Mental disorders and their impact on school performance and high school completion by gender in Australia: a matched population-based cohort study

Rebecca J. Mitchell, Anne McMaugh, Carolyn Schniering, Cate M. Cameron, Reidar P. Lystad, Tim Badgery-Parker, Olav Nielssen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Young people with a mental disorder often perform poorly at school and can fail to complete high school. This study aims to compare scholastic performance and high school completion of young people hospitalised with a mental disorder compared to young people not hospitalised for a mental disorder health condition by gender.

Method: A population-based matched case-comparison cohort study of young people aged ⩽18 years hospitalised for a mental disorder during 2005–2018 in New South Wales, Australia using linked birth, health, education and mortality records. The comparison cohort was matched on age, gender and residential postcode. Generalised linear mixed modelling examined risk of school performance below the national minimum standard and generalised linear regression examined risk of not completing high school for young people with a mental disorder compared to matched peers.

Results: Young males with a mental disorder had over a 1.7 times higher risk of not achieving the national minimum standard for numeracy (adjusted relative risk: 1.71; 95% confidence interval: [1.35, 2.15]) and reading (adjusted relative risk: 1.99; 95% confidence interval: [1.80, 2.20]) compared to matched peers. Young females with a mental disorder had around 1.5 times higher risk of not achieving the national minimum standard for numeracy (adjusted relative risk: 1.50; 95% confidence interval: [1.14, 1.96]) compared to matched peers. Both young males and females with a disorder had around a three times higher risk of not completing high school compared to peers. Young males with multiple disorders had up to a sixfold increased risk and young females with multiple disorders had up to an eightfold increased risk of not completing high school compared to peers.

Conclusion: Early recognition and support could improve school performance and educational outcomes for young people who were hospitalised with a mental disorder. This support should be provided in conjunction with access to mental health services and school involvement and assistance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1602-1616
Number of pages15
JournalAustralian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry
Volume56
Issue number12
Early online date7 Dec 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022

Keywords

  • mental disorders
  • academic performance
  • high school completion
  • Mental disorders

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