The Center’s researchers have a long track record of running innovative, in-depth research studies that have significantly improved our understanding 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.

The Assessing Preschool Comorbidity Study was the first test-retest reliability study of a parent-report preschool psychiatric diagnostic interview – the Preschool Age Psychiatric Assessment (PAPA). Prior to this study, no reliability data were available for any diagnostic interview about preschoolers. When the study was proposed, the PAPA was the only wide-range diagnostic psychiatric interview about preschoolers sufficiently developed to be ready for administration in a study of comorbidity between emotional and behavioral disorders in preschoolers. The study provided important reliability data on these instruments.