Fachgebiet Cognitive and Developmental Psychology

Equal-Life: Early environmental Quality and Life-course mental health effects

Project Coordination: Dr. Irene van Kamp, National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, Utrecht-Bilthoven, The Netherlands

Principal Investigators of subproject: apl. Prof. Dr. Maria KlatteProf. Dr. Thomas Lachmann, Dipl.-Psych. Jan Spilski

Project Partners:  

Gothenburg University, Gothenburg, Sweden; Institute for Molecular Sciences, University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio, Finland; Delft University of Technology, Delft, The Netherlands; Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden; Barcelona Institute for Global Health, ISGlobal, Barcelona, Spain; National Institute of Public Health, Ljubljana, Slovenia; Department of Information Technology, Faculty of Engineering and Architecture, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium; Centre for Applied Psychology, Environmental and Social Research (Zeus GmbH), Bochum, Germany; Technical University Eindhoven, Eindhoven, The Netherlands; Hearing Technology and Acoustics, RWTH Aachen University, Aachen, Germany; Institute of Public Health and Nursing Research, University of Bremen, Bremen, Germany, and others.

Source of Funding: European Commission (EU): HORIZON 2020 Grant Agreement 87474; European Exposome Network

Grant Amount: Total €11.994.426,25; TUK €561.845,00

Duration: 01.01.2020 – 31.12.2024


Project description:

In European countries, 15 to 20 % of children and adolescents are affected by learning disorders or mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, externalizing symptoms, and attention deficit syndrome. These problems represent increasingly relevant public health issues, as they tend to persist into adulthood and are associated with lower educational and professional achievement and quality of life, and high health and societal costs.

Children´s developmental outcomes are closely related to characteristics of their physical and social environment. Research in this field focused hitherto on a „one-exposure-one-outcome“- strategy. Equal-Life takes the respective findings as a starting point and goes one step beyond. Following an exposome approach, the Equal-Life consortium explores how children´s mental health (including quality of life) and cognition are affected by the combination of social and physical exposures. The ‘exposome’ (Wild, 2005) encompasses the totality of human environmental (i.e., all non-genetic) exposures from conception onwards, complementing the genome.

In Equal-Life, 11 existing data sets from EU studies on child development and health (comprising data from about 240.000 children in total) are enriched with now-available data on environmental exposures in the residential areas of the former participants, and re-analyzed according to procedures developed by experts on statistical analysis and modelling in the Equal-Life consortium. In addition, new data is collected in in-depth studies, one focusing on adolescents, and one focusing on young children in the transition from kindergarten to primary school.

The aim of Equal-Life is the derivation of concrete means for the design of environments that are conducive for children´s development. Stakeholders are involved from the beginning to ensure efficient transfer into practice.

For further information, see Equal-Life Website: https://www.equal-life.eu/en

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