Here we examine the childhood antecedents of later-life somatic, social and psychological functioning. The goal is to enhance the field by showing how early-life stressors (e.g. family stress, socioeconomic adversity, difficult temperament) accumulate and produce later-life outcomes. The focus is strongly on primordial prevention and on longitudinal examination of prospective cohort data. We have shown that accumulating stressors in childhood confer risk for midlife cardio-metabolic outcomes including diabetes, obesity, and atherosclerotic calcification, as well as mental health outcomes including depressive symptoms and sleep problems. We will proceed by examining the mechanisms connecting early-life experiences with health outcomes. Identifying such mechanisms is essential for prevention, as they may include factors that are modifiable through intervention. The intergenerational transmission of health is another future direction for our research with datasets being gathered over three generations in the longitudinal 38-year Young Finns Study including a nationally representative sample of Finnish people. Other datasets include the Finnish Adoption Study and the Turku Special Intervention Study. 

Here we focus on three streams of research: a) work-life stressors producing health and disease, b) socioeconomic origins of lifespan health and c) poor social relations / loneliness as health risks. We have shown that negative psychosocial characteristics at the workplace, such as low level of organizational justice, lack of job control, confer risky outcomes for mental and somatic health. In the future, we will examine new mechanisms connecting work-place stressors with health outcomes, including inflammatory pathways and epigenetic pathways. Elucidating such mechanisms will enhance knowledge on how to prevent work-related health problems and how to enhance wellbeing at work. A major line of research relates to socioeconomic factors predicting lifespan health and on the pathways that may explain such relations. We have also shown that social isolation is a risk for excess mortality and cognitive decline. Here we are interested in elucidating the inter-relations between psychiatric disorder and the development of socioeconomic status and social relations over the lifespan. We are also interested if accumulation of socioeconomic adversities and poor social relations over the lifespan produces permanent changes in a person’s physiological system. The changes may include for instance inflammatory activation or premature epigenetic aging (DNA methylation). We will test these hypotheses in our future work, extending knowledge on the mechanisms whereby socioeconomic and psychosocial exposures are associated with human health and wellbeing. 

Here we leverage on new statistical approaches to examine how psychosocial factors and lifestyle factors are related each other and to mental and somatic outcomes. The network approach is a new statistical method where we can examine if some symptoms (e.g., symptoms of depressive disorder) are more central than other in producing health-related outcomes. This approach also allows examining how various symptoms evolve over time and how they may trigger other symptoms over development. Such knowledge allows combining different theoretical approaches with each other, thereby advancing the integration of research across disciplines. We will also apply accumulation models, mover-stayer models and latent profile analyses. Applying these methodologies allows us to examine how accumulation of adversity affects health and wellbeing, why people adopt healthy vs. unhealthy lifestyles, and how exposures cluster with each other, thereby enhancing knowledge on the development on mental and somatic health.