|January 10, 2012||
Adolescents and Young Adults with Diabetes Are More Likely to Drop Out of High School and Face Worse Job Prospects and Lower Wages Than Their Peers without Diabetes, Says Yale Study
People with diabetes can expect to lose more than $160,000 in wages over their working life
Bethesda, MD -- Having diabetes can carry many health consequences, but a new study in the January issue of Health Affairs shows that it also highly influences a young person's ability to complete high school, be employed, and earn a living wage. High school dropout rates among young people with diabetes are six percentage points higher than for young people without the disease. What's more, young adults with diabetes can expect to earn $160,000 less in wages over their working lives compared to peers without diabetes.
"Diabetes has a marked effect on schooling and earnings early in life, yet these are relatively unexamined implications of this disease," says the study's lead author, Jason M. Fletcher, an associate professor of public health at Yale University. (Fletcher conducted the study as a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health and Society Scholar at Columbia University.) He and coauthor Michael R. Richards, a physician researcher also at Yale, based their findings on the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, a national school-based study of teen health behaviors and their effects into young adulthood. Because the survey followed 15,000 teenagers well into their adulthood, it offers a unique window into the potential economic burden of disease over time.
The study shows that the nonmedical consequences of diabetes can manifest themselves early in life, with societal and economic implications as follows:
Fletcher and Richards offer several reasons for these outcomes. Having diabetes could alter a person's desire for and success in investing in a career or could dilute an employer's willingness to invest in an employee because of concerns about work absences or low productivity. In addition, people with diabetes may be affected by "job lock," which leads them to stay in lower-paying jobs for fear of losing health insurance or becoming subject to preexisting condition restrictions if they transition to other jobs.
In a surprising link, the researchers found that having a parent with diabetes also influences education and earnings. For example, having a parent with diabetes reduces the chance that a young adult with diabetes will attend college by four to six percentage points.
The authors recommend that
The January issue of Health Affairs was produced with support from UnitedHealth Foundation, Novo Nordisk, and the New York State Health Foundation.
|About Health Affairs|
Health Affairs is the leading journal at the intersection of health, health care, and policy. Published by Project HOPE, the peer-reviewed journal appears each month in print, with additional Web First papers published periodically and health policy briefs published twice monthly at www.healthaffairs.org. Read daily perspectives on Health Affairs Blog. Download weekly Narrative Matters podcasts on iTunes.