, E., Maurits, E., Droomers, M., Zwaanswijk, M., Verheij, R.A., Lucht, F. van der. The association between adolescents’ health and disparities in school career: a longitudinal cohort study. BMC Public Health: 2014, 14(1104)
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Background: Literature suggests that children’s educational achievement is associated with their health status and the socioeconomic position of their parents. Few studies have investigated this association in adolescence, while this is an important period affecting future life trajectories. Our study investigates the relationship between adolescents’ health and their subsequent school career, taking into account their parents’ socioeconomic position. Methods: Data of all Dutch adolescents who entered secondary education in 2003, according to the national education register, were linked to electronic health records from general practices and to data from the Dutch population register on a patient by patient basis. Secondary school career data of 2455 adolescents were available for several years, resulting in a longitudinal prospective cohort. School career was measured by the completion of secondary education within the research period. Results: For most health problems, adolescents’ health status at the moment of entering secondary education showed no association with the subsequent course of their school career. However, adolescents who had more frequent contact with their general practitioner for acute psychosocial problems (e.g. enuresis or overactive/hyperkinetic disorder), were less likely to complete their secondary education, also after adjustment for parental socioeconomic position. They were also less likely to complete their secondary education at the level of entry. Conclusions: Adolescents’ secondary school career is negatively affected by the presence of acute psychosocial health problems, but not by the presence of physical health problems. This underlines the importance of adequately addressing mental health problems in adolescence. (aut. ref.)