Researchers support ‘critical’ transition to adulthood

03 May 2016

Researchers support ‘critical’ transition to adulthood

Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) is part of a new programme of research aimed at helping teenagers to become healthy and happy adults.

RSE Scotland Foundation’s new ‘Health, happiness and wellbeing’ (HHWB) programme of research recognises that becoming an adult is a particularly critical stage for a young person, in which a number of influences can have a profound impact upon mental health, physical health and general wellbeing.

In phase one of the HHWB programme, two literature reviews will empirically evaluate interventions intended to improve health, happiness and wellbeing.

The RSE Scotland Foundation, which is a charitable body connected to the Royal Society of Edinburgh, has awarded funding to Dr Joanne McLean of the Mental Health Foundation, and a second grant to the Social & Public Health Sciences Unit at the University of Glasgow to review interventions targeted at individuals with complex needs who are at higher risk. 

GCU researchers are supporting the Mental Health Foundation’s work to analyse interventions intended to improve health, happiness and wellbeing, and to reduce inequalities for young people undergoing the transition to adulthood. 

The team are reviewing broader population interventions designed to improve the health and wellbeing of ‘average’ populations of young people. They will review international evidence published in the last 10 years to define what works at a population level to reduce inequalities and equip all young people with the skills, characteristics and resilience to successfully navigate their transition experience.

The team is engaging with a panel of young people aged between 10 and 22 years old to find out what they think are the important factors in becoming a happy and healthy adult, to ensure that research work takes account of the outcomes that indicate successful transition from the perspectives of young people in Scotland today.

Dr Joanne McLean said: “Successful transition to adulthood is vital for young peoples’ mental health and wellbeing and, as such, is a key public health issue for them and those who care about them. We will review international evidence to define what works at a population level to reduce inequalities and equip all young people with the skills, characteristics and resilience to successfully navigate their transition experience.”

Dr Alex Pollock, a Senior Research Fellow from the Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Professions Research Unit, funded by the Chief Scientist Office with bases within GCU and the University of Stirling, said: “There is a vast amount of published evidence relating to young peoples’ health and wellbeing, but there are real challenges in bringing this together and making sense of it, as it is disparate and can vary in quality. Our role at GCU is to make sure all the relevant research is brought together in a robust and rigorous way. One particularly innovative part of this project is the involvement of young people. When we do reviews of research evidence, it is absolutely essential that the work we do reflects what is important to those people who will be affected.”

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