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Aust N Z J Psychiatry. 2001 Jun;35(3):287-96.

The Christchurch Health and Development Study: review of findings on child and adolescent mental health.

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Christchurch Health and Development Study, Christchurch School of Medicine, New Zealand.



This paper provides an overview of the Christchurch Health and Development Study (CHDS) and a summary of findings relating to child and adolescent mental health.


The CHDS is a longitudinal study of a birth cohort of 1265 children born in the Christchurch (New Zealand) urban region during mid 1977. This cohort has now been studied from birth to age 21.


The paper examines the ways in which the study has been able to examine a wide range of issues. Key issues examined include: (i) measurement of disorder (respondent effects; dimensionality; scales vs categories); (ii) prevalence and treatment of disorder; (iii) stability and continuity of disorders; (iv) the contribution of risk and aetiological factors (e.g. lead exposure, parental divorce, child abuse, family adversity, sexual orientation) to psychosocial adjustment; and (v) the psychosocial consequences of mental health problems in adolescence.


The study findings illustrate the many advantages of a longitudinal study, such as the CHDS, in providing methodologically sound, theoretically relevant and cost effective research that caters for the interests of multiple end-users including the scientific community, clinicians and applied policy makers.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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