• Simon Skovgaard Jensen
4. term, Sociology, Master (Master Programme)
Stress in adolescence is an increasing health issue in Denmark. Between 2005 and 2013, the amount of young men who reported feeling stressed increased from 8 (%) to 11%, while the young women increased from 11 % to 26 %. Research has shown that stressful experiences in adolescence have a negative impact on achieved levels of education later in life. This correlation indicates a health selection, where stress interpreted as a compromised mental health status interferes with the individual’s ability to perform in the educational sphere. This thesis sets out to investigate this potential correlation between stress in adolescence and later levels of education in Denmark. Due to the overall increase in levels among both young women and men it is considered important to create a thorough understanding of how stress might affect later life outcomes such as education, and the extent of this effect when taking into the account social factors such as parents’ education and income.
The thesis uses the cohort-study VestLiv, which have measurements of stress and stressful experiences in 2004, 2007 and 2010. 3054 people answered the questions in 2004, 2181 in 2007 and 1945 in 2010. The cohort consists of people born in 1989 and living in Ringkøbing county in 2004. The cohort is connected to national registers, which contains information on factors such as parents educational level, household income, school grades and the respondents level of education in every year until 2015.
Applying Group-Based Trajectory Modelling the cohort-data and register data allows for constructing the most typical life trajectories for both stress and education throughout the adolescence. Nominal logistic regression is then used to investigate the correlation between the stress trajectories and the education trajectories. This is complemented with three nominal logistic regression analysis focusing on giving a clearer picture of how stress and education might interact with each other from the age of 15 to 25 (2004-2014).
In general, the results showed that the effect of stress on education was relatively small compared to other factors such as parents’ education and school grades.
The regression analysis showed that following a life trajectory of low stress increases likelihood of following an education trajectory, which in general lead to higher levels of education.
The stress trajectories had no direct effect on level of education at 25 when controlling for social factors and school grades. The timing of stressful experiences played a central role on whether or not the experiences had an effect on education, where stressful experiences at 15 and 18 had a significant effect on education level at 25, but had no effect on education at 25 when the respondents were 21 years old. Being highly stressed at either age 15, 18 or 21 had no significant effect on level of education at age 25, but high stress levels at 15 and 21 had an effect on education until the age of 23.
The thesis concludes that when taking social factors and school grades into account stress and stressful experiences from age 15 to 21 plays a very small role regarding the individual’s level of education at 25. A stronger correlation is found when looking at education earlier in life.

Publication date2016
Number of pages119
ID: 238032153