B4114 - Social determinants of mental health and cognition in adolescence - 01/08/2022

B number: 
Principal applicant name: 
Susanne Schweizer | University of New South Wales & University of Cambridge (Australia)
Karina Grunewald, Jasmin Wertz
Title of project: 
Social determinants of mental health and cognition in adolescence
Proposal summary: 

One quarter of the world’s population is affected by a mental or neurological disorder at some point in their life (WHO, 2001), and depression alone is predicted to be the leading burden of disease globally by 2030 (Malhi & Mann, 2018). These disorders typically manifest early in life, with 74% of diagnoses first occurring under the age of 18 years, and 50% before 15 years (Kim-Cohen et al., 2003). Understanding risk and protective factors underlying mental ill-health, and how these might develop over time, is crucial for the creation of effective prevention and intervention.

As children mature into adolescents, they increasingly interact with, and become more sensitive to evaluation and rejection by peers. Increased sensitivity to social rejection during this period has been associated with decreased mental health (Gao et al., 2017), while the opposite has been found for increased social support (van Harmelen et al., 2017). The environment in which these interactions occur is also changing, with adolescents spending an average of 6 hours each day online, the majority of which is spent on social media sites (Anderson & Jiang, 2018). Exploring these effects cross-sectionally, we found that increased social rejection sensitivity and decreased perceived social support were associated with increased negative mood in adolescents (11-24 years; Grunewald, Deng, Wertz & Schweizer, Under review), and now seek to further investigate these effects longitudinally.

Impact of research: 
In addition to expanding existing literature investigating the effects of risk and protective factors for young people’s mental well-being and cognition, our research will also enable a more nuanced understanding of the potential impacts of screen time usage on these outcomes.
Date proposal received: 
Thursday, 21 July, 2022
Date proposal approved: 
Monday, 1 August, 2022
Mental health - Psychology, Psychiatry, Cognition, Mental health, Statistical methods, Cognition - cognitive function, Development, Statistical methods