Is parent education protective of mental wellbeing in Pacific young people? A cohort study of mental health and census data in Aotearoa/New Zealand’s integrated data infrastructure. Parents' education and mental wellbeing in Pacific young people in New Zealand’s integrated data infrastructure.

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Jesse Kokaua
Seini Jensen
Reremoana Theodore
Nicholas Bowden
Russell Blakelock
Debra Sorensen
Wilmason Jensen
Rosalina Richards


Ethnicity, Mental Health, Parental education, Population data


Aim: The aims of this paper are to quantify the impact of parental education on the five-year incidence of mental health conditions (MHC) in Pacific young people and to investigate the influence of other factors.

Method: The analyses in this paper used data extracted from Aotearoa/New Zealand’s Integrated Data Infrastructure (IDI). Data relating to 383,595 young people (48,768 Pacific), identified in the 2013 Census, aged 12-24 years, and their parents’ were used. Logistic regression models were used to investigate the incidence of children with MHC from 2013-2018.

Results: Mental health conditions were identified in one of five Pacific young people. Irrespective of ethincity, increased parental education was associated with decreased MHC. However, the association was only significant for those in specialist mental health care (OR=0. 897, 95%CI:0.881-0.913) but not for those seen in other health settings (OR=0. 989, 95%CI:0.974-1.004). The association, for specialist settings, was not mediated by the contribution of other factors (OR=0.941, 95%CI:0.926-0.958). However, increased parents education with the addition of social, cultural and economic advantages the number of Pacific children seen in the specialist mental health setting could be nearly halved.

Conclusion: The findings show that a parental educational advantage exists for children who access specialist mental health care. However, there are more complex but far greater opportunities for the health of Pacific families if a coordinated education, housing, employment and health solution were possible. The gains from a multi-disciplinary Pacific solution exist in terms of reduced severity for and level of care to Pacific children with MHC.

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