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Young people living with unemployed parents during a labour market-crisis: how do Portugal and Scotland compare?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


In Europe the rate of unemployment increased due to the 2008-2009 economic recession. The negative effect of unemployment on adult well-being has been demonstrated and there are strong reasons to believe that young people living in unemployed households may be also affected. Unemployment protection policies and family support programmes might help buffer such effects.
Purpose The aim of this study was to explore the associations between parental unemployment and youth mental well-being outcomes, and to examine possible heterogeneity between two countries with different labour market policies and parental support programme availability (Portugal and Scotland).
Methods Data were collected in 2014 by the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children study in Scotland and Portugal with two nationally representative samples of 13- and 15-year olds: 2748 Portuguese students (Mage = 14.7 years ±1.2; 47.8% boys); and 4512 Scottish students (Mage = 14.6 years ±1.0; 50.0% boys). Life satisfaction and subjective health complaints scales were used to assess youth mental well-being. Descriptive and linear regression analyses were performed.
Results Young people with one or more unemployed parents report lower levels of youth life satisfaction in both countries. In the Portuguese sample, parental unemployment was also positively associated with the frequency of subjective health complaints among young people.
Conclusion The association between parental unemployment status and youth low well-being were observed in both countries but there were some differences. These are discussed in the context of cross-national differences in unemployment rates and family protection policies in the two countries.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1135-1144
Number of pages10
JournalChild Indicators Research
Issue number4
Early online date28 Dec 2016
StatePublished - Dec 2017

    Research areas

  • Adolescence, Economic Recession, HBSC, Unemployment, Well-being

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