Social change, transitions and youth mental health
We know that, in developed countries, mental health problems among young people, including anxiety, depression, self-harm, and suicide, are rising, especially among adolescents. However, we do not know why. Speculation has implicated widespread social changes (eg in social media, family forms, education and work) that have transformed the social niches of childhood, adolescence and early adulthood.
We will investigate the complex interrelationships between these changed niches, associated vulnerabilities and resiliencies, and trajectories of mental health development, focusing on how short-term fluctuations in mental health crystallise into long-term problems.
This will allow us to examine the extent to which recent social transformations explain increased rates of youth mental health problems, and through what mechanisms. Initially, we will focus on trajectories in multiply disadvantaged groups and during critical developmental periods, when vulnerability to mental health problems is most pronounced.