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Christchurch Health and Development Study

Christchurch Health and Development Study group photoLeft to right: Grace Walker, Geri McLeod, Martin Kennedy, Bridget Kinnersley, John Horwood, Janet Spittlehouse, Joe Boden, Bhuban Dhakal, James Foulds.
Not pictured: Emeritus Professor David M. Fergusson.

The Christchurch Health and Development Study (CHDS) has been in existence for over 40 years. During this time we have followed the health, education and life progress of a group of 1,265 children born in the Christchurch (New Zealand) urban region during mid-1977.

The cohort has been studied from infancy into childhood, adolescence and adulthood. Data gathered over the course of the study now comprises some 50 million characters of information, with which the study has published over 500 scientific papers, reports, books and book chapters describing the life history of the CHDS cohort.

We have recently interviewed our participants for their 40-year assessment.

Calling all participants!

As many of you know, we are currently working through our 40 year data collection. As part of this, we are also hoping to find people who did not participate in the 35 year (or earlier) interviews to see if they would like to come back into the study.

It has been a common misconception that once you miss an assessment, you can no longer take part in the study, but that is definitely *not* the case! So, if you know of anyone who is part of the study and who hasn't been interviewed recently, but would perhaps like to come back, please point them in our direction (or point us in their direction).

We would love to have anyone back who would like to be a part of the Christchurch Health and Development Study again!


logo - hrcHealth Research Council of New Zealand


September 2019

  • Joe gives his expert opinion in part 2 of Three's documentary Patrick Gower: On Weed "an impartial investigation of the world of medical and recreational marijuana, and what this untapped billion-dollar industry could mean for New Zealand"

August 2019

  • BIG news for the Team! John’s decided to step down from his role as Director. He’s been with the CHDS since the very start, 42 years ago, and he’s done awesome things. He’s still going to be involved for a while so it’s not goodbye just yet. Our Deputy, Joe, moves up into the boss position. Go Team! 
  • Joe's been appointed by the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor to the Expert Panel on Cannabis. Nice one, Joe!

July 2019

June 2019

  • Janet talks to Radio NZ about our latest findings: Gay, lesbian and bisexual people twice as likely to report depression
  • We have a new teamie! PhD student Nathan Monk will be with us for the next three years, examining psychosocial networks of risk for mood and anxiety problems through adolescence and young adulthood. Welcome aboard, Nathan!

Read more in CHDS News