The Great Smoky Mountains Study (GSMS)

This study is closed to enrollment.

The Great Smoky Mountains Study (GSMS) is a longitudinal, population-based community survey of children and adolescents in North Carolina. The study is part of a collaborative effort between Duke University and the North Carolina State Division of Developmental Disabilities, Mental Health, and Substance Abuse Services. It began in 1992. Some of the goals of the study are to estimate the number of youth with emotional and behavioral disorders, the persistence of those disorders over time, the need for and use of services for emotional and behavioral disorders, and the possible risk factors for developing emotional and behavioral disorders. The original participants in GSMS include 1420 children and their parents, from 11 counties in western North Carolina. These counties include both urban and rural areas, and every agency in the area that provides child mental health services are included in the study. This area is also home to a fairly large American Indian population, and 349 of the youth in the study are enrolled members of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Nation. These youth represent a population that has been under-represented in mental health research across the country.

The GSMS has provided policy-relevant information in the areas of: 1) need for mental health services; 2) risks for emotional and behavioral disorders; 3) outcomes of serious emotional disorders; 4) use of mental health services across sectors; and 5) effectiveness of mental health services among cohorts.