An intersectional analysis of inequalities in young people’s mental health within the higher education context

Balloo, Kieran ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1745-4653 and Hosein, Anesa and Byrom, Nicola and Essau, Cecilia A. (2022) An intersectional analysis of inequalities in young people’s mental health within the higher education context. In: Health Studies User Conference (2022), 12 July 2022, Manchester, United Kingdom.

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Abstract

Taking higher education as a specific social context in which to explore structural and social determinants of inequalities in young people’s mental health, this study used the new gold standard for quantitative intersectionality research (Multilevel Analysis of Individual Heterogeneity and Discriminatory Accuracy [MAIHDA]) as an analytical approach. Drawing on data from the Longitudinal Study of Young People in England, we used MAIHDA 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. Analyses were performed both within and outside of the higher education context to determine whether university attendance shaped any intersectional effects. The results did not reveal any evidence of intersectional effects (i.e. a multiplicative model) on young people’s mental health outcomes. Significant main effects of social identities (i.e. an additive model) were, however, found: 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 attended university; Black and Asian individuals were less likely to declare a mental illness than White individuals; and young people who grew up in a more deprived area and did not attend university were more likely to experience mental health problems. Implications of the findings are that mental health interventions for young people do not necessarily have to be designed exclusively for specific intersectional groups, but could instead be targeted at broad social group memberships. Since, the university environment appears to produce better mental health outcomes for some young people, further investigation is needed to understand potential benefits afforded by attending university, and to determine whether this should and could be replicated in the wider general population.


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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Commonwealth Reporting Category E) (Speech)
Refereed: No
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: 22 Aug 2022 00:05
Last Modified: 04 Nov 2022 00:06
Uncontrolled Keywords: higher education; inequalities; mental health
Fields of Research (2020): 42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4203 Health services and systems > 420313 Mental health services
52 PSYCHOLOGY > 5203 Clinical and health psychology > 520304 Health psychology
42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4206 Public health > 420602 Health equity
38 ECONOMICS > 3802 Econometrics > 380204 Panel data analysis
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): 16 EDUCATION AND TRAINING > 1601 Learner and learning > 160102 Higher education
20 HEALTH > 2002 Evaluation of health and support services > 200201 Determinants of health
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:
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/50979

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