Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Psychiatric disorders among children whose parents have never worked

In scanning the report I referred to below, prompted by a post at The Welfare State We Are In, I found this statement;

Furthermore, the prevalence of psychiatric disorders among children aged 5 - 15 in families whose parents have never worked is almost double that of children whose parents are in low skilled jobs.

As it wasn't referenced the claim took some finding. It comes from an Office of National Statics (UK) report about the health of children over the period 1990 to 2001.

I am now prompted to speculate about how much this finding (which I have no reason to doubt wouldn't be replicated in NZ) might figure in the significant growth of invalid and sickness benefits for psychiatric and psychological conditions. Oh, the useful research that could be conducted.

In respect of Professor Gregg's report, the finding is used to build the case for getting sole parents into work. That the parent's unemployment is bad for the child.

I am less sure. The conditions may be hereditary. If the parent(s) also suffers from them, that may be why they have never worked and possibly will never work on a permanent basis. I see the finding as an argument for not financially incentivising people to have children in the first place (the current weekly payment to a lone parent is 210.47 UK pounds). Encouraging people to have children and then trying to get them into work is arse about face.

When will the people who are in a position to make or genuinely influence the rules start to acknowledge these realities?

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