Multimorbidity in Children and Youth Across the Life Course (MY LIFE)

Nearly 15% of youth less than 18 years of age are affected by both a physical and mental health problem, a situation known as ‘multimorbidity’. This combination of problems can lead to compromised life quality, hardship for families, and considerable burden on the healthcare system.

Recruiting children and youth from McMaster Children’s Hospital, we will determine how and why some youth develop multimorbidity, while others do not, because this knowledge is essential for establishing interventions to improve outcomes. Building on our successful REACH study, we will:

  • Document the course of mental health symptoms over time
  • Identify individual, family, and community predictors of mental disorder among youth with chronic physical conditions
  • Examine whether the effects of these predictors are amplified or act through other psychosocial and biological variables such as poverty or physical activity
  • Assess the extent to which multimorbidity increases the amount or alters patterns of psychiatric services usage among youth.

Addressing these objectives is essential to improve youth trajectories, strengthen families, and in turn, improve care and reduce costs.

This study is funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.