Psychosocial determinants of adolescent health behaviour

There are numerous segments of the Canadian population who experience a disproportionate burden of ill health. A key issue in addressing this disparity is the early identification of those groups of people who are vulnerable to poor health outcomes over the course of their lifespan. Identification of these groups, and the factors leading to this vulnerability, is a priority for researchers. One area of interest is in identifying the early childhood determinants of health behaviours, such as a child’s health, stress in the family, economic conditions or neighbourhood safety. Dr. Stefania Maggi studies the extent to which early influences can predict which children will follow trajectories of health vulnerability throughout the lifespan. Her research uses a combination of administrative databases, national surveys, and longitudinal data collection to follow up on the same individuals over a number of years, spanning developmental phases from early childhood to adolescence and young adulthood. By identifying what factors in childhood increase the likelihood of unhealthy behaviours and/or poor educational outcomes during adolescence her research will inform early prevention efforts aimed at the social determinants of health.