Developmental psychopathology & biomarker prediction

Most mental disorders start in the time-period between adolescence and the end of the third decade of life. More representative longitudinal studies are needed to understand why people are developing mental disorders and which factors are protecting against mental disorders. In 1994, various aspects of mental health were studied in a large representative sample of adolescents living in the canton Zurich. In addition, a large clinical sample attending the Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Service of the Canton of Zurich was studied with the same approach. Besides mental well-being, the methods included the study of the social environment, positive and negative life events, coping strategies, self-esteem and drug consumption.

Twenty years later, we now perform a follow-up examination of the two samples in early adulthood to gain information about changes in mental well-being over the life - span. The children of the former subjects will be included to analyse both differences and similarities across generations. Younger children will be assessed indirectly based on parental evaluation whereas children aged 11 years or older will respond directly to questionnaires. The study will be conducted online predominantly to enhance the participation rate.

The aims of this project are the following:

1. Assessment of mental well-being including mental problems and disorders
2. Assessment of risk and protective factors for mental development
3. Trans-generational comparisons of findings based on assessments of both the former participants and their children.


The study was approved by the Ethical Committee of the Canton of Zurich. Participants will receive a report about the findings at the end of the study and the findings will be published in major international journals.