The Great Smoky Mountains Study: developmental epidemiology in the southeastern United States.
AIMS: To describe the Great Smoky Mountains Study (GSMS). METHODS: GSMS is a longitudinal study of child psychiatric disorders that began in 1992 to look at need for mental health services in a rural area of the USA. Over 20 years it has expanded its range to include developmental epidemiology more generally, not only the development of psychiatric and substance abuse problems but also their correlates and predictors: family and environmental risk, physical development including puberty, stress and stress-related hormones, trauma, the impact of poverty, genetic markers, and epigenetics. Now that participants are in their 30s the focus has shifted to adult outcomes of childhood psychopathology and risk, and early physical, cognitive, and psychological markers of aging. RESULTS: This paper describes the results from over 11,000 interviews, examples of the study's contributions to science and policy, and plans for the future. CONCLUSIONS: Longitudinal studies can provide insights that aid in policy planning.
Costello, EJ; Copeland, W; Angold, A
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