The aim of this project is to examine the role of pollution on adolescent mental health.
This research is important because we don’t fully understand how pollution exposure affects psychological development, nor how its effects and environmental degradation more broadly affect young people emotionally. This is extremely topical as there has been a recent surge in people’s engagement with environmental issues and interest in mental health, so any links between the two are important to make the case for change.
This involves a twofold approach; an epidemiological quantitative exposure analysis of air pollution on mental health outcomes (clinical and as a spectrum of symptoms) and a qualitative interview study on young people’s thoughts and feelings about the environment. The data for the first approach comes from the SCAMP cohort study (www.scampstudy.org ), and this is the research group I am operating within. The interview cohort came from a variety of social and professional networks.
I recruited a young people’s advisory group (YPAG) during my first year who have been involved in generating ideas, designing specific forms and procedures, and thematically analysing scripts. When results are out as academic papers, I plan to ask them for their help in disseminating the findings to other young people. I also plan to create press and policy briefings for release.