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A Life Course Approach to Mental Disorders$
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Karestan C. Koenen, Sasha Rudenstine, Ezra Susser, and Sandro Galea

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199657018

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199657018.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 27 July 2021

Impact of early environmental exposures on mental disorders across the life course

Impact of early environmental exposures on mental disorders across the life course

(p.204) Chapter 19 Impact of early environmental exposures on mental disorders across the life course
A Life Course Approach to Mental Disorders

Pam Factor-Litvak

Oxford University Press

Individual exposures to environmental contaminants are thought to be related to a variety of neuropsychiatric outcomes, including deficits in neurodevelopment, impaired academic achievement, behaviour problems, and schizophrenia. Using a life course perspective, the exposure–outcome relationships are illustrated using studies of early life lead exposure and neurodevelopmental outcomes. Relating lead exposure to neurodevelopmental outcomes illustrates the importance of identifying and correctly analysing effect-modifying variables as well as consideration of the social context in which exposure occurs. Both social and biological variables are illustrated. Finally, lead exposure relates to the concept of the continuum of casualty, which relates exposure to adverse outcomes throughout the life span. However, causal pathways to each of the life course outcomes have not been elucidated, and the challenge remains to define the levels of exposure, and to describe social and biological effect modifiers and to elucidate mediators which influence outcomes.

Keywords:   neurodevelopment, life course, lead exposure, models, continuum of casualty

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