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Tracking Opportunities and Problems From Infancy to Adulthood

20 Years With the TOPP Study

Edited by: Kristin S. Mathiesen, Ann V. Sanson, Evalill B. Karevold

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The definitive work on the best ways to support the healthy development of children and adolescents and their families, based on 20 years of the groundbreaking TOPP Study

The unique longitudinal study “Tracking Opportunities and Problems (TOPP)” began following nearly 1,000 children and their families in Norway in 1993. Few studies have ever accumulated such extensive information from such a large number of families. Eight waves of data on many aspects of child and family life have been collected from children aged 18 months to 18 years. The TOPP Study has provided new knowledge about and insight into the precursors, developmental paths and predictors of both good adaptation and mental health problems of children, as well as into parenting and family relationships.

The editors have collated the key findings in three parts. Part 1 addresses the mental health and development of children and adolescents. Part 2 focuses on parents, looking at individual parental and family-related factors, including parental couple relationships. Part 3 looks at the methodological issues, including the sample, response rate and measurement and analytical approaches. Each chapter reviews the existing knowledge in these areas in relation to the TOPP findings and provides extensive reference lists for those who want to dig deeper.

This unique book provides thought-provoking insights into the TOPP findings to help guide therapeutic practice, to suggest new avenues of research, to inform teaching, and to shape policy planning and preventive actions. It is thus an invaluable resource for all professionals, researchers, educators, policy makers, and students working with children and adolescents and their families.

Praise for the book

"This book describes pathways to a range of behavioral and mental health issues, tracking children from the early preschool years through late adolescence. In addition to elucidating risk and protective factors that impact development, the authors provide evidence-based suggestions for prevention and early intervention. There is an increasing appreciation worldwide of the heavy burden that mental health issues place on people’s lives. This book makes an important contribution to how and why these problems arise, and what we might do to prevent them. It will be of great interest to governments and policymakers, as well as clinicians and researchers."
Prof. Frank Oberklaid, OAM, MD FRACP, DCH, Director, Centre for Community Child Health, Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne, VIC, Australia; Group Leader, Policy Equity and Translation, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, Parkville, VIC, Australia

"The TOPP study is a role model project for researchers and a rich source of information for parents and politicians. Mental health research projects commonly live their lives among researchers, discussed and published in research journals in a format that make them indigestible to the lay public. When children’s development makes the headlines, it is typically in the very-easy-to-digest language of the news media, affording little insight. This book is an admirable and successful effort to bridge the precision and solidness of science and the nontechnical language of the press. It is a deep well of knowledge generated over more than 20 years of research, well suited for parents, politicians, and students, and for those who want insights into how to carry out longitudinal studies."
Lars Wichstrøm, PhD, Professor of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology and Head of the Child and Adolescent Outpatient Clinic at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology; Research Director at NTNU Social Research, Trondheim, Norway

"This volume brings together extensive data from a multi-faceted longitudinal study about why some children thrive whereas others struggle, and offers insights about propitious opportunities for helping children (and parents) achieve their best. It is a valuable resource for researchers, teachers, as well as practitioners."
Avshalom Caspi, PhD, Edward M. Arnett Professor of Psychology & Neuroscience, Duke University, Durham, NC, USA; Professor of Personality Development at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, King’s College London, UK

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