Educational and Occupational Trajectories of Adolescents and Youth with Disabilities

Renu Singh
Gina Crivello
Amita Tandon, Prof. Uma Vennam
Adolescence and gender
Adolescence and youth
Employment and labour market preparedness
Trajectories
Well-being and aspirations
Research Report
Research Report
Report2.81 MB

This study aims to address this gap in relation to adolescents and young people in India. The
research brought together analysis of Young Lives longitudinal study data collected since 2001,
with findings from an in-depth qualitative study conducted by Young Lives India in Andhra
Pradesh and Telangana in November-December 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic. The
study findings were discussed with a research advisory group to address policy gaps and
develop policy recommendations to enhance the quality of life of persons with disabilities.

This report draws upon panel data from five rounds of Young Lives longitudinal survey (2001-
2016) to analyse the self-assessed educational and occupational outcomes of 100 young persons
with disabilities (a Younger Cohort age 15 and an Older Cohort age 22 in 2016).3 It also draws on
a subsequent qualitative sub-study conducted with a nested sample of 34 young persons with
disabilities and their caregivers, when they were age 18 (Younger Cohort) and 25 (Older Cohort).

The study explores the facilitators and barriers that adolescents and youth with disabilities face in
their educational trajectories, and their related transitions to the labour market, marriage and
family formation. It also captures the effects of the COVID-19 lockdown on their lives and
aspirations for the future.

Supporting Married, Cohabiting and Divorced Adolescents: Insights from Comparative Research

Gender, adolescence & youth
Gender
Adolescence and youth
Trajectories
Transitions
Early marriage and FGM
Marriage and parenthood
Policy paper

This is the 2nd policy brief from the Young Marriage and Parenthood Study (YMAPS), a qualitative research study carried out between 2017 and 2020 by Young Lives and Child Frontiers in Ethiopia, India (Andhra Pradesh and Telangana states), Peru, and Zambia. It highlights findings from the study and proposes policy recommendations to ensure that young people experiencing marriage, co-habitation and parenthood feel safe and cared for in their relationships; live a dignified life despite poverty; are able to return to, or finish their education and access training; and most importantly, to ensure that their own children go to school in order to give them a better future.  Understanding, supporting and listening to this generation of adolescents who have married or cohabited and become parents in a critical step in breaking the cycle of young marraige for the next generation and achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. 

 

Young Marriage, Parenthood and Divorce

Gender, adolescence & youth
Gender
Adolescence and youth
Trajectories
Transitions
Early marriage and FGM
Marriage and parenthood
Research Report

This report presents emerging evidence from the Young Marriage and Parenthood Study (YMAPS), a comparative qualitative study of marriage, cohabitation, parenthood and divorce among marginalised adolescents and young people in Ethiopia, India (in the states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana), Peru and Zambia between 2017 and 2020.  

There is a growing body of knowledge about why adolescents girls in the Global South get married. However, there is much less information about how to support them once they are married or in a union, and how being married or cohabiting or being young parents alters their life trajectories.  

Report authors Gina Crivello and Gillian Mann, who lead YMAPS reveal the lives of adolescent girls and boys and young people who are or were married or cohabiting or are parents through the lens of 6 themes;

  • What drives young marriage and cohabitation?
  • Continuity and Change in marriage and informal unions;
  • What do young people know about contraception and pregnancy, and what it is like to be a young parent?
  • What drives the experience of unequal power dynamics between young couples?
  • What causes violence and conflict in young married and cohabiting relationships? 
  • What leads to relationship breakdown, separation and divorce, and what are the consequences for young people?  

The findings of the study suggest that a committment to the 'leave no one behind' agenda requires expanding the efforts to address child marriage to more explicity include the experiences of young people who are married or in informal unions, as well as those who are divorced and separated.  A focus on adolescent sexuality, the experiences of boys and young men, and a more accurate understanding of girl's and boy's agency and decision making in their marriage and reproductive pathways are also needed.  

We are publishing a policy brief to accompany this report which you can read here.  For more on YMAPS please read here

 

 

 

Dreaming of a Better Life: Child Marriage Through Adolescent Eyes

Adolescence and youth
Country report

Putting an end to the practice of child marriage became an international commitment under Sustainable Development Goal 5 that focuses on empowering girls and women worldwide. 

Dreaming of a Better Life: Child Marriage Through Adolescent Eyes offers fresh insights and evidence to inform these efforts, based on findings from research and intervention projects funded by Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC) to investigate different aspects of child marriage.

Spanning rural and urban settings across Bangladesh, Côte d’Ivoire, India, Mali, Niger, Pakistan, Peru, Senegal, Togo, and Zambia, the chapters address themes such as adolescent girls’ agency and roles in marital decision-making, teenage motherhood, sexual and gender-based violence against children, and lessons learned from trying to influence policies and implement programs to reduce child marriage. The short chapters, and mix of photo, visual, interview, and traditional reporting formats, are designed to appeal to policymakers in their national contexts, as well as resonate with others committed to supporting and empowering marginalised children and young people everywhere.

