This proposal requests support to establish a research training program on the psychosocial determinants of mental health and adjustment in the early life course, including childhood, adolescence, and the transition to adulthood. This interdisciplinary program emphasizes (a) life course perspective, stressing the changing social contexts of development and the connections between them; (b) the early life trajectories of mental health and behavioral adaptation and transitions between life stages; (c) longitudinal assessment and application of dynamic modelling techniques to the determinants of variation in these trajectories; and (d) special populations and social policy. The training experience consists of a series of core seminars, extending throughout the training period, other formal coursework, and a research apprenticeship. Six University of Minnesota investigators, representing Sociology (College of Liberal Arts), the Child Development Institute (College of Education), and the Program in Health Services Research, Policy and Administration (School of Public Health), constitute the core faculty. With full access to the facilities of those units, four predoctoral and four postdoctoral trainees will be involved in longitudinal studies focused on the following topics: community context and children's mental health; a preschool enrichment demonstration research project; changes in parent-child relations during the transition from childhood to adolescence; family conflict resolution and violence and the development of antisocial behavior; adolescent work experience and mental health; and the effects of the transition to adulthood (including educational, occupational, and family markers) on mental health and adjustment in early adulthood. The competencies to be developed include solid grounding in one discipline (Sociology, Child Psychology, or Public Health), an interdisciplinary perspective, methodological expertise, and sensitivity to social policy issues. Guidance with respect to the responsible conduct of research will be provided through formal coursework as well as informal training activities.
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