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Socio-Economic Inequalities in Adolescent Summer Holiday Experiences, and Mental Wellbeing on Return to School: Analysis of the School Health Research Network/Health Behaviour in School-Aged Children Survey in Wales

Centre for the Development and Evaluation of Complex Interventions for Public Health Improvement (DECIPHer), School of Social Sciences, Cardiff University, Cardiff CF10 3BD, UK
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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(7), 1107; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16071107
Received: 11 March 2019 / Revised: 22 March 2019 / Accepted: 25 March 2019 / Published: 28 March 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Inequalities in Child and Adolescent Health and Well-being)
The socioeconomic inequalities found in child and adolescent mental wellbeing are increasingly acknowledged. Although interventions increasingly focus on school holidays as a critical period for intervention to reduce inequalities, no studies have modelled the role of summer holiday experiences in explaining socioeconomic inequalities in wellbeing. For this study, we analysed survey data of 103,971 adolescents from 193 secondary schools in Wales, United Kingdom, which included measures of family affluence, experiences during the summer holidays (hunger, loneliness, time with friends and physical activity) and mental wellbeing and internalising symptoms on return to school. Structural equation modelling was used to analyse the data. Although family affluence retained a direct inverse association with student mental wellbeing (r = −0.04, p < 0.001), 65.2% of its association with mental wellbeing was mediated by the experiences over the summer holidays. FAS score was not directly associated with the student’s self-reports of internalising symptoms (r = 0.00, p > 0.05). Of all summer holiday experiences, the strongest mediational pathway was observed for reports of loneliness. Although more structural solutions to poverty remain essential, school holiday interventions may have significant potential for reducing socioeconomic inequalities in mental health and wellbeing on young people’s return to school through reducing loneliness, providing nutritious food and opportunities for social interaction. View Full-Text
Keywords: school holiday; adolescents; family affluence; inequalities; mental wellbeing; mediating effect school holiday; adolescents; family affluence; inequalities; mental wellbeing; mediating effect
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Morgan, K.; Melendez-Torres, G.J.; Bond, A.; Hawkins, J.; Hewitt, G.; Murphy, S.; Moore, G. Socio-Economic Inequalities in Adolescent Summer Holiday Experiences, and Mental Wellbeing on Return to School: Analysis of the School Health Research Network/Health Behaviour in School-Aged Children Survey in Wales. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16, 1107.

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