The health, social and economic implications of risk-taking in adolescence over the life-course: a data linkage study of the Raine cohort

  • Research program: New technologies and online interventions
  • Project status: Current
  • Start date: January 2019
  • Expected end date: December 2023
  • Completion date:
  • Funded by: NHMRC
  • Lead organisation: University of Sydney

Risk-taking is part of normal adolescent development, but much youth and young adult morbidity, mortality, and social adversity arises from risky behaviour in adolescence. No systematic way exists to distinguish those with high probability of serious adverse outcomes, limiting our capacity to screen and intervene.

Using data from the Western Australian Pregnancy Cohort (Raine) Study, linked to routinely collected health and welfare data, we will identify participants who have experienced significant negative health and social outcomes through to late adolescence and young adulthood. We will then characterise the pathways to these outcomes, from the prenatal period through adolescence, which differentiate these vulnerable young people. Instead of the standard approach of measuring outcomes only in single health domains (e.g. sexual health or substance use), arising from risky behaviours only in those individual domains, we will explore relationships across multiple domains, including different types of risk behaviours clustered in individuals, to single and clustered outcomes.

We will apply the distributions of the predictors, mediators, and outcomes determined from the statistical analysis of the linked Raine data in a novel microsimulation health economic model (MSM). Using a basefile representative of the Australian population, the MSM will be used to calculate Australian health system expenditures and labour market effects as far into the future as 2040. We will then conduct virtual experiments in the MSM by simulating and comparing competing interventions to provide quantitative analysis of their implications. In this way, we can capture a complete picture of the health and social impacts of risky behaviour in adolescence and potential benefits of investment in this age group.

Name & Contact Details Role Research Program Location
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Dr Robert Tait
Tel: 61 (0)8 9266 1610
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Chief Investigator

New technologies and online interventions


  • Chief Investigator: Susan Rachel Skinner, University of Sydney
  • Chief Investigator: Jennifer Marino, University of Melbourne
  • Chief Investigator: Sharyn Lymer, University of Sydney
  • Chief Investigator: Dorota Doherty, University of Western Australia
  • Chief Investigator: Katharine Steinbeck, University of Sydney
  • Chief Investigator: Leon Straker, Curtin University
  • Chief Investigator: Melissa King, University of Technology Sydney

Duko, B., Pereira, G., Betts, K., Tait, R., J., Newnham, J. and Alati, R. (2021). Prenatal alcohol and tobacco use and the risk of depression in offspring at age 17 years: Findings from the Raine Study. Journal of Affective Disorders, 279, pp. 426-433. DOI: 10.1016/j.jad.2020.10.030 [RJ1610] View web page