University of Oulu

Jaana I Halonen, Marianna Virtanen, Leena Ala-Mursula, Jouko Miettunen, Eeva Vaaramo, Jaro Karppinen, Anne Kouvonen, Tea Lallukka, Socioeconomic and health-related childhood and adolescence predictors of entry into paid employment, European Journal of Public Health, Volume 29, Issue 3, June 2019, Pages 555–561,

Socioeconomic and health-related childhood and adolescence predictors of entry into paid employment

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Author: Halonen, Jaana I.1; Virtanen, Marianna2; Ala-Mursula, Leena3;
Organizations: 1Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Kuopio, Helsinki and Oulu, Finland
2Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences, University of Uppsala, Uppsala, Sweden
3Center for Life Course Health Research, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
4Medical Research Center Oulu, Oulu University Hospital and University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
5Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
6ivision of Health Psychology, SWPS University of Social Sciences and Humanities in Wroclaw, Wroclaw, Poland
7Administrative Data Research Centre (Northern Ireland), Centre for Public Health, Queen’s University Belfast, Belfast,UK
8Department of Public Health, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.4 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Oxford University Press, 2018
Publish Date: 2019-11-27


Background: Most studies on prolonging working careers have explored later career, while less is known about social and particularly health-related determinants of entry into labour market. We examined social and health-related factors from childhood and adolescence as predictors of age at entry into paid employment and early occupational class, and whether own education moderates these associations.

Methods: The Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1986 was followed from birth until the end of 2015. We included 8542 participants (52% male) who had had a minimum of 6-month employment that was defined by registered earning periods. As socioeconomic predictors, we examined low parental education at age 7 and low household income at age 16. Behaviour- and health-related factors at age 16 included smoking, alcohol use, physical inactivity, overweight, length of sleep and not having breakfast, while mental health problems included symptoms of anxiety and depression, attention problems and social problems. The analyses for significant predictors were further stratified by register-based level of completed own education by age 28–29 (low/high).

Results: After adjustments, low parental education, smoking and having been drunk were significant predictors of early entry into paid employment (≤18 vs. ≥24 years), especially among those who later obtained high education. Low parental education and smoking were predictors of low or non-specified (vs. high) occupational class in the first job. Mental health problems were not associated with either outcome.

Conclusions: Socioeconomic background and unhealthy lifestyle contribute to early entry into the labour market and low occupational status in the first job.

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Series: European journal of public health
ISSN: 1101-1262
ISSN-E: 1464-360X
ISSN-L: 1101-1262
Volume: 29
Issue: 3
Pages: 555 - 561
DOI: 10.1093/eurpub/cky221
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 3142 Public health care science, environmental and occupational health
Funding: This work was supported by Academy of Finland (grant 287488, 294096, and 319200 to T.L. and J.I.H. and 268336 to J.M.) and by Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) (grant ES/L007509/1 to A.K.).
Academy of Finland Grant Number: 268336
Detailed Information: 268336 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
Copyright information: © The Author(s) 2018. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the European Public Health Association. All rights reserved.