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Title: Longitudinal and life-course perspectives on common mental disorder and psychotropic medication use in a national birth cohort
Author: Colman, I.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2007
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Birth cohort studies offer an ideal setting to study disease across the lifespan. This thesis used data from the Medical Research Council National Survey of Health and Development, a study that has followed 5,362 individuals prospectively since their birth in 1946, and includes five assessments of mental health and four reports of treatment for mental disorder at various ages. Persistence or recurrence of symptoms of depression and anxiety in adolescence was associated with a poor long-term prognosis. A longitudinal model, that used a latent class analysis based on the five measures of mental health and was validated by considering several variables associated with mental health, identified six common patterns of experience of mental health from age 13 to 53. Differences between these six groups were traced back to birth; those who suffered from mental health difficulties were, on average, smaller at birth and reached developmental milestones later. The majority of individuals with mental disorder did not seek or receive treatment, and this did not change over several decades. There were few differences between individuals who sought treatment and those who did not, or those who were prescribed psychotropic medication and those who were not, apart from the severity and history of their symptoms. Despite this, those who did use antidepressants or anxiolytics during an episode of mental disorder had better mental health many years later. The research presented in this thesis contributes toward a life-course model of common mental disorders, and underlines the importance of taking a longitudinal perspective to better understand the aetiology, course, and outcome of mental illness and associated treatment.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available