New York, May 20 (IANS) Certain life experiences can worsen the negative effects of dropping out of school but proper guidance and treatment can improve the odds for such people, a study has found.

Most dropouts face multiple hardships as adults and were 24 times more likely than high-school graduates to experience four or more negative outcomes by age 27.

The risk for negative life outcomes such as getting arrested, need government assistance, being fired or having poor health declined if they received treatment for behavioural, emotional or drug problems by age 24.

"It suggests that treatment can serve as a turning point," said lead researcher Jennifer E Lansford from Duke University in the US.

"It could make it more likely for you to hold a job or not be in jail and it's evidence that these treatments can work," Lansford added.

The study, published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, analysed 585 children from age five to 27.

It looked at factors that elevated children's risk of dropping out, how high school dropouts fared later in life and what factors prevented negative outcomes.

The results revealed that by age 24, 14 percent of participants had dropped out and these dropouts were three times more likely to have been arrested by age 18 and four times more likely to need government assistance by age 27.

They were twice as likely to be fired from a job, two or more times likely to have used drugs in the past six months and also reported poor health by age 27.

Dropouts suffered more problems in later life if they were rejected by classmates in elementary school or became parents themselves at a young age.

Improving peer relationships in elementary schools and reducing teenage pregnancies are, thus, worthy investments and may even help reduce the drop-out rate, the authors suggested.