The Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study: overview of the first 40 years, with an eye to the future
The Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study began more than four decades ago. Unusual at the time, it was founded as a multidisciplinary research enterprise, and was strongly supported by the Dunedin community, both professional and lay, in its early years. Seven research themes have evolved over the past 40 years focusing on mental health and neuro-cognition, cardiovascular risk, respiratory health, oral health, sexual and reproductive health, and psychosocial functioning. A seventh, more applied theme, seeks to maximise the value of the Study findings for New Zealand’s indigenous people—Māori (or tangata whenua transl people of the land). The study has published over 1200 papers and reports to date, with almost 2/3 of these being in peer-reviewed journals. Here we provide an overview of the study, its history, leadership structure, scientific approach, operational foci, and some recent examples of work that illustrate the following: (a) the value of multidisciplinary data; (b) how the study is well positioned to address contemporary issues; and (c) how research can simultaneously address multiple audiences—from researchers and theoreticians to policy makers and practitioners. Near-future research plans are described, and we end by reflecting upon the core aspects of the study that portend future useful contributions.
Poulton, R; Moffitt, TE; Silva, PA
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