UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Depressive Symptom Trajectories and Early Adult Education and Employment: Comparing Longitudinal Cohorts in Canada and the United States Minh, Anita; Bültmann, Ute; Reijneveld, Sijmen A.; van Zon, Sander K. R.; McLeod, Chris B.


Adolescent depressive symptoms are risk factors for lower education and unemployment in early adulthood. This study examines how the course of symptoms from ages 16–25 influences early adult education and employment in Canada and the USA. Using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth (n = 2348) and the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 79 Child/Young Adult (n = 3961), four trajectories (low-stable; increasing; decreasing; and increasing then decreasing, i.e., mid-peak) were linked to five outcomes (working with a post-secondary degree; a high school degree; no degree; in school; and NEET, i.e., not in employment, education, or training). In both countries, increasing, decreasing, and mid-peak trajectories were associated with higher odds of working with low educational credentials, and/or NEET relative to low-stable trajectories. In Canada, however, all trajectories had a higher predicted probability of either being in school or working with a post-secondary degree than the other outcomes; in the USA, all trajectory groups were most likely to be working with a high school degree. Higher depressive symptom levels at various points between adolescent and adulthood are associated with working with low education and NEET in Canada and the USA, but Canadians are more likely to have better education and employment outcomes.

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