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10-19 How unsteady income fosters an unstable mentality in teens

How unsteady income fosters an unstable mentality in teens

According to the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, the trend of unemployment is recovering. As of September 2015, the unemployment rate is now at 5.2 percent for high school graduates. For college graduates with a Bachelor’s Degree, unemployment is less than half that rate at 2.5 percent. Although these demographics are faring better now, the dynamic nature of the national economy and job market have sparked numerous investigations on how a life event like unemployment can affect a maturing mind.

In the 1996 study, “Youth unemployment and mental health – Gender differences and economic stress,” researchers C. Hagquist and Bengt Starrin of the Centre for Public Health Research in Sweden examined 81 unemployed individuals under the age of 25 and 143 youth trainees. Their observations showed that one out of four men and one-half of all women reported that their mental health worsened after becoming unemployed. In terms of solutions, youth programs appeared to have improved mental wellness for one out of every four male teens and four out of 10 female teens. Overall, the daily activities and obligations that growing people were involved in heavily affected their psychological state.

The United States’ recent economic recession brought about some of the most pertinent research on this topic. For instance, one research project from the University of California at Davis found that economic stress is heritable. The project is called, “Short-run Effects of Parental Job Loss on Children’s Academic Achievement,” Ann Huff Stevens, Ph.D., and Jessamyn Schaller, Ph.D., measured the academic achievement of children and how it related to the unemployment of their parents. Using data from the 1996, 2001 and 2004 Survey of Income and Program Participation, parental job loss increased the odds of their children getting held back by 15 percent. The authors summarized that financial status and mental performance showed strong signs of a causational relationship.

Furthermore, the 1984 study by researcher Margaret Lester Colvin of Montana State University sought to understand how average households with teenagers handled the unemployment of the father figure. The academic analysis, “Parent and adolescent stress and coping strategies in families with unemployed blue-collar breadwinners,” detailed how families with teens were actually more vulnerable to economic burdens. Colvin explained that elders and their offspring must both adapt to changing roles and situational factors, including the escalating cost of adolescent needs as well as familial job loss.

Various factors are involved in this cross-generational link, as explored by multiple experts in a 2009 New York Times piece entitled, “Job Woes Exacting a Toll on Family Life.”

  • According to Peter R. Orszag, director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, children of laid-off parents were found to have lower annual incomes as adults when compared to those who had employed parents.
  • “The other thing that matters is parental conflict. That has been shown repeatedly in psychological studies to be a bad family dynamic,” said Professor Ariel Kalil, Ph.D., at New York University.
  • Interestingly, paternal unemployment had a more noticeable effect on a child’s mental health in contrast to maternal unemployment.

There is a notable link between unemployment and mental health. If financial stress is weighing down your teen, Sovereign Health Rancho San Diego is a specialized facility that provides comprehensive care to adolescents who are struggling with mental health or related substance abuse issues. Call to speak with a professional today.

Written by Lee Yates, Sovereign Health Group writer

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