Trajectories of depression to middle adulthood in a 40 year birth cohort

Support this project
Status: In-progress
Year: 2019
Funded: $98,765
Grant Type: Major Project Grant
Mental Health

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.

Researcher // Dr Janet Spittlehouse – University of Otago

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

What Is Depression?

Depression (major depressive disorder) is a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act. Fortunately, it is also treatable. Depression causes feelings of sadness and/or a loss of interest in activities once enjoyed. It can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems and can decrease a person’s ability to function at work and at home.

0 %
Of New Zealand adults have been diagnosed with depression at some time in their lives.
0 %
Depression rates are significantly higher amongst women than men.
0 %
Of women aged between 35-44 years have suffered depression.
0 %
Anxiety and depressive disorders are the second leading cause of health loss for New Zealanders.

Stay in touch with CMRF

// Get all the latest news and insights to your inbox