Most Youth With Chronic Illness Finish High School

Young adults with chronic nonasthmatic illness have worse educational and vocational outcomes

WEDNESDAY, March 9 (HealthDay News) -- Most young adults growing up with a chronic illness graduate high school and have employment, but those with chronic illnesses other than asthma have worse educational and vocational outcomes, according to a study published in the March issue of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

Gary R. Maslow, M.D., from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and colleagues examined the educational and vocational milestones of 13,236 young adults, aged 18 to 28 years, who participated in the wave III of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health in 2001. Outcomes, including high school graduation, being employed, living with a parent or guardian, and ever having received public assistance, were evaluated in participants with asthma or nonasthmatic chronic illness (diabetes mellitus, cancer, or epilepsy) and healthy controls.

The investigators found that a total of 16 percent of the young adults had asthma and 3 percent had nonasthmatic chronic illness. Of those with chronic illness, 81.3 percent graduated high school and 60.4 percent were currently employed. Young adults with nonasthmatic chronic illness were less likely to graduate high school and have employment (past or current), and were more likely to receive public assistance compared to healthy young adults and those with chronic asthma.

"Most young adults with chronic illness graduate high school, are employed, and do not receive governmental financial assistance. However, the results of this study confirm the increased risk of poor educational, vocational, and financial outcomes in young adults with chronic illness," the authors write.

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