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E-Risk@30 Study

Creating a unique resource for studying mental health, adversity and prosperity over the first three decades of life.

Project overview

Funded by the Medical Research Council, this project aims to collect new data from twin participants of the Environmental Risk (E-Risk) Longitudinal Twin Study when they are 30 years old.

The E-Risk Study is a cohort of 2,232 same-sex twins born across England and Wales in 1994 and 1995. The study members have completed extensive face-to-face assessments at several time-points across childhood and adolescence.

These included measures on:

  • mental and physical health
  • social experiences (victimisation, support, loneliness)
  • poverty and educational attainment
  • social media use
  • genetic and other biological information
  • levels of air pollution and crime in their neighbourhoods

The team now plans to interview the cohort again at age 30 to explore how their adult lives are taking shape.

They are particularly interested in their mental health, educational/employment outcomes, positive and negative relationships with others, and their hopes and fears for the future.

This updated dataset will be made available to researchers across the UK and worldwide to provide a unique resource for conducting research into mental health, adversity and prosperity over the first three decades of life.

Project details

The 20s are an important developmental period in which individuals traditionally become fully independent of their parents, complete their education, enter the workforce/housing market, and develop stable relationships.

How individuals navigate this early adulthood period will determine their health, wellbeing, and economic prosperity in mid-life.

Unfortunately, the 20s are also the peak age for onset of mental health issues, which can derail these key developmental tasks.

The combination of Brexit and the COVID-19 pandemic have resulted in major societal changes and economic instability – we do not know how this will affect the mental health and prospects of young adults, or what will influence whether they falter or prosper.

Therefore, we are assessing young adults at the end of their twenties to capture the factors that may influence these different outcomes so that researchers/practitioners can explore how best to support the most vulnerable young adults to thrive in these unprecedented times.

Increasing the number of young adults who are mentally healthy and socially mobile in mid-life could not only improve individuals’ lives but also boost the UK economy and reduce strain on the NHS.

Why this study?

The E-Risk study is unique among the British birth cohorts as it represents the full socio-economic spectrum of families in the UK (from the poorest to the richest) and has only lost a very small number of twins (7%) across the years.

Therefore, we can be confident the study members are still representative of the UK population, and thus, findings from this study are generalisable to young adults in the UK.

The advantage of using twins is that researchers can compare the mental health (and other) outcomes of twins within a pair who have different social experiences (e.g., one twin was bullied at school while the other twin was not).

This gets us closer to understanding what causes and prevents the development of mental health issues and functional difficulties.

McPin is responsible for ensuring the voices of young people with relevant lived experience shape the project throughout.

The McPin YPAG (Young People’s Advisory Group) will meet with the researchers regularly to input into key aspects of the project such as:

  • advising on the most important areas of young adults’ lives to capture
  • how the assessments should be conducted
  • strategies to maximise retention of study participants
  • recruitment of staff members
  • designing a qualitative measure of young adults’ quality of life and hopes/fears for the future
  • assisting with training researchers
  • coding of data
  • helping to promote this new data resource
  • producing a priority list of questions for researchers to answer with this data in the future

For more information about youth involvement within this project, please email [email protected].

You can find out more about the E-Risk Study via their website:

To find out how to get involved in other projects for young people visit the Young People’s Network page.

Young People’s Network

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