A chronic disease in adolescence and selection to an educational path: a longitudinal study

Leena Koivusilta, Riittakerttu Kaltiala, Anna Myöhänen, Risto Hotulainen, Arja Rimpelä

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Chronic disease may affect adolescents’ educational success. We study whether adolescents with a somatic chronic condition have lower school performance, lower odds for academic education, and a delayed start of upper-secondary studies. Seventh graders and ninth graders in the Helsinki Metropolitan Region, Finland, were invited to participate in a school survey in 2011 and 2014, respectively. The respondents (2011, N = 8960; 2014, N = 7394) were followed using a national ap-plication registry until 2017. The chronic conditions were asthma, diabetes, and epilepsy. Out-comes were grade point average (GPA), study place in an academic school, and delayed start of secondary education. Adolescents with a chronic disease needing medication had lower GPAs in both grades. Chronic disease with medication in the seventh grade predicted higher odds for the non-academic track (OR = 1.3) and the delayed start (OR = 1.4). In the ninth grade, chronic disease predicted non-academic studies univariately (OR = 1.2) and was not associated with the delayed start. The somatic chronic condition with medication, particularly epilepsy, slightly lowers stu-dents’ school performance, which is a mediator between the chronic condition and selection into educational paths. Compared to gender and parents’ education, and particularly to GPA, the role of chronic conditions on educational outcomes is small.
Original languageEnglish
Article number14407
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Enviromental Research And Public Health
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - 3 Nov 2022
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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