Utilizing a natural experiment to investigate the effect of educational failure on mental health

This project was co-financed by ODISSEI in the 2019 MAG call for proposals.
Researcher: Perline Demange, MSc (VU Amsterdam)

Educational failure, such as grade retention, drop-down or drop-out, has been associated with poor mental health in children and adults. This association could be due to a causal effect of educational failure, but it is also likely to result, at least in part, from the presence of confounding factors affecting both education and health, such as for example parental socioeconomic status. In this project, the researchers take advantage of the shared genes and familial environment between siblings to test the association between educational failure and mental health, controlled for observed and unobserved confounders.

As a follow-up study, they plan to investigate potential modifiable factors increasing the risk of educational failure. First, they will investigate the effect of misassignment of pupils to a secondary education track, that is, too low or too high according to the CITO score and teacher advice on school track. Second, they will investigate the effect of primary and secondary school socioeconomic status on educational failure, while accounting for the non-random placement of students in schools.

To address these research questions, the researchers will use various datasets from CBS microdata on health care, education and socio-economic status. These data will be combined with genetic data from the Netherlands Twin Registry (NTR).

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