Arbeidsledighet og psykisk helse blant unge i Norden - Nordiska ...

Arbeidsledighet og psykisk helse blant unge i Norden - Nordiska ...


This report presents a review of Nordic research literature on the relationship between

unemployment and mental health among young adults aged 15-29 years. It includes published

studies conducted between 1995 and 2011. Overall unemployment is associated with poorer

mental health than being employed. This association is evident even in two studies which

respectively take into account mental health prior to unemployment and time invariant

characteristics of the individual. Further, the review suggests that young women are more

affected by unemployment than young men, and that young adults are more affected than older

adults. Economic problems and the level of social integration are important factors in explaining

why some unemployed experience poorer mental health yet others do not. Transition into

labour market programs, education or employment is associated with improved mental health.

The mental health of young adults in employment and education is poorer during periods of

economic recession than during periods of economic growth. We found no studies examining the

link between unemployment and mental health among especially vulnerable groups such as

young adults with immigrant background or those with mental or physical health problems.

The studies included in this review of Nordic literature have several shortcomings. First, a

majority of the studies are Swedish and based on small and local samples. Secondly, most

studies are more than ten years old. Thirdly, only a minority of the studies have made use of

more statistically advanced techniques to address inverse causality and selection. Thus, we

recommend more research into large scale studies that can employ more statistically advanced

methods. Further, knowledge of vulnerable groups and more extensive knowledge of the effect

of various labour market policies are needed.

Despite the shortcomings presented, we are still able to make some recommendations to those

in charge of labour market and health policies. First, a continued effort into education and labour

market policies, in order to qualify young adults for the labour market, is also important in a

mental health perspective. Secondly, labour market policies should be implemented in a way

that ensures that their effects can be evaluated and to include mental health measures as one

element of the evaluation.


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