A new Child Trends brief uses data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health) to explore the relationship between counseling and insurance access during adolescence, and reports of depression or suicidality during young adulthood. The brief, published online here, confirms prior research findings that adolescents who report mental health issues are more likely to report similar issues as young adults. The research findings reported in the brief suggest that for adolescents who report either no or mild depressive symptoms, access to health insurance is associated with a lower risk of mental health problems as young adults when compared to adolescents who report moderate-to-severe depressive symptoms. For all teens, receiving counseling during adolescence was associated with an increased risk of depressive or suicidal symptoms as young adults.
Brief excerpt: “Mental health disorders that begin in adolescence often – though not always – persist into early adulthood. The continuity of mental health problems may reflect biological and genetic origins, ongoing social and personal challenges, poor quality mental health services, and/or reflect low use of mental health services in adolescence and young adulthood. Research examining factors related to low service use has identified the inability to pay for services as one of several causes. This Research Brief analyzes panel data from a baseline sample of 9,969 young people participating in ADD Health (the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health), to assess whether the receipt of supportive (psychological or emotional) counseling and access to health insurance in adolescence are related to the persistence of adolescent depression and/or suicidality in young adulthood.
Results indicate that teens reporting symptoms of depression or suicidality in adolescence are 2.8 times more likely than asymptomatic teens to report these symptoms in young adulthood. The effects of receiving counseling and having health insurance during adolescence on later symptoms of depression or suicidality varied, depending on whether moderate-to-severe symptoms of depression or suicidality were reported during adolescence.”
Mary A. Terzian, Ph.D., Kristin A. Moore, Ph.D., and Kelly Bell, B.A. (2012). Health Insurance Access and Counseling Receipt and Their Association with Later Depressive and Suicidal Symptoms. Child Trends Research Brief.