Exploring Well-Being among 22-Year-Old Youth in India

Poverty and inequality
Well-being and aspirations
Adolescence and youth
Working paper

Summary

Well-being is a multi-dimensional construct integrating physical, cognitive and socio-emotional dimensions of an individual. It refers to both objective measures of well-being as well as the subjective perceptions of an individual related to their circumstances. Concepts of poverty and well-being are closely intertwined. It has often been observed that economic development does not always translate into human development and well-being. Therefore, the measurement, tracking and promotion of well-being, especially the well-being of youth (aged 15-24) who constitute 19.1 per cent of India’s population, has grabbed the attention of policymakers.

This working paper presents a composite index that quantifies levels of well-being among 22-year-old young adults in India. The index is composed of 13 domains captured through 51 indicators. Applying the index to the Young Lives Older Cohort reveals that seven out of ten young adults have well-being that is below the mean. Analysis also reveals that psychosocial well-being in terms of inclusion, agency, self-esteem and stress are areas of concern, with many young adults reporting low scores for these indicators.  This validated well-being index for youth aged 22 could potentially be used as a powerful tool to influence and inform youth-based policies.

How does teenage marriage and motherhood affect the lives of young women in Ethiopia, India, Peru and Vietnam?

Kristine Briones
Catherine Porter
Adolescence and youth
Marriage and parenthood
Working paper

This working paper examines the characteristics of young women who have been married, cohabited, or given birth in their teenage years in four low - or middle -income countries; Ethiopia, India, Peru and Vietnam.  It finds that the rates of teen marriage are highest in India, but a high proportion of Peruvian girls are already cohabiting or mothers by the age of 19. The paper compares those who were married/cohabiting as teenagers with those who were not, at age 22, and finds that young women who were married/cohabiting in their teens are significantly less likely to have completed high school in all countries, and less likely to believe in equality between men and women, and score lower on measures of empowerment.  Some of these observed differences were apparent before their marriage, so it is difficult to make a causal attribution to the event of marrying, or to early life circumstances.  However, even conditional on other correlates, the probability of finishing high school is 15 - 25 per cent lower for teen-married women, and the fall in agency between ages 15 and 22 is significantly lower than for those who were not married young.  

This quantitative analysis complements qualitative findings from a companion study (Winter 2018), showing that lack of support for women who marry young exacerbates disadvantage from poverty and gender norms.  

How does teenage marriage and motherhood affect the lives of young women in Ethiopia, India, Peru and Vietnam?

Adolescence and youth
Marriage and parenthood
Working paper

This working paper examines the characteristics of young women who have been married, cohabited, or given birth in their teenage years in four low - or middle -income countries; Ethiopia, India, Peru and Vietnam.  It finds that the rates of teen marriage are highest in India, but a high proportion of Peruvian girls are already cohabiting or mothers by the age of 19. The paper compares those who were married/cohabiting as teenagers with those who were not, at age 22, and finds that young women who were married/cohabiting in their teens are significantly less likely to have completed high school in all countries, and less likely to believe in equality between men and women, and score lower on measures of empowerment.  Some of these observed differences were apparent before their marriage, so it is difficult to make a causal attribution to the event of marrying, or to early life circumstances.  However, even conditional on other correlates, the probability of finishing high school is 15 - 25 per cent lower for teen-married women, and the fall in agency between ages 15 and 22 is significantly lower than for those who were not married young.  

This quantitative analysis complements qualitative findings from a companion study (Winter 2018), showing that lack of support for women who marry young exacerbates disadvantage from poverty and gender norms.  

Tracing the consequences of child poverty - reflections from co-author Andrew Dawes on findings from 15 years of research

After several years in the making, ‘Tracing’, as we authors have come to call the volume, is published. What a journey it has been! Tracing draws on over 800 research papers, fact sheets, country reports and other outputs generated since the inception of the Young Lives study in 2001.

When asked by Jo Boyden to assist in this venture, I asked myself how on earth do we extract and synthesise Young Lives findings gathered over 16 years, to produce a concise account of the impact of poverty on children’s lives in four countries, that is at once scientifically rigorous, of interest to researchers in diverse fields, and perhaps most importantly, provides evidence that assists policy makers in their efforts to improve children’s lives?

Much of the answer lies in the deep knowledge of the project held by authors Jo Boyden and Paul Dornan who together with the Young Lives team, knew where to drill down to construct a powerful story of what matters in children’s lives both in relation to compounding disadvantage or supporting positive growth and development. 

Both the Young Lives International Advisory Board and the ‘Tracing’ Advisory Group, or TAG as we called it, challenged us to go beyond the ‘business as usual’ child poverty story and mine for nuggets that would shift the policy and intervention discourse. 

Taking this advice, we were able to demonstrate that while particular aspects of disadvantage are essential to address (e.g. under-nutrition; poor quality schooling), it is intersecting inequalities and disadvantages that are particularly powerful in undermining human development from before infancy through adolescence and youth. These include the poorest and rural children who are also members of marginalised groups (e.g. ethnic, caste or language), with less educated parents. Policies therefore need to pay particular attention to children who face these intersecting challenges.

