Socioeconomic background and high school completion: Mediation by health and moderation by national context
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionJournal of Adolescence. 2017, 56 (April 2017), 118-126. 10.1016/j.adolescence.2017.02.004
This study uses longitudinal data from the Norwegian Health Study linked with registry data (n = 13262) and the U.S. National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997 (n = 3604) to examine (1) whether adolescent health mediates the well-established relationship between socioeconomic background and successful high school completion, and (2) whether this mediated pathway of influence varies by national context. Adolescents from lower educated and lower income families reported poorer health, which negatively impacted their likelihood of graduating from high school. The partial mediational effect of adolescent health was stronger in the U.S. than in Norway. These results suggest that policies aimed at preventing high school dropout need to address adolescent health, in addition to the unequal opportunities derived from socioeconomic disadvantage.