Background School and work participation in adolescence and young adulthood are important for future health and socioeconomic status. The authors studied the association between self-rated health in adolescents, high school dropout and long-term receipt of medical and non-medical social insurance benefits in young adulthood.
Methods Self-rated health in adolescence was assessed in 8795 adolescents participating in the Norwegian Young-HUNT Study (1995–1997). Linkages to the National Education Database and the National Insurance Administration allowed identification of school dropout and receipt of long-term medical and non-medical benefits during a 10-year follow-up (1998–2007). The data were explored by descriptive statistics and by multinomial logistic regression.
Results A total of 17% was registered as being high school dropouts at age 24. The predicted 5-year risk of receiving benefits between ages 24–28 was 21% (95% CI 20% to 23%). High school dropouts had a 5-year risk of receiving benefits of 44% (95% CI 41 to 48) compared with 16% (95% CI 15 to 17) in those who completed high school (adjusted for self-rated health, parental education and sex). There was a 27% school dropout rate in adolescents who reported poor health compared with 16% in those who reported good health. The predicted 5-year risk of receiving any long-term social insurance benefits in adolescents who reported poor health was 33% (95% CI 30 to 37) compared with 20% (95% CI 19 to 21) in those who reported good health.
Conclusion The strong association between poor self-rated health in adolescence, high school dropout and reduced work integration needs attention and suggests preventive measures on an individual as well as on a societal level.
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Funding This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None.
Patient consent The collection of the data was in 1995–1997, and the whole county of Nord-Trøndelag was invited. All participants signed a consent form approved by Regional Committee for Medical Research Ethics and the Norwegian Data Inspectorate.
Ethics approval The Young-Hunt Study was voluntary and approved by the Regional Committee for Medical Research Ethics and the Norwegian Data Inspectorate. The current study was approved by the Regional Committee for Medical Research Ethics (reference 2010/1727-5).
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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