Child Health and Development
Within the field of mental health we research subjects such as the development and range of symptoms relating to the most common conditions (anxiety, depression, behavioural problems, eating disorders), amongst other things. Mental health is also about issues associated with positive mental health, quality of life and coping. Other topics include personality development, language, alcohol use, sleep, and obesity and weight loss behaviour.
The department's research takes a developmental and life course approach, focusing on how young people and their environment mutually influence each other over time. We therefore conduct research on the significance of the environment that children and young people grow up in. The family is the single most important factor in the early years, and issues such as the parents' physical and mental health along with interaction, parenting style and family conflicts are of great significance. We also conduct research into issues surrounding kindergarten, school and friendships. We also carry out research on families with migrant backgrounds and on ethnic diversion. The impact of genetics and issues relating to pregnancy and birth are incorporated into many of the department's research projects.
The department is currently involved in a number of research projects looking at various risk and protective factors in child and adolescent mental health and at their current mental health and how it develops over time. We carry out studies into personality, quality of life and well-being, depression and anxiety, language development, obesity and eating disorders, sleep problems and use of medication, as well as behavioural problems and substance use.
The department focuses especially on environmental factors that affect children and young people's development. We look at environmental conditioning in the womb, the impact of the parents' mental health and medication use, family interaction and conflict, the learning environment in kindergarten and school, social support and friendships, bullying and exclusion, and the significance of refugee experiences and growing up in a multicultural society.
The department's research and health analyses are based on the NIPH's vast data collection (epidemiological cohort studies and health registries) and on more or less targeted studies involving specific groups or limited topics. Our researchers hold specialist expertise on complex statistical methodologies such as longitudinal analysis, structural equation modelling and family design.
Health analytics and advice
The department is responsible for monitoring child and adolescent health and well-being and has co-ordinating responsibility for research and health analytics regarding quality of life and positive psychology. The department is charged with obtaining knowledge about the prevalence of mental health issues and disorders in children and young people and about risk and protective factors relating to the development of mental and physical health through childhood and adolescence.
The department's research and health analyses are disseminated through scientific articles in national and international publications, through popular science articles on the NIPH website and in the media. We also publish reports on a range of issues at the request of government ministries and directorates.
About the department
The Department of Child Development currently employs 22 people. Of these, 11 are researchers in either permanent or temporary positions, five are postdoctoral research fellows and three are PhD research fellows. The department has a department co-ordinator, a project co-ordinator and a research assistant.