uoc.gr.2Department of Psychiatry, University Hospital of Heraklion, Voutes, Heraklion, Crete Zip Code 71110, Greece.3Department of Psychology, University of Crete, Rethymno, Greece.4Department of Political Science, University of Crete, Rethymno, Greece.5GPO Research & Communication, Athens, Greece.AbstractBACKGROUND:

Prior studies have shown that young people « not in education, employment or training » (« NEET ») are at higher risk for psychopathology and substance abuse. Similar studies are lacking in Southern European populations. We aimed to examine the associations of anxiety and depressive symptoms, and substance use with NEET status in a large, randomized population-based sample in Greece.

METHODS:

A telephone structured questionnaire was conducted in a representative sample of 2771 young Greeks aged 15-24 years. Anxiety and depressive symptoms were assessed with GAD-7 and PHQ-9 scales, respectively. Substances use and several sociodemographic parameters were also examined.

RESULTS:

In our sample 16.4% were NEETs. In multivariate analyses, NEETs compared to non-NEETs were older, with lower family income, without insurance and more likely to be married and smoke. Furthermore, NEET status was associated with a higher GAD-7 score among older NEETs and long-term NEETs (NEETs unemployed for more than a year). Moreover, being NEET among older participants was associated with severe symptoms of anxiety and moderate/severe symptoms of depression.

LIMITATIONS:

This was a telephone survey and a clinical evaluation of the patients was not performed. Furthermore, the structured interview was not designed to detect the level of substance use or the reasons for being NEET.

CONCLUSIONS:

NEET status is frequent among young Greeks. Older, and long-term NEETs appear to be at higher risk for presenting anxiety/depression symptoms. Whether NEET status is associated with adverse outcomes later in life requires longitudinal studies.

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