June research highlights

1 August 2018

Selected highlights of journal papers and other research published in June using CLS study data.

Having a stressful job is linked to developing mental disorders at 50

Research using the National Child Development Study (NCDS) has investigated the relationship between work-related stress at age 45 and the risk of future mental disorders at age 50. The study, published in the Lancet Psychiatry, was carried out by an international group of researchers based in the UK, Australia, USA and Norway. The study found that those who reported having more stress at work at age 45 were more likely to show symptoms of common mental disorders at 50.  These findings suggest that reducing work-related stress may be an important target to lower the frequency of common mental disorders.

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Higher risk of depression for young adults diagnosed with cancer

A new study published in the Journal of Psychosomatic Research has analysed whether young patients diagnosed with cancer are at greater risk of depression. The paper, by researchers based at University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Romania, used data from the 1970 British Cohort Study at ages 16, 26 and 30.  The researchers found that the risk of depression is higher for people with onset of cancer before 30. The study did not identify additional risk of depression according to socioeconomic status for patients with cancer. The researchers hope that these findings will raise awareness of the importance of active screening and treatment of depression for young patients with cancer.

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Enjoyment of school is linked to greater aspirations for higher education

A new paper published in the Journal of Adolescence has studied the link between emotional engagement in school and educational aspirations for young adults during secondary school. The research, analysed data from Next Steps at ages 14, 15 and 16. Emotional engagement was measured by teenagers’ responses to questions about how much they enjoyed school.  The results found that teenagers who reported enjoying school were less likely to have low or uncertain aspirations. On average, emotional engagement increased from age 14 to 16, with a significant proportion of teenagers shifting from expressing uncertainty to aspiring to continue in education. The findings highlight the importance of emotional engagement, particularly for those who are unsure about whether to continue their studies after age 16.

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Boys more likely to become interested in scientific careers at age 14

Research using the Millennium Cohort Study (MCS) has investigated how children’s aspirations towards science-related careers differ between ages 11 and 14. The study, published in Research in Science Education, was carried out by the UCL Institute of Education. The research found that 8.6 per cent of the children had science-related career aspirations at both age 11 and 14, and 63.5 per cent consistently expressed non-scientific career aspirations. 15.7 per cent of children changed from expressing other (non-science) aspirations at age 11 to express science-related aspirations at age 14; and the remaining 12.2 per cent changed from expressing science-related aspirations at age 11 to other aspirations. Children who changed towards science-related aspirations were more likely to be boys, children from white backgrounds, those with more enthusiasm for school, and those with more self-esteem.

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