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Investigating young adults’ mental health and early working life trajectories from a life course perspective: the role of transitions
  1. Ute Bültmann1,
  2. Iris Arends1,
  3. Karin Veldman1,
  4. Christopher B. McLeod2,3,
  5. Sander K.R. van Zon1,
  6. Benjamin C. Amick III3,4
  1. 1Department of Health Sciences, Community and Occupational Medicine, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands
  2. 2School of Population and Public Health, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
  3. 3Institute for Work & Health, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  4. 4Department of Health Policy and Management, Robert Stempel College of Public Health and Social Work, Florida International University, Miami, Florida, USA
  1. Correspondence to Professor Ute Bültmann, Department of Health Sciences, Community and Occupational Medicine, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, 9700 RB Groningen, The Netherlands; u.bultmann{at}umcg.nl

Abstract

Background Many young adults leave the labour market because of mental health problems or never really enter it, through early moves onto disability benefits. Across many countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, between 30% and 50% of all new disability benefit claims are due to mental health problems; among young adults this moves up to 50%–80%.

Outline We propose a research agenda focused on transitions in building young adults’ mental health and early working life trajectories, considering varying views for subgroups of a society. First, we briefly review five transition characteristics, then we elaborate a research agenda with specific research questions.

Research agenda Our research agenda focuses on transitions as processes, in time and place and as sensitive periods, when examining young adults’ mental health and early working life trajectories from a life course perspective. As more and more childhood and adolescent cohorts mature and facilitate research on later life labour market, work and health outcomes, transition research can help guide policy and practice interventions.

Future cross-disciplinary research In view of the many challenges young adults face when entering the changing world of work and labour markets, future research on transitions in young adults related to their mental health and early working life trajectories will provide ample opportunities for collaborative cross-disciplinary research and stimulate debate on this important challenge.

  • mental health
  • life course epidemiology
  • lifecourse/childhood circumstances
  • occupational health

This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Unported (CC BY 4.0) license, which permits others to copy, redistribute, remix, transform and build upon this work for any purpose, provided the original work is properly cited, a link to the licence is given, and indication of whether changes were made. See: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

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Footnotes

  • Twitter @@TRAILS_NL, @@PWHS_UBC

  • Contributors UB and BCA conceptualised the paper and are responsible for the overall content. UB, IA, KV, SvZ, CBM and BCA contributed to the writing of the initial manuscript and provided valuable input on the drafts and the final manuscript. All authors reviewed and approved the content of the final manuscript.

  • Funding IA and KV were funded as part of a Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) Vici project ('Today’s youth is tomorrow’s workforce: Generation Y at work'; NWO Vici 453-16-007/2735) that was granted to UB. CBM was funded by the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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