The impact of somatisation in adolescence is substantial. Somatoform disorders are related to decrease in physical, social, and emotional health of the adolescent, but evidence linking somatisation in adolescence with labour market participation is scarce. Therefore, the aims of this study were to examine the effects of somatisation in adolescence on labour market participation in young adulthood, and to examine any potential gender difference.
Methods Data included 3054 participants from the Vestliv Study, a Danish prospective cohort study. Follow-up data on labour market participation was derived from national registers at age 23 and dichotomised into active or passive labour market participation. Self-reported somatisation was measured at age 15 and 18. Information about parental household income and highest education was derived from Statistics Denmark at age 14. Data was analysed with logistic regression analysis.
Results Somatisation at age 18 was associated with poor labour market participation (odds ratio (OR) and 95% confidence interval: 1.27, 1.01–1.59). Somatisation among girls at age 15 was associated with poor labour market participation (OR 1.8, 1.35–2.41). At age 18 the association was significant for girls (girls: OR 1.52, 1.08–2.15; boys: OR 1.33, 0.96–1.82). Adjusting for parental household income and highest education in the household did not change the estimates.
Conclusions Adolescent girls with many somatisation symptoms are at risk of poor labour market participation in young adulthood. Interventions reducing somatisation in adolescent girls may improve their labour market participation in young adulthood.
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