© Olga Vasilkova | Dreamstime Stock PhotosAt the Center for Developmental Epidemiology we are working to advance the understanding of the origins, course, and prevention of mental illness across the course of life. Our longest-running study, the Great Smoky Mountains Study, is a longitudinal assessment of the development of psychiatric and substance abuse disorders and access to mental health care in a representative sample of 1400 children and adolescents living in the southeastern United States. Other studies include the Duke Early Childhood Study and the Preschool Health and Wellbeing Study.

dreamstimefree_218013A major goal of our research has included the development, validation, production, and dissemination of qualitative assessment measures to further the advancement of mental health research. A suite of interviews have been developed that employ a consistent approach to the assessment of psychopathology in childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood. The first of these interviews to be developed (beginning in 1986) was the Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Assessment (CAPA) which collects information from children and adolescents aged 9-18 and their parents. The first edition of the CAPA was developed at the Institute of Psychiatry in London. It has been updated and modified repeatedly since 1986 by the Developmental Epidemiology Program at Duke. A version of the CAPA for use in twin studies (which includes lifetime assessments for some disorders) was produced by the Virginia Twin Study of Adolescent Behavior and Development in 1992. The first edition of the Young Adult Psychiatric Assessment (YAPA) was produced by the Developmental Epidemiology program at Duke in 1998. Work on the first edition of the Preschool Age Psychiatric Assessment (PAPA) was begun in the fall of 1998, and the first edition was finalized during the summer of 1999.

In addition to these assessments of psychopathology, the Developmental Epidemiology Program has also produced companion measures to assess service use in children, adolescents and young adults (the Child and Adolescent Services Assessment – CASA), and the impact of children’s psychiatric problems on parental and family life (the Child and Adolescent Impact Assessment – CAIA).