Young people 'bearing mental scars of recession', says report author

New analysis of the Growing Up In Ireland study has revealed stark findings about the impact of the recession on young people.

The research, which collected data from around 20,000 children and families between 2008 and 2011, has found teenagers have been left with long-term scars from the economic downturn.

The data, due to be released in full by the ESRI today, stated that the recession "soured relationships between couples as well as creating harsher and less warm parenting".

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"These poor relationships were hugely damaging to child mental health, increasing levels of child anxiety and emotional problems as well as contributing to poor behaviour and conduct both at home and in the classroom," the report also states.

Professor Richard Layte, who helped to carry out the research, said there is direct evidence of mental health issues amongst teenagers as a result of the economic crash.

He said that young people living in families under financial strain are more likely to have behaviour issues in school and suffer poor academic results.

"We see measured effects of the recession on the parents, then on to the children, and then on to the children's' ability to perform in school," he said.

"And that may have long-term effects for those children in terms of their educational attainments. So these children, [who] have now just done their Leaving Certs - the majority of them will be going into higher education.

"But we see that they may well be bearing the scars of the recession."

He added: "Parenting styles change significantly - you see harsher parenting, you see less warmth being expressed towards children, probably few less hugs.

"Parents are finding it difficult to actually reach out to their children.

"This is true of parents who are both, say, educated and in professional occupations (who are) put under economic strain, they were just as likely - there was no difference between them and parents who are, say, less educated in terms of the effects of economic strain."


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