NEET status among young Greeks: Association with mental health and substance use

Maria Basta, Stamatis Karakonstantis, Katerina Koutra, Vassilis Dafermos, Antonis Papargiris, Maria Drakaki, Stelios Tzagkarakis, Alexandros Vgontzas, Panagiotis Simos, Nikos Papadakis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Background: 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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)210-217
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
StatePublished - Jun 15 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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