Education and Work

Our Education and Work Special Interest Group is able to investigate areas of human educational achievement and work. The group has a range of measures on our participants relating to primary and secondary school achievement, post-secondary education, occupation, work perceptions, work productivity and economics across different ages and generations within the Raine Study.

SIG leaders

Paul Koshy, Curtin University

Lynette Vernon, Murdoch University

Patrick Dunlop, Curtin University

Some key findings over the last 30 years have included:

Using information collected from the Raine Study participants, researchers found that boys present higher levels of challenging behavior when their father’s have long working hours. Children with stay at home mums in early childhood have better diet in adolescence, and preschool aged children are less likely to be overweight when mothers worked less hours per week.  Researchers also showed that predominant breastfeeding for six months or longer and a good quality diet in the early years may have a positive effect on academic achievement. Experiencing spinal pain in adolescence or the combination of spinal pain and mental ill-health were associated with missing days of work amongst young adults.

There is a link between parental work hours and child behaviour: boys suffer from their father’s long working hours

  • Johnson S, Li J, Kendall G, Strazdins L, Jacoby P. Mothers’ and Fathers’ Work Hours, Child Gender and Behavior in Middle Childhood. Journal of Marriage and Family. 2013;75:56-74.

Children with stay at home mums in early to middle childhood have a better diet in adolescence.

  • Li J, O’Sullivan T, Johnson J, Stanley F, Oddy W. Maternal work hours in early to middle childhood link to later adolescent diet quality. Public Health Nutrition. 2012;15(10):1861-70.

Among preschoolers children were less likely to be overweight or obese when mothers worked less hours per week. For older children (ages 8 to 14), working shorter or longer hours were both associated with increases in child overweight and obesity.

  • Li J, Akaliyski P, Schäfer J, Kendall G, Oddy WH, Stanley F, Strazdins L. Non-linear relationship between maternal work hours and child body weight: Evidence from the Western Australian Pregnancy Cohort (Raine) Study. Social Science and Medicine. 2017;186:52-60.

 Predominant breastfeeding for six months or longer and a good quality diet in the early years may have a positive effect on academic achievement.

  • Nyaradi A, Li JH, Foster JK, Hickling S, Jacques A, O’Sullivan TA, Oddy WH. Good-quality diet in the early years may have a positive effect on academic achievement. Acta Paediatrica 2016;105(5):e209-18.
  • Oddy WH, Li J, Whitehouse AJ, Zubrick SR, Malacova E. Breastfeeding duration and academic achievement at 10 years. Pediatrics. 2011;127(1):e137-45
  • Nyaradi, A.; Li, J.; Hickling, S.; Foster, J. K.; Jacques, A.; Ambrosini, G. L.; Oddy, W. H. A western dietary pattern is associated with poor academic performance in Australian adolescents. Nutrients. 2015;7(4):2961-82

In adolescents, involvement in peer aggression was associated with non-completion of secondary school, which in turn was associated with an increased risk of poor educational and employment outcomes in early adulthood.

  • Moore SE, Scott JG, Thomas HJ, Sly PD. Whitehouse AJ; Zubrick  S. R.; Norman, R. E. Impact of adolescent peer aggression on later educational and employment outcomes in an Australian cohort. Journal of adolescence. 2015;43:39-49

Young adults who experience spinal-pain in adolescence were three times more likely to miss work, compared to those who did not.

  • Coenen P, Smith A,Kent P,Harris M,Linton SJ,Pransky G,Beales D,O’Sullivan P,Straker L. The association of adolescent spinal-pain-related absenteeism with early adulthood work absenteeism: A six-year follow-up data from a population-based cohort. Scandinavian Journal ofWork Environment and Health. 2018;44(5):521-29.

Comorbidity (ie two conditions occurring at once) of spinal pain and mental ill-health is associated with increased absence from work at 22 years of age, but not reduced productivity while at work.  

  • Beales D, Kyaw-Myint S, Smith A, O’Sullivan P, Pransky G, Linton S, et al. Work Productivity Loss in Young Workers Is Substantial and Is Associated With Spinal Pain and Mental Ill-health Conditions. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. 2017;59(3):237-45.

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