A mixed-methods and participatory research approach to examine health and health-related behaviors during the transition from vocational secondary education into employment.

Project Details


A better comprehensive understanding of critical periods in life, during which people are at higher risk for unfavorable changes in health and health-related behaviors, may facilitate the development of more effective health-oriented intervention programs. Although the transition from secondary to higher education has been associated with, for example, body weight gain, decreased physical activity and mental difficulties, evidence on emerging adults making the immediate transition from vocational secondary education into the labor market is very scarce. Using a mixed-methods approach, the present project aims to provide insight in these lower educated young adults’ health-related lifestyle and consequently might help to reduce social inequalities in health. An observational follow-up study will be used to investigate changes in the target population’s physical and mental health as well as in associated health-related behaviors. In addition, a qualitative study using focus group discussions will be used to identify determinants of changes in health-related behaviors and to share ideas concerning the possible development of effective and feasible intervention strategies. Using principles of participatory research will be the generic approach taken during the present project. Fundamental research into this topic, with an increased attention for this vulnerable population, is absolutely necessary in pursuit of greater equality in health with a view to the next generation (s).
Effective start/end date1/11/2031/10/22


  • Lower educated emerging adults transitioning to work life
  • physical and mental health outcomes and health-related behaviors
  • determinants of changes over time

Flemish discipline codes

  • Behavioural sciences
  • Health promotion and policy
  • Public health sciences not elsewhere classified
  • Other health sciences not elsewhere classified
  • Human movement and sports sciences not elsewhere classified