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The mental health of youth and young adults during the transition to adulthood in Egypt (by Jenny Liu, Sepideh Modrek, Maia Sieverding)

31 May 2017

BACKGROUND
There has been growing interest in the stalled transition to adulthood in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and its consequences for young people’s socioeconomic outcomes. However, little is known about how important life transitions relate to youth psychosocial well-being in the region.

OBJECTIVE
Drawing on a life course framework, we estimate the associations between making transitions in education, employment, and marriage with changes in mental health among young people in Egypt.

METHODS
We descriptively analyze mental health scores, measured via the Self-Reporting Questionnaire-20 and disaggregated by gender, for a panel of young people first surveyed in 2009 at ages 13–29 and followed up in late 2013 and early 2014. We regress change in mental health scores against indicators of making different transitions.

RESULTS
Young women experience worse mental health than young men overall. Lower school achievement was associated with poorer mental health; being out of the labor force was an additional risk factor for young men. While average mental health scores improved over time, over a quarter of the sample experienced worsening mental health, related to failure to marry and find a job among older men, and failure to finish schooling among younger women.

CONCLUSIONS
Mental health is an important but often overlooked component of youth well-being during the transition to adulthood in MENA, and potentially other low- and middle-income countries.

Click here to view the full article which appeared in Demographic Research