Health of Young Adults Experiencing Social Marginalization and Vulnerability: A Cross-National Longitudinal Study

Jessica A. Heerde, Gabriel J. Merrin, Vi T. Le, John W. Toumbourou, Jennifer A. Bailey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


People who experience social marginalization and vulnerability have uniquely complex health needs and are at risk of poor health outcomes. Regression analyses using longitudinal data from a cross-national, population-based sample of young adults participating in the International Youth Development Study, tested associations between social marginalization and vulnerabilities and physical health, mental health, and substance use outcomes. Participants from Victoria, Australia, and Washington State in the US were surveyed at ages 25 (2014) and 29 years (2018; N = 1944; 46.7% male). A history of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), LGBT identity, financial insecurity, and justice system involvement at age 25 predicted poor health outcomes at age 28, including lower perceived health status, risk for chronic illness, depression and anxiety symptoms, and diagnosed mental health/substance use disorders. Tests of model equivalence across states showed that a history of ACEs was more strongly related to health status and serious injury at age 28 and justice system involvement at age 25 was more strongly related to age 28 serious injury in Victoria than in Washington State. Findings strengthen the case for future population-based research identifying life-course interventions and state policies for reducing poor health and improving health equity among members of socially marginalized groups.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1711
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 2023


  • LGBT
  • adverse childhood experiences
  • financial insecurity
  • homelessness
  • justice system involvement
  • longitudinal
  • marginalization
  • mental health
  • physical health
  • substance use
  • young adults

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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