Event Details

PSYCHOLOGY WEEK - FREE to attend! Terrie Moffitt: Improving the mental health of young people to keep them healthy in old age

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

A 90 minute interactive online presentation with Professor Terrie MoffittPhysical diseases peak after age 60 and mental disorders peak in the 20's. What if people who have mental disorders when young are the same people who have physical diseases when they become older adults? If yes, this could suggest that improving mental health could have the knock-on effect of improving physical health. We use data from the Dunedin Longitudinal Study to show that people who have a history of mental health problems when young tend to begin aging faster during midlife, and are also poorly prepared to manage their health and finances to have a safe and secure post-retirement life. Then we use data from the New Zealand Integrated Data Infrastructure to study 2.3 million New Zealanders and show that people who have mental disorders do tend to develop more physical diseases as they age, and they also tend to have some elevated risk for Alzheimers dementia. The strength of associations from mental disorder to early mortality is as strong or stronger than the strength of associations from physical diseases to early mortality. These studies suggest that mental health is a neglected opportunity for prevention. This session will be recorded for those who are registered but are unable to attend on the day.


Terrie E. Moffitt, Ph.D., is the Nannerl O. Keohane University Professor of Psychology at Duke University, and Professor of Social Development at King's College London. Her expertise is in the areas of longitudinal methods, developmental theory, clinical mental health research, neuropsychology, and genomics in behavioral science. She is uncovering the consequences of a lifetime of mental and behavioral disorder on processes of aging.She is the Associate Director of the Dunedin Longitudinal Study, which follows a 1972 birth cohort in New Zealand. She also co-founded the Environmental Risk Longitudinal Twin Study (E-Risk), which follows a 1994 birth cohort in the UK. Dr. Moffitt also is a licensed clinical psychologist, with specialization in neuropsychological assessment. She has a published record of collaboration with criminologists, economists, geneticists, epidemiologists, sociologists, demographers, gerontologists, statisticians, neuroscientists, medical scientists, even opthalmologists and dentists. .