Identifying the nature, causes and consequences of youth depression trajectories

Year of award: 2023


  • Dr Alex Kwong

    University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom

Project summary

Depression during adolescence and early adulthood is associated with a range of psychological, social and behavioural impairments. Worryingly, depression is rising in young people, with the reasons and repercussions not yet understood. My research will accelerate understanding of the nature, causes and consequences of depression in young people, and transform findings into knowledge that informs future intervention and prevention strategies that are person and time specific. During this award, I will use high quality datasets, causal inference methods and longitudinal models to stratify individuals into different youth depression trajectories that may each have more circumscribed characteristics, aetiologies and outcomes. I will examine what risk factors are causal for poorer depression trajectories and identify sensitive periods of youth depression that lead to poorer downstream consequences, thereby highlighting timely opportunities for future interventions and preventions. Finally, I will use intensive longitudinal data to identify potentially modifiable risk factors for depression trajectories in real-time, that could highlight novel pathways informing more personalised and timely treatments. Upon the conclusion of this award, I will have completed a series of interlinking studies that triangulate evidence to deliver improved understanding of youth depression trajectories and provide a platform to implement these findings to future treatment strategies.