The Effects of Youth Unemployment on Later Life Mental Health

Lead Research Organisation: University College London
Department Name: Epidemiology and Public Health


The financial crisis of 2008 has seen youth unemployment figures rise worldwide. In the UK, these remain higher than their pre-crash level. A large body of evidence shows that unemployment has a negative impact on mental health. Research also shows that this negative impact lasts longer than the experience of unemployment itself. However, few studies have looked at the impact of youth unemployment specifically. There are reasons to believe that adolescence may be a period where unemployment is particularly harmful for mental health in the short- and long-term.
Existing studies which look at the long term impact of youth unemployment specifically have a number of flaws and leave important questions unanswered. First, these studies do not show youth unemployment causes future mental health problems or how. Second, they do not look at whether unemployment has differing impacts over the adolescent period. Third, they do not assess the effect on mental health at ages close to retirement. Addressing each of these points is important for designing effective policy.
In this project, I will use data from a long-running birth cohort study and advanced statistical techniques to assess whether experience of youth unemployment causes mental health problems in later life and, if so, how. Further, I will look at whether youth unemployment impacts on retirement decisions and whether there are factors which protect against the harmful effects of unemployment. I will also use data from other cohort studies to see if findings apply more widely.


10 25 50

Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
ES/P000592/1 30/09/2017 29/09/2027
1887097 Studentship ES/P000592/1 24/09/2017 29/09/2020 Liam Wright