Being Youngest In Class Increases The Risk Of Depression And Other Negative Outcomes Later In Life: Study

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Mental Health News: New study finds those youngest in a class are more likely to experience low educational achievement, substance misuse disorder, and depression in later life.

Researchers analyzed data from 300,000 individuals from the Swedish National Registers and the study results are published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (JAACAP). Results showed ‘young relative age’ — being young in a school class — puts a child at a long-term disadvantage compared to their older peers. However, the risk of depression was lower for children with ADHD.

Senior author Professor Jonna Kuntsi from King’s IoPPN said “The difference between the youngest and oldest member of a class can be up to 11 months. In the early stages of childhood, this is a significant difference in terms of maturity, behavior, and cognitive abilities.”

The study findings demand greater flexibility about school starting age and more focus on the relative age of students in relation to difficulties with reading, spelling, or arithmetic skills which aren’t the outcome of low cognitive ability. School authorities must develop approaches so that children’s future outcomes are fully independent of their relative age at the start of school.

To Know More You May Refer To:

Kuntsi, J., Larsson, H., Deng, Q., Lichtenstein, P., & Chang, Z. (2021). The combined effects of young relative age and attention-deficit/Hyperactivity disorder on negative long-term outcomes. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry.

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