Abandon All Hope

January 28th, 2009 | Sources: British Medical Journal, MedPageToday

Adolescents who act out in class are more likely to experience mental illness, alcohol abuse and both social and financial difficulties later in life, according to a study in the British Medical Journal

To reach this conclusion, Ian Colman and a team at the University of Alberta queried data involving all 3652 people born in the UK during a one-week period in 1946 using the Medical Research Council National Survey of Health and Development

In this cohort, teachers had documented “externalizing behavior” such as poor attention in class, disobedience, lying, truancy, tardiness, or poor response to discipline when they were 13 and 15 years old.

9.5% of the participants were classified with severe behavioral problems, and another 28.8% with mild problems.

Study investigators reassessed participants at ages 36, 43 and 53 for mental health, social, and economic outcomes.

It turned out that those with severe behavioral problems during adolescence were 30% more likely to experience symptoms of anxiety and depression, and twice as likely to experience financial difficulties later in life.

Those with at least mild conduct problems were 40% more likely to abuse alcohol and 2.3 times more likely to be involved with a pregnancy during adolescence.

When it came to dropping out of school, those with mild teen behavioral disturbances were more than twice as likely, and those with severe conduct problems were 4 times more likely.

Divorce was 50% and 70% more likely for those with mild and severe conduct problems in adolescence, and self-reported unhappy family life was 30% and 60% more common in those with mild and severe problems respectively. 

The findings held true in men and women and were not affected by educational level.


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