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Be(ing) prepared: Guide and Scout participation, childhood social position and mental health at age 50—a prospective birth cohort study

Mental health is a major concern in many countries. We explore whether youth participation in the Scouts and Guides could protect mental health in later life and in particular whether it might reduce inequalities in mental health associated with early life socioeconomic position.

Conclusions
Participation in Guides or Scouts was associated with better mental health and narrower mental health inequalities, at age 50. This suggests that youth programmes that support resilience and social mobility through developing the potential for continued progressive self-education, ‘soft’ non-cognitive skills, selfreliance, collaboration and activities in natural environments may be protective of mental health in adulthood.