Adolescents who misbehave at school could portray social problems during their adulthood, says a 40 year old study.
Appearing online in bmj.com, the study report suggests that these difficulties cover all areas of life, from mental health to domestic and personal relationships to economic deprivation.
Ian Colman, an Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research Population Health Investigator, and Assistant Professor at the University of Alberta's School of Public Health, has revealed that his findings are based on more than 3,500 individuals taking part in the Medical Research Council National Survey of Health and Development (the British 1946 birth cohort), over a 40-year period.
According to him, all of the subjects were aged between 13 and 15 at the start of the study, and about a quarter of the participants had mild behavioural problems.
The researcher revealed that the participants were rated by their teachers as having severe, mild or no conduct problems.
He further revealed that the subjects were followed up between the ages of 36 and 53, when they were asked about their mental health, and social and economic status.
Colman said that the findings revealed disturbing new information about the societal impact of milder behavioural problems, showing that the participants with severe or mild conduct problems in adolescence were more likely to leave school with no qualifications.
He said that such children were also more likely to go on to suffer a number of problems throughout their adult lives, including depression and anxiety, divorce, teenage pregnancy, and financial problems.
The findings remained similar even after the researchers took into account predictors of outcomes in adulthood such as sex, father's social class, adolescent depression and anxiety and cognitive ability.
However, unlike previous studies in the field, the current study showed that most of the participants who were badly behaved at school did not have alcohol problems as they got older.
"Given the long-term costs to society, and the distressing impact on the adolescents themselves, our results might have considerable implications for public health policy," Colman and his team concluded.