How does the sexual, physical and mental health of young adults not in education, employment or training (NEET) compare to workers and students?

Tanton, Clare, McDonagh, Lorraine, Cabecinha, Melissa, Clifton, Soazig, Geary, Rebecca, Rait, Greta, Saunders, John, Cassell, Jackie, Bonell, Chris, Mitchell, Kirstin R and Mercer, Catherine H (2021) How does the sexual, physical and mental health of young adults not in education, employment or training (NEET) compare to workers and students? BMC Public Health, 21 (1). a412 1-17. ISSN 1471-2458

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Abstract

Background: Syndemic theory highlights the potential for health problems to interact synergistically, compounding impact. Young adults not in education, employment or training (NEET) are more likely to experience disadvantage and poorer general health outcomes. However, there is little research on their sexual health, or the extent to which this clusters with mental and physical health outcomes. Methods: Analysis of data from 16 to 24 year olds (1729 men, 2140 women) interviewed 2010–12 for Britain’s third National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles. Natsal-3 is a national probability sample survey using computer-assisted personal interviewing with computer-assisted self-interviewing. Participants were classified as workers, students or NEET. We used multivariable logistic regression to examine associations between being NEET (relative to worker or student) and risk behaviours and outcomes in physical, sexual and mental health domains. We then examined how risk behaviours and poor health outcomes cluster within and across domains. Results: 15% men and 20% women were NEET; 36% men and 32% women were workers; and 49% men and 48% women were students. Young people who were NEET were more likely to report smoking and drug use (men) than other young people. There were few differences in sexual health, although NEETs were more likely to report condomless sex, and NEET women, unplanned pregnancy (past year). Risk behaviours clustered more within and across domains for NEET men. Among NEET women, poor health outcomes clustered across mental, physical and sexual health domains. Conclusions: Harmful health behaviours (men) and poor health outcomes (women) clustered more in those who are NEET. This points to a possible syndemic effect of NEET status on general ill health, especially for women. Our paper is novel in highlighting that elevated risk pertains to sexual as well as mental and physical health.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Clustering, Cross-sectional survey, Not in education, employment or training (NEET), Sexual health, Adolescent, Educational Status, Employment, Female, Humans, Male, Mental Health, Sexual Behavior, Students, United Kingdom, Young Adult
Schools and Departments: Brighton and Sussex Medical School > Primary Care and Public Health
SWORD Depositor: Mx Elements Account
Depositing User: Mx Elements Account
Date Deposited: 27 Aug 2021 13:21
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 13:30
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/101363

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