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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 in 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.

In 2019, we completed our participant interviews for their 40-year assessment.


logo - hrcHealth Research Council of New Zealand


Cannabis/MRI study - Phase Two

With 20 more participants from our cohort (we've already examined 50), we're looking into how brain and heart activity, neuropsychological data, and biological markers are related to a history of cannabis use. We're comparing people with a significant history of cannabis use with those who do not.

Participants complete a short interview, neuropsychological tests, blood tests (for various biological markers and genetic data) and urine tests (for the presence of cannabis and other drugs). They also have MRI scans of the head and chest, looking at both the structure and function of these areas.

Thank you so much to everyone who's taken/taking part. Please get in touch if you have any questions:

October 2021

September 2021

  • We've started Phase Two of our research into the effects of cannabis on the body! See the info box above for more deets.
  • Good news! We've secured an extension of HRC (Health Research Council) funding until the end of August next year!

August 2021

  • It's the end of an era! Our fabulous colleague John Horwood retires at the end of the month after 44 years' service. We are bereft! Happy Retirement sir!

We're always researching and writing - check out our Publications pages

Read more in CHDS News