Karin Biering

Personal predictors of educational attainment after compulsory school: Influence of measures of vulnerability, health, and school performance

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Aims: Getting a secondary education is essential in preventing future inequalities in health and socioeconomic status. We investigated to what degree personal predictors like low school performance, high vulnerability, and poor health status are associated with not completing a secondary education in a Danish youth cohort. Methods: This prospective study used data from a questionnaire in 2004 and register data in 2010. The study population consisted of 3053 adolescents born in 1989. Information on educational attainment from Statistics Denmark was divided into four categories: completed, still studying, dropped out, or never attained a secondary education. Data was analysed using multinomial logistic regression. Results: Low grades when completing compulsory school predicted not having completed a secondary education by age 20/21 (odds ratios (OR) between 1.7 and 2.5). Low sense of coherence in childhood was associated with dropping out from a vocational education (OR 2.0). Low general health status was associated with dropping out (OR 2.2) or never attaining a secondary education (OR 2.7) and overweight was associated with never attaining a secondary education (OR 3.5). Conclusions: The study confirms the social gradient in educational attainment. Furthermore, the results indicate that factors related to the individual in terms of low school performance, low health status, and high vulnerability predict future success in the educational system. It is recommended that these high-risk groups are recognised and targeted when designing guidance and supervision programmes for youth at secondary education.
Original languageEnglish
JournalScandinavian Journal of Public Health
Volume41
Issue1
Pages (from-to)92-101
Number of pages10
ISSN1403-4948
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2013

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