Trajectories of depression to middle adulthood in a 40 year birth cohortSupport this project
Depression is the most common mental disorder and is the leading cause of disability worldwide. In New Zealand over 20% of adults will receive a diagnosis of major depression during their lifetime. Although depression has been widely researched, gaps in the knowledge remain. In particular, little is known about the trajectories of depression from adolescence (when depression can often first occur) into middle adulthood.
Furthermore, little is known about the relationships between depression trajectories and the long-term outcomes associated with depression, such as its effect on relationships, socio-economics, physical health, resilience and life satisfaction. This study aims to use data from a 40 year old birth cohort to examine the trajectories of depressive symptoms over a period of 25 years from age 15 to age 40, to identify childhood predictors of depression including socio-economic, family, individual and genetic factors, to assess psycho-social outcomes of depression at age 40, and to describe lifetime mental health treatment pathways for those with depression.
The proposed study will inform current efforts to improve service delivery for those New Zealanders experiencing depression, consistent with the research recommendations of the recent New Zealand Government Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction.
Dr Spittlehouse is a postdoctoral research fellow and is investigating the health and wellbeing of the lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) members of the Christchurch Health and Development Study cohort. She is also studying the fluidity of sexuality and the precursors to poorer mental health seen in some of the LGB members of the cohort. Janet has previously studied hoarding, personality and mood disorders.More About Dr Janet Spittlehouse