Early biosocial risk factors and later health outcomes in adolescents: a follow-up of the Healthy Brains and Behavior Study

Jessica posing for a picture outdoors.




Professor of Nursing

Project Summary

It is increasingly recognized that adverse early childhood experiences have negative consequences on later health outcomes. However, few studies examine both the biological and social risk factors of this longitudinal relationship. The Healthy Brains and Behavior (HBB) Study was initiated in 2009 and has aimed to identify environmental and biological risk factors for aggression in late childhood, as well as to reduce aggression through psychological and nutritional treatments. Original participants included 457 Philadelphia children aged 11-13 years. This study aimed to contact the original participants who are currently in their late adolescence and recruit them for the follow-up study to assess the impact of early risk factors on long term physical, cognitive, and mental health outcomes. Among the 150 people we contacted, 107 people agreed to participate. Participants were invited to the laboratory for 90-minute interviews to assess various health outcomes, including physical examination, social demographics, medical/health status, cognitive functioning, positive psychology, sleep, emotion, and behavior. Following this original cohort to late adolescence and potentially into early adulthood would open the door to many opportunities for hypotheses testing on different treatment approaches to reducing childhood aggression. Working with Dr. Liu on this research has allowed me to experience another aspect of the research process, particularly in participant recruitment and research coordination. With my interests lying in pediatrics, neurobiology, and environmental health, this research experience has expanded my understanding of the research process and allowed to understand more about the various biological and social risk factors contributing to later life outcomes.