Adolescent Health and Wellbeing

Young People’s Mental Health (opens in a new window)

In Australia, mental illness is the largest single cause of disability, with as many as one in 5 people aged 16 to 85 years experiencing a mental illness in any one year. While mental illness across the life-course requires attention, much of the mental illness experienced in adult life has its onset in childhood or adolescence.

Screen-time, wellbeing and sleep: drivers of health behaviours associated with obesity in adolescents?

  • Investigators: Prof Andrew Page (WSU THRI), Dr Louise Freebairn (ACT Health/Sax Institute), Prof Louise Baur (USyd), A/Prof Jo-An Atkinson (Sax Institute), Prof Nathaniel Osgood (University of Saskatchewan), Dr Elizabeth Conroy (WSU THRI)
  • HDR students: Hir Jani

The prevalence of childhood overweight and obesity has risen substantially over the past three decades, and has emerged as a global health priority. While broader socio-cultural factors associated with obesogenic environments are important distal determinants, understanding the more proximate factors that may modify or facilitate health behaviours (such as mental wellbeing, sleep patterns and scree-time) will provide insights to inform interventions for behavioural change and health promotion among adolescent populations. This is important as health behaviours during adolescence are likely associated with subsequent behaviours and health outcomes as adolescents’ transition to adulthood. This pilot study will employ a prospective cohort study design and involve a convenience sample of 300 young people from the general population aged 12-19 years recruited from Western Sydney and Canberra populations. A combination of phone sensor data and ecological momentary assessments (EMAs) of health and wellbeing will be collected over a three month period via the mobile app ETHICA. This pilot study will result in the development of a detailed analytic approach and computational algorithms that combines multiple measures collected geospatially in real-time to develop trajectories of dietary and physical activity and wellbeing measures to inform a wider cohort study of adolescents.

Research outputs:
Munasinghe et al (under review), The impact of physical distancing policies during the COVID-19 pandemic on health and wellbeing among Australian Adolescents, Journal of Adolescent Health.