Differences in mental health inequalities based on university attendance: Intersectional multilevel analyses of individual heterogeneity and discriminatory accuracy

Balloo, Kieran ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1745-4653 and Hosein, Anesa and Byrom, Nicola and Essau, Cecilia A. (2022) Differences in mental health inequalities based on university attendance: Intersectional multilevel analyses of individual heterogeneity and discriminatory accuracy. SSM – Population Health, 19:101149. pp. 1-10. ISSN 2666-5603

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Abstract

There is an increasing focus on structural and social determinants of inequalities in young people’s mental health across different social contexts. Taking higher education as a specific social context, it is unclear whether university attendance shapes the impact of intersectional social identities and positions on young people’s mental health outcomes. Multilevel Analysis of Individual Heterogeneity and Discriminatory Accuracy (MAIHDA) was used to predict the odds that mental distress during adolescence, sex, socioeconomic status, sexual identity, ethnicity, and their intersections, were associated with young people’s mental health outcomes at age 25, and whether this differed based on university attendance. Data from the Longitudinal Study of Young People in England cohort study were analysed with the MAIHDA approach, and the results did not reveal any evidence of multiplicative intersectional (i.e., aggravating) effects on young people’s mental health outcomes. However, important main effects of social identities and positions (i.e., an additive model) were observed. The findings suggested that being female or identifying as a sexual minority increased the odds of young people experiencing mental health problems at age 25, although the odds of self-harming were half the size for sexual minorities who had attended university. Black and Asian individuals were less likely to declare a mental illness than White individuals. Young people who grew up in a more deprived area and had not attended university were more likely to experience mental health problems. These findings imply that mental health interventions for young people do not necessarily have to be designed exclusively for specific intersectional groups. Further, university attendance appears to produce better mental health outcomes for some young people, hence more investigation is needed to understand what universities do for young people, and whether this could be replicated in the wider general population.


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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - USQ College (8 Jun 2020 -)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - USQ College (8 Jun 2020 -)
Date Deposited: 28 Jun 2022 05:38
Last Modified: 28 Jun 2022 05:38
Uncontrolled Keywords: young people’s mental health; mental distress; health equity; MAIHDA; higher education; intersectionality
Fields of Research (2020): 42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4203 Health services and systems > 420313 Mental health services
42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4206 Public health > 420602 Health equity
42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4206 Public health > 420606 Social determinants of health
39 EDUCATION > 3904 Specialist studies in education > 390412 Teacher and student wellbeing
39 EDUCATION > 3903 Education systems > 390303 Higher education
Socio-Economic Objectives (2020): 20 HEALTH > 2002 Evaluation of health and support services > 200201 Determinants of health
16 EDUCATION AND TRAINING > 1601 Learner and learning > 160102 Higher education
20 HEALTH > 2004 Public health (excl. specific population health) > 200409 Mental health
20 HEALTH > 2004 Public health (excl. specific population health) > 200407 Health status (incl. wellbeing)
20 HEALTH > 2002 Evaluation of health and support services > 200207 Social structure and health
20 HEALTH > 2005 Specific population health (excl. Indigenous health) > 200599 Specific population health (excl. Indigenous health) not elsewhere classified
20 HEALTH > 2002 Evaluation of health and support services > 200204 Health inequalities
Funding Details:
Identification Number or DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ssmph.2022.101149
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/49098

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