One in four children with "lower" school grades grew up without a structured daily routine, according to new research.
A lack of regular bedtimes and set meals can be detrimental to a child's welfare, the report also revealed. Conducted by The Prince's Trust, the study surveyed more than 2,000 people aged between 16 and 25 and found one in 10 believed their days lacked structure and direction while growing up, rising to one in four of those with lower school grades.
More than one in four of those questioned by youth charity said they did not have a set time of going to bed when they were growing. This increased to 39% among those who left school with fewer than five A* to C grades at GCSE.
Martina Milburn, chief executive of The Prince's Trust, said: "The absence of structure and routine in a young life can have a devastating impact. Without the right support, directionless teenagers can become lost young adults - unconfident, under-qualified and unemployed."
The report also found almost a third of young people felt depressed, with one in five saying they felt "rejected". A similar number believed they did not receive the support they needed at school.
"[The survey] paints a picture of the nation's youth and highlights where we need to focus our support and energy. Without the right support, directionless teenagers can become lost young adults - unconfident, under-qualified and unemployed. This is why The Prince's Trust works hard to provide young people with support when it is lacking."
The trust said it aimed to help 50,000 disadvantaged young people this year across the UK.