B3463 - Understanding the life course trajectories of adolescents who report psychotic and affective symptoms - 05/02/2020

B number: 
Principal applicant name: 
Stephen Puntis | University of Oxford (England)
Professor Belinda Lennox
Title of project: 
Understanding the life course trajectories of adolescents who report psychotic and affective symptoms
Proposal summary: 

Mental illness most frequently emerges during adolescence and early adulthood in both psychotic and affective mental illnesses. This developmental period of the life course is one with a vast amount of biological, social and psychological change, during which young people move from early school education to further education and employment. The onset of mental illness during this important period can interrupt this development (Yung et al, 2012).

There is a large body of evidence investigating the relationship between mental ill health and educational achievement and work-related disability (Marwaha et al, 2007; Hale et al., 2015). Most studies investigating this relationship focus on either cross-sectional comparisons, or test longitudinal repeated measures data against end-point relationships (e.g. a binary in work or not in work endpoint). Few explore the heterogeneity of these trajectories over time.

In this study, we aim to measure how differences in education and employment in people with and without psychotic experiences and depressive symptoms emerge over time. To do this, we will use sequence analysis, which is a statistical technique used to identify common patterns in sequences or states over time, aiding in the identification of common life course trajectories. Distinguishing typical and atypical education and employment trajectories over time could give us insight into how this developmental period differs in those with and without psychotic and depressive symptoms. It could also identify where, and at what point in time, interventions could be delivered to reduce these differences.

Impact of research: 
There are two primary focuses for mental illness - prevention and treatment. This study will contribute to both. A better understanding of the early lifecourse education and employment trajectories of people who experience poor mental health will allow us to both better understand where and 'when' these differences are, and to target specific ages where the differences in education and employment start to emerge.
Date proposal received: 
Wednesday, 5 February, 2020
Date proposal approved: 
Wednesday, 5 February, 2020
Mental health - Psychology, Psychiatry, Cognition, Mental health, Statistical methods, Mental health