Findings from cohort studies show that childhood disadvantage is strongly associated with poorer adult mental wellbeing for Generation X.
Findings from Next Steps have revealed that when study members were age 14 three quarters of them lived with both parents, and a quarter lived with only one. Almost half of teenagers had an evening meal with their family every day at this age.
At age 16 over seven in ten (71%) were living with both parents and more than a quarter (26%) were residing with a lone parent, the vast majority with their mother (23%). Only 3 per cent of them had left home at this age .
Next Steps has shown that young people were more likely to do well at school if they had a good relationship with their parents. Around seven in ten teenagers who got on well with their parents stayed in full-time education after 16, compared to around half of those who had poor relationships.
Half of those who reported always having a family meal together at age 14 gained eight or more GSCEs at grade A*- C, compared to only a third of those who never ate a family meal together. Teenagers also appeared to do better at school if their parents set a curfew time, or didn’t allow them to go out, on a school night.
Young people whose parents rarely or never knew their whereabouts at age 14 were much more likely to not be in education, employment and training (NEET) at age 16.
Those who lived with both parents at age 16 were the most likely to still be in full-time education and the least likely to be NEET at age 18. Almost half (47%) of young people living with two parents went on to continue their studies and 13 per cent became NEET. In comparison, less than a third (27%) of those who lived with neither parent at 16 were in full-time education at 18, and 37 per cent were NEET .
Next Steps has shown that at age 17 almost a third of young people had some kind of caring responsibility for younger children or ill, disabled or elderly relatives. Teenagers from Black African (46%) Caribbean (42%) and Pakistani (42%) origin were much more likely than white (25%) young people to care for others.
At age 18, those who regularly looked after children under 14, or ill, disabled or elderly adult relatives, were less likely to be in full-time education and were more likely to be NEET .
At this age only 1 per cent of young people were married, and a further 46 per cent were in a relationship. Of these two groups, 16 per cent lived with their spouse or partner.
In addition to these relationships, by age 18, 4 per cent of young people had children of their own, compared with 1 per cent at age 16, and 3 per cent at age 17. Splitting this by gender, young women (6%) were twice as likely as young men (3%) to report becoming parents by the time they were age 18. Almost all young mothers (99%) had their children living with them at this age, compared to just over half of all young fathers (57%).
By age 17, just 3 per cent of young people had children of their own, with almost nine in ten (88%) living in the same household as them. Young mothers reported that family members were the most likely providers of childcare, with nearly two in five (37%) getting help from grandparents, and just under a fifth (18%) getting support from other relatives .
By 19, only 41 per cent of young fathers and 44 per cent of young mothers had gained the equivalent of 5 or more GCSEs at grades A*-C, compared to 85 per cent of their peers . At this age almost seven in ten (69%) mothers who had their own child were not in education, employment or training. Nearly two in five (36%) fathers were also NEET at this age, compared to only one in ten (11%) of those who were not parents. However, young people who had become parents by age 19 (36% and 35%) were more likely to state being very satisfied with their life than young people without a child (27%) .
A fifth (20%) of young people who moved from NEET into employment at 19 said that support from friends and family had helped them get into work.