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Project overview

Our Changing Adolescence Programme was established in 2005 in response to research findings that showed a significant increase in young people’s emotional and behavioural problems between 1975 and 1999.

The programme aimed to examine the reasons for this increase and to shed light on how the lives of young people have changed over the last 30 years. We commissioned a series of research reviews to look at trends in various aspects of teenage life over time. We also convened seminars and workshops to bring together researchers, policy makers and practitioners in strategic discussions.

The programme’s final volume, Changing Adolescence: Social trends and mental health, which brings together the different research strands, was published by Policy Press. We have also published a briefing paper, which introduces the main findings.

The trends examined as part of the programme were:

  • Time trends in adolescent well-being
  • Parenting
  • How young people spend their time
  • Drugs and alcohol misuse
  • Neighbourhoods, schools and families
  • Young people and stress
  • School experience

Dr Ann Hagell introduces some of the main findings from the Nuffield Foundation’s Changing Adolescence Programme.

Latest on this project

Commissioning group

Professor Sir Michael Rutter
Professor Andrew Pickles
Professor Robert Sampson
Anne Sofer
Professor Hilary Steedman
Sir David Watson
Professor Dieter Wolke
Sharon Witherspoon
Dr Ann Hagell

Research team

Dr Ann Hagell
Dr Judith Aldridge
Dr Stephen Collishaw
Professor Sarah Curtis
Dr Michael Donmall
Professor Jacquelynne Eccles
Dr Leon Feinstein
Professor Maurice Galton
Professor Robert Goodman
Professor John Gray
Yasmin Khatib
Professor Robert MacDonald
Professor Barbara Maughan
Dr Colleen McLaughlin
Dr Petra Meier
Dr Tim Millar
Professor Andrew Pickles
Dr Karen Robson
Dr Seija Sandberg
Professor Jacqueline Scott
Professor Stephen Stansfeld


Journal articles, books and other resources

Symonds J, Hagell A, ‘Adolescents and the organisation of their school time: a review of changes over recent decades in England’Educational Review, Volume 63, Issue 3, 2011

Schepman et al, Do changes in parent mental health explain trends in youth emotional problems’Social Science & Medicine, Volume 73, Issue 2, July 2011

Gray, J et al, The Supportive School, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, October 2011

Collisaw S, Gardner F, Maughan B, Scott J, Pickles A (2011). Do historical changes in parent-child relationships explain increases in youth conduct problems? J. Abnorm. Child Psychol

Collishaw S, Maughan B, Natarajan L, Pickles A (2010) ‘Trends in adolescent emotional problems in England: a comparison of two national cohorts twenty years apart’J Child Psychol Psychiatry , Volume 51 , 8, pp.885-894

McLaughlin C, Clarke B, ‘Relational matters: A review of the impact of school experience on mental health in early adolescence’, Educational & Child Psychology Vol. 27 No 1, 2010

Collishaw S. (2009) ‘Trends in Adolescent Depression: A Review of the Evidence.’ ACAMH Occasional Papers No 28, pp 7-18

Gardner F, Collishaw S, Maughan B, Scott J (2009) ‘Has parenting changed over recent decades? Can changes in parenting explain the rise in adolescent problem behaviour?’
Please note this is a working paper and is undergoing revision. It is not for citation in current form.

Maughan B, Collishaw S, Metzer H and Goodman R (2008) ‘Recent trends in UK child and adolescent mental health’Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol. 43(4):305-10

Collishaw S, Goodman R, Pickles A and Maughan B (2007) ‘Modelling the contribution of changes in family life to time trends in adolescents conduct problems.’ Soc Sci Med. 65: 2576-87

Constantine R, Natarajan L and Collishaw S (2007) ‘Testing causes of time trends in adolescent mental health’: YouthTrends technical report. London: National Centre for Social Research

Collishaw S, Pickles A, Natarajan L and Maughan B (2007) ’20-year trends in depression and anxiety in England’. Poster paper presented at the International Society for Research in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Conference, London, 21 June 2007

Maughan B, Iervolino AC, Collishaw S (2005) ‘Time trends in child and adolescent mental disorders.’ Curr Opin Psychiatry. 18: 381-5

Collishaw S, Maughan B, Goodman R and Pickles A (2004) ‘Time trends in adolescent mental health’. J Child Psychol Psychiatry. 45(8):1350-62

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We aim to improve people’s lives by funding research that informs social policy, primarily in Education, Welfare and Justice. We also fund student programmes that give young people skills and confidence in science and research.

We are an open, collaborative and engaged funder that offers more than money. Through connecting the individual projects we fund, we strengthen their collective impact and give voice to an overarching narrative.