Sarah Whittle - The role of biology in the link between disadvantage, childhood adversity, and mental health outcomes

Melbourne Institute Seminar Series

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Title: The role of biology in the link between disadvantage, childhood adversity, and mental health outcomes

Abstract: Disadvantage or adversity during childhood is widely accepted to negatively impact upon a range of outcomes in adolescence and adulthood, across sociocultural, biological and health domains, and ramifications can extend across generations. Costs to society, community and the individual are high. Nevertheless, the mechanisms underlying relationships between adversity and outcomes remain to be fully explicated, particularly in relation to targets for prevention and intervention to improve outcomes. There are a number of extant fields of research, including economic, psychosocial and biological disciplines that have contributed to increased knowledge. However, we contend that the complex interactions between environment and biology that shape development, behaviour and health outcomes are essential to understand, and necessitate multidisciplinary research. In this talk we will present findings from longitudinal studies of Australian children conducted over the past 15 years, exploring relationships between disadvantage, biology, mental health and functional outcomes. We present this work as an entrée to the open discussion of the measurement of childhood disadvantage and the role of biology, to facilitate multi-disciplinary research across economics and psychology/psychiatry.

Presenter: Sarah Whittle,The University of Melbourne

The program coordinator of this seminar is Jiao Wang. If you would like to subscribe to the Melbourne Institute Seminar Series email list, please contact Jiao.