Opportunity Youth: Insights and Opportunities for a Public Health Approach to Reengage Disconnected Teenagers and Young Adults

Tamar Mendelson, Kristin Mmari, Robert W. Blum, Richard F. Catalano, Claire D. Brindis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Approximately 1 in 9 teenagers and young adults aged 16-24 in the United States is currently disconnected from school and employment. These disconnected young people (ie, opportunity youth) are not only at high risk for long-term emotional, behavioral, and health problems, but they also represent a loss of human capital, with high social and economic costs. In this article, we offer a public health perspective on opportunity youth by describing their distribution in the population and consequences of their disconnection; proposing a conceptual model of the issue based on epidemiological principles, life course development concepts, and ecological theory; and recommending multisector strategies for preventing disconnection of young people and reengaging opportunity youth. A public health approach to the problem of opportunity youth would involve developing and investing in youth monitoring data systems that can be coordinated across multiple sectors, consolidating both the delivery and funding of services for opportunity youth, developing policies and programs that encourage engagement of young people, and fostering systematic approaches to the testing and scaling up of preventive and reengagement interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)54S-64S
JournalPublic health reports (Washington, D.C. : 1974)
Volume133
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2018

Keywords

  • conceptual model
  • disconnection
  • prevention
  • reengagement
  • youth disconnection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Opportunity Youth: Insights and Opportunities for a Public Health Approach to Reengage Disconnected Teenagers and Young Adults'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this