Psychological Distress in Parents and School-Functioning of Adolescents: Results from the World Trade Center Registry

J Urban Health. 2017 Oct;94(5):597-605. doi: 10.1007/s11524-017-0143-4.


Poor school-functioning can be indicative of parent and adolescent mental health and adolescent behavior problems. This study examined 472 adolescents enrolled in the World Trade Center (WTC) Health Registry, with a two-step path analysis, using regression-based models, to unravel the relationships between parent and adolescent mental health, adolescent behavior problems, and adolescent unmet healthcare need (UHCN) on the outcome school-functioning. WTC exposure was associated with UHCN and parental mental health was a significant mediator. There was no evidence that family WTC exposure was associated with UHCN independent of its effect on parental mental health. For the second path, after accounting for the effects of adolescent mental health, behavioral problems, and UHCN, there remained a significant association between parental mental health and school-functioning. Interventions for poor school-functioning should have multiple components which address UHCN, mental health, and behavioral problems, as efforts to address any of these alone may not be sufficient.

Keywords: Adolescents; School-functioning; Unmet healthcare need; World Trade Center.

MeSH terms

  • Academic Success
  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior*
  • Adolescent Health*
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Health / statistics & numerical data*
  • Middle Aged
  • New York City
  • Parents / psychology*
  • Regression Analysis
  • September 11 Terrorist Attacks / psychology*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Stress, Psychological / epidemiology*