Deakin University
Browse

File(s) under permanent embargo

Early Onset of Distress Disorders and High-School Dropout: Prospective Evidence from a National Cohort of Australian Adolescents

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-24, 03:32 authored by P Butterworth, LS Leach
Prior research examining whether depression and anxiety lead to high-school dropout has been limited by a reliance on retrospective reports, the assessment of mental health at a single point in time (often remote from the time of high-school exit), and the omission of important measures of the social and familial environment. The present study addressed these limitations by analyzing 8 waves of longitudinal data from a cohort of Australian adolescents (n = 1,057) in the Household, Income and Labor Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey (2001-2008). Respondents were followed from the age of 15 years through completion of or exit from high school. Discrete-time survival analysis was used to assess whether the early experience of a distress disorder (indicated by scores <50 on the 5-item Mental Health Inventory from the Short Form Health Survey) predicted subsequent high-school dropout, after controlling for household and parental socioeconomic characteristics and for tobacco smoking and alcohol consumption. Adolescents with a prior distress disorder had twice the odds of high-school dropout compared with those without (odds ratio = 1.99, 95% confidence interval: 1.24, 3.17). This association was somewhat attenuated but remained significant in models including tobacco and alcohol consumption (odds ratio = 1.74, 95% confidence interval: 1.74; 1.09, 2.78). These results suggest that improving the mental health of high-school students may promote better educational outcomes.

History

Journal

American Journal of Epidemiology

Volume

187

Pagination

1192-1198

Location

Oxford, Eng.

ISSN

0002-9262

eISSN

1476-6256

Language

eng

Publication classification

C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Issue

6

Publisher

Oxford University Press (OUP)