A further example of the impact of intersecting disadvantage is evident from Latent Growth Modelling (LGM) an approach I discuss in an article here with Colin Tredoux. In Tracing, LGM traces the consequences of disadvantage in early and middle childhood and adolescence for the development of maths and language skills (vocabulary and reading comprehension). Modelling shows how children from poorer backgrounds with less educated caregivers either don't attend a preschool or attend one that is likely poor quality. That missed opportunity is associated with weaker quantitative and language skills by age five enduring through childhood.

A much-overlooked consequence of poverty is its potential impact on the psychological well-being of primary caregivers. LGM shows how the mental state of caregivers affected by poverty is related to child growth in the early years; those more negatively affected are likely to have children with stunted growth. That in turn compromises cognitive skills in both early and middle childhood. New challenges emerge in early adolescence for children who have to work to assist poor families - they have less time for schooling and studying. So a poor start compounded by other demands in later years contributes to poor skills development by adolescence. This in turn is likely to compromise education outcomes and ultimately the chance to enter further education, training and decent work. 

Patterns such as this are evident throughout the Young Lives data and are what we refer to as Developmental Cascades, a term drawn from the work of Ann Masten and Dante Cicchetti  As LGM shows, cascades occur both within and across stages of childhood development and build upon one another so that their effects accumulate to shape developmental outcomes over time.

For example, the study measured children’s height for their age at each Round. This enabled us to discover a very important nugget; evidence of both growth recovery and faltering during middle childhood. A proportion of children whose growth was stunted in early childhood showed normal growth in middle childhood, while some who had shown normal early growth, were stunted later. Thus early growth status is not necessarily fixed, indicating the potential for remedial intervention later in development. Particularly important is evidence that recovery is associated with cognitive gains in some children. 

Another example comes from the qualitative data analysed by Gina Crivello and Ginny Morrow. The TAG encouraged us to seek examples of children who were ‘bucking the trend’ of expected negative outcomes despite their disadvantages. What was it about these children and their circumstances that made the difference, and how could this information be used to provide more enabling environments for children placed at risk by poverty? Gina and Ginny’s work, discussed here, found that it was a combination of mutually reinforcing factors such as child characteristics and enabling environments in the family and beyond which together diverted children at risk into positive pathways. They also found that to maintain this positive Development Cascade, the children needed sustained support through young adulthood. 

In sum, Tracing has synthesized evidence from across the study and combined it with life course longitudinal analyses that permit examination of the cumulative influence of sources of risk, protection and opportunity from across childhood and through adolescence. This approach has allowed us to consider the implications of these findings for child-focused policy and programmes as low- and middle-income countries strive to overcome intergenerational poverty and inequality and meet the challenges of the Sustainable Development Goals. We will share Tracing’s findings with policy makers and practitioners in government and non-government settings to help inform debates on how best to secure children’s well-being, development and rights. 

Tracing the consequences of child poverty is available digitally https://bit.ly/2TUOQRY and in print https://bit.ly/2U8vjwz.  For news of Young Lives you can follow us on Twitter @yloxford, Facebook, and check our website www.younglives.org.

 

Marital and Fertility Decision-Making Report: The Lived Experiences of Adolescents and Young Married Couples in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, India

Gina Crivello
Adolescence and gender
Adolescence and youth
Early marriage and FGM
Gender
Gender, adolescence & youth
Marriage and parenthood
Reproductive health

This report presents findings from a qualitative study exploring married adolescent girls and young couples’ experiences of fertility decision-making in the context of early marital life, in two southern Indian states (Andhra Pradesh and Telanaga). The research was carried out as part of Young Lives, a longitudinal study of childhood poverty that traced the life trajectories of 3,000 children and their households located in these states, over a 15-year period. By age 18, around 30 per cent of girls in the Young Lives study had married, and 23 per cent of these married girls had also become mothers. 

Young Lives School Survey 2016-17: Value-added Analysis in India

Caine Rolleston
Adolescence and youth
Child protection
Child rights
Children's perspectives
Resources for teachers
Research Report

Student outcomes are often used as indicators of the ‘quality’ or ‘effectiveness’ of schools and teachers, and indeed as indicators of the quality of education systems more broadly. Student test scores, in combination with relevant contextual data, provide policymakers and educational researchers with a certain amount of information on what is happening in schools or classes where students are performing more or less well, at least in terms of ‘levels’ of performance. However, they are limited because non-school factors play an important role in determining levels of performance, and also because such cross-sectional data do not provide information on how much progress has been made.  Measures of school ‘value-added’ attempt to address some of the difficulties in assessing school quality based on levels of performance alone. These measures are based on student progress, and aim to isolate and measure the contribution which schools make to improving student learning outcomes. This report uses a value-added framework to examine school effectiveness in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, using data from the Young Lives 2016-17 school survey.