Research outcomes - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Research outcomes

Longitudinal Adolescent Brain Study (LABS) researchers will publish group level non-identifiable data in scientific journals and present at conferences. All publications will be available through USC Research Bank.

Published research outcomes

Using measures of intrinsic homeostasis and extrinsic modulation to evaluate mental health in adolescents: Preliminary results from the Longitudinal Adolescent Brain Study (LABS)

Key findings:

  • In the first 50 LABS participants (all 12 years old): 16% had psychological distress levels that were consistent with having a mental disorder; 20% reported suicidal ideation
  • Sleep and social connectedness are important external modulators mental wellbeing
  • Systems thinking (a wholistic approach to analysis) is key to understanding and improving adolescent mental health
  • A heatmap matrix that illustrates the overall associations between influences on and indicators for adolescent mental health

Associations between Facial Emotion Recognition and Mental Health in Early Adolescence

Key findings:

  • In this study of 40 LABS participants (12 years old), we found associations between increased mental health problems and a processing bias for anger and fear negative facial expressions.
  • This indicates that increased psychological problems may negatively impact on social cognition and functioning in early adolescents (or vice versa; hence the importance of longitudinal studies).

Subcortical volume correlates of psychological distress in early adolescence

Key finding:

  • In this specialised brain imaging study of 32 LABS participants we found that sub-sections of the amygdala and hippocampus, two brain structures which play significant roles in the control of emotion and memory, respectively, are significantly reduced in volume in those with increasing levels of psychological distress.
Interesting reading