The main objective of WP1 is to develop conceptual models of the mechanisms of how the physical and social environment impact the mental health and cognitive development in children and young adults aged 0 to 21 years.

Icon WP1

The aim is to investigate if and how the child’s external environment, such as air pollution, noise, restorative properties and their social environment, such as neighbourhood, family and socio-economic positions  affect the cognitive and mental development of children and young adults. We also want to find out whether there are critical periods in the life course perspective, including the prenatal period, when such exposures have a higher risk of adverse effect.

To this end, a literature review is carried out of the current evidence on the relationships between these exposures, cognitive development and mental health. The probable mechanisms such as stress, sleep, and self-regulation and coping will be specifically studied.

The aim of WP1 is to develop conceptual models of how these mechanisms may affect the links between exposome and children´s cognition, emotions, behaviours and mental health in different developmental phases. Available data in the project’s existing cohorts and school studies will be used. When  information on key mechanisms is missing or incomplete, detailed studies among the different age groups are planned. We anticipate that these studies will address the restorative function of sleep among young adults in connection to mental health, as well as the importance of the daily living environment in preschool/school and cognitive functions among younger children

18 month update

WP1 focuses on gaining knowledge about the mechanisms in which the child’s exposome influences their mental health and cognitive development. The exposome refers to the totality of exposure to environmental factors throughout life, starting from conception.

During the first 18 months, the WP1 team has reviewed scientific literature, developed an overall conceptual model (see Figure 1) and more detailed models describing relevant pathways. Furthermore, research questions and hypotheses were formulated in collaboration with WP7. WP1 looked into the role of factors as stress, sleep, self-regulation and coping in the relation between the exposome to the mental and cognitive health and development of children in different phases of their life. Finally, key variables related to exposure and mental health, and the mechanisms between them, were identified in the available data sets.

WP1 is now preparing their in-depth studies with children in which the mechanism of sleep, coping, stress and restoration will be studied in more detail.