University of Oulu

Adolescent predictors of adult social and psychiatric adversities : a prospective follow-up study of the Northern Finland 1966 Birth Cohort

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Author: Riala, Kaisa1,2
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry
2University of Oulu, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health Science and General Practice
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1 MB)
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Language: English
Published: 2004
Publish Date: 2004-11-16
Thesis type: Doctoral Dissertation
Defence Note: Academic Dissertation to be presented with the assent of the Faculty of Medicine, University of Oulu, for public discussion in the Väinö Pääkkönen Hall of the Department of Psychiatry, on November 26th, 2004, at 12 noon
Reviewer: Professor Hillevi Aro
Doctor Mary Cannon


The aim of this study was to investigate, using a longitudinal design, the possible long-term effects of adolescent family background, school performance and substance use on educational performance, psychiatric disorders and substance use related problems during adulthood.

A large, prospectively collected general population birth cohort (n = 11017), the Northern Finland 1966 Birth cohort, was used as study population. The database provided information on features of the primary family. The information on the cohort members’ school performance, smoking, alcohol use and other substance use was obtained from a questionnaire mailed to the cohort members in 1980. Also information on school performance in various school subjects was obtained at the end of compulsory schooling at the age of 16. The level of education by the age of 31 was gathered from the national Registry of Educational Statistics in Finland. The relevant data for drunk driving offences were collected from the Ministry of Justice files. The Finnish Hospital Discharge Register was used to identify all hospital-treated psychiatric patients.

Parental divorce increased the risk of adult educational underachievement. Other family background factors such as unwanted pregnancy, low maternal education and large family size were also associated with low adult educational performance. A history of drunk driving offences was associated both with impaired school performance in adolescence and with educational underachievement in early adulthood. Adolescent regular alcohol use, smoking and other substance use increased the risk for drunk driving offences and hospital-treated substance use disorders in adulthood. The smoking rate among psychiatric patients was about 1.5 times higher than among control subjects without psychiatric hospital treatment. The proportion of smokers was about 50% among subjects with schizophrenia. The initiation age of regular smoking was closely related to the age of onset of schizophrenia, but not to other mental disorders. Among schizophrenia patients the increased likelihood of smoking was associated with paternal smoking in the family environment, but not with any other background factors. Low overall mean scores and low combined mathematical and natural science scores at the end of compulsory school were associated with adult regular smoking among schizophrenia patients.

This study gives new information on risk factors that affect educational attainment, substance use related problems and psychiatric morbidity within the developmental pathway from adolescence to adulthood.

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Series: Acta Universitatis Ouluensis. D, Medica
ISSN-E: 1796-2234
ISBN: 951-42-7495-4
ISBN Print: 951-42-7494-6
Issue: 806
Copyright information: © University of Oulu, 2004. This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.