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Education and psychological distress in adolescence and mid-life: Do private schools make a difference?

Sullivan, A; Parsons, S; Ploubidis, G; Wiggins, RD; Green, F; (2020) Education and psychological distress in adolescence and mid-life: Do private schools make a difference? British Educational Research Journal 10.1002/berj.3674. Green open access

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Abstract

This article extends the evidence base on childhood circumstances, education and psychological distress. We examine the link between childhood advantage and disadvantage, the type of school attended during adolescence and psychological distress at ages 16 and 42. The analysis uses a large, population-based birth cohort study, the 1970 British Cohort Study (BCS70) (n = 17,198) using a structural equation modelling (SEM) approach. More advantaged young people were more likely to attend private schools, but we find no evidence for an effect of private schooling on psychological distress for men, and for women there was an association between private schooling and raised psychological distress at age 16. Having a university degree was associated with a modest reduction in psychological distress in mid-life. We establish that maternal psychological distress at age 10 was a risk factor for the offspring’s psychological distress both in adolescence and in mid-life, and adolescent psychological distress predicts psychological distress in mid-life. We conclude that schools which are academically successful do not necessarily provide wider benefits in terms of mental health.

Type: Article
Title: Education and psychological distress in adolescence and mid-life: Do private schools make a difference?
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1002/berj.3674
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1002/berj.3674
Language: English
Additional information: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Keywords: psychological distress, education, private school, longitudinal, BCS70
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Education, Practice and Society
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Social Research Institute
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10109535
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