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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


New study!

We're doing some new research into the effects of cannabis on the body. Here’s more info about it, please get in touch if you have any questions:

“The study looks at how brain and heart activity, neuropsychological data, and biological markers are related to a history of cannabis use. It’s a smaller study to begin with, involving just 50 participants from within the CHDS cohort. We are comparing a group of participants who have significant history of cannabis use to those who do not.

In the first session, participants complete a short interview, a set of neuropsychological tests, blood tests for various biological markers and genetic data, and a urine test for the presence of cannabis and other drugs. The second session involves MRI scans of the head and chest, and these look at both structure and function.

We commenced data collection at the start of June and will continue to schedule appointments over the coming months.”

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

August 2020

  • If you missed Joe's Inaugural Professorial Lecture last month, you can now watch it via the University's Podcasts and Videos page. Essential viewing!

July 2020

  • Joe does his Inaugural Professorial Lecture 'Drugs, crime and other sensational stories from a career in research' on Wed 29 July - go boss!

June 2020

Read more in CHDS News