Adolescence and Young Adulthood

The Adolescence and Young Adulthood Working Group focuses on public health issues affecting teenagers and young adults, aged 13-25 years.  The Working Group currently comprises three sub-groups.

’€˜School, Education and Health’€™

Focusing on links between school, education and health, with a view to developing interventions.  The group is currently examining the health and wellbeing component of the Curriculum for Excellence and how this is delivered in secondary schools. Additionally, the group are sourcing Scottish data relating to school absenteeism, and plan to develop an intervention to reduce this.

’€˜Social Connectedness’€™

Focusing on connectedness within families, peer groups and the wider community, and the role it plays in adolescent and young adult health.  The group is currently working on parenting/family related projects.  They are currently evaluating ESCAPE, a programme being implemented in a number of local authority areas across Scotland.  Additionally, members of the subgroup have recently been awarded funding by the Robertson Trust to develop a parenting intervention for parents with unmet needs, e.g. kinship carers.  The group is currently conducting a brief scoping review to guide selection of a research project in the area of peer and wider community connectedness.

’€˜Protecting Young People in Transition’€™

Focusing upon the impact of transition on young people’€™s health, with a view to developing interventions.  Currently, the group wish to focus on school-leavers and their subsequent destinations, exploring issues such as unemployment and welfare reform.  A symposium related to this topic will be held later in the year.

Find out more

If you would like to join the Working Group, please fill out the registration form:

If you would like more information about the Adolescence and Young Adulthood Working Group and the sub-groups, please email Jane Hartley at

Working Group Members

Click on the picture to contactJob Title & OrganisationWork/Research InterestsKeywords
John McAteer
Working Group Lead / Research Fellow
SCPHRP, University of Edinburgh
My work focuses upon a range of public health issues affecting teenagers and young people today, including risky behaviours. Most recently, I was part of the team that developed the outcomes model for the National Parenting Strategy. I also recently conducted a review of interventions with a parental component to influence the health of their adolescent children.Young People;
Sam Anderson
The Junction-Young People, Health & Wellbeing
I am the Director and Founder of The Junction (Young People, Health & Wellbeing), an awards-winning charity based in Edinburgh which works with and for young people on a range of health issues.

Prior to setting up The Junction, I worked for two Edinburgh-based voluntary organisations with a focus on homelessness, substance misuse, mental health issues and childhood sexual abuse. My experience of these reactive services led me to develop a proactive, early intervention service, The Junction.

I have a flair for delivering innovative approaches and a strong dedication to creating a positive client experience, which is coupled with fundraising expertise and extensive experience of governance. I am passionate about the promotion of fairness and equality in society.

I am committed to a community development approach with a deep seated belief in our ability to achieve an equitable world. In addition to my work role, I have been an active member of a number of Voluntary Organisations Boards including Edinburgh Women’s Aid, Health Opportunities Team and Pathway (Supporting Survivors).

I am a Specialist Fellow of the Clore Social Leadership Programme, a Member of GSK/Kings Fund IMPACT Award Winners Network, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.
Young People;
Health & Wellbeing;
Community Development;
Josie Booth
josie booth
University of Dundee
My research focusses on child development, with an emphasis on cognition and educational attainment. The relationship between aspects of health, such as physical activity and obesity, and cognitive development is a key focus of my work. I investigate these relationships in children who are typically developing, as well as those who have developmental difficulties such as reading difficulties and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), amongst others. I also have a strong interest in the long term nature of these processes and in developing specific intervention programmes.Attainment;
Physical Activity;
Laura Crombie
Service Manager
Clued Up Project
I am a graduate of Dundee University and hold a Master of Arts Degree in Psychology and History, a Postgraduate Diploma in Community Education and an HND in Social Sciences.

I am the Service Manager with the Clued Up Project in Fife who work with young people under 25 years who are affected by substance misuse, where my employment began a little over 14 years ago. I took Clued Up from being part of the local authority to becoming an independent charity which has now been running for 20 years in total. Some visionary ideas and many successful funding bids later, under my management the project has grown in strength. The service has expanded to incorporate a Fife wide outreach service for young people; and continues to create innovative pieces of work on an ongoing basis including leading the way in Fife delivering Alcohol Brief Interventions to young people in wider settings as part of a partnership with NHS Fife and Police Scotland.

I fulfil my value base by striving to be non-judgemental and believe in empowerment and enabling vulnerable young people to realise their full potential.
Substance Misuse;
Community Capacity Building;
Children and Young People;
Health Inequalities; Employability
Pam Dawson
Project Officer - Alcohol Misuse
The Robertson Trust
The Robertson Trust is one of Scotland's largest independent funder and has a keen interest in early intervention and prevention. The Trust has 7 key priority themes one of which is Alcohol Misuse which I lead on. Our current programmes include Thinking Differently which is a UK funded partnership project aimed at addressing alcohol misuse by supporting young people to be vehicles of change. Community Action on Alcohol looking at a community development approach to reducing the harm of alcohol abuse and the Social Influence project looking at the misperceptions of young people towards the social norms surrounding alcohol in their peer groups within Schools. I wanted to be on this group to sharing learning and best practice.Alcohol Misuse;
Project delivery;
Best practice;
Effective interventions;
Community Development
Elaine Douglas
University College London
I am interested in health inequalities, particularly social determinants of health. I also have interests in public health interventions and population health. Health Interventions;
Public Health;
Social Policy;
Health Policy
Isabel Dunsmuir photo_not_available_0Innovation Development Director
DRC Generations
I have worked in the voluntary sector for over thirty years, developing a variety of different projects to meet the needs of the local communities. Over the years working with local communities, statutory and voluntary organisations we have identified gaps and with volunteers developed initiatives to fill those gaps, within the past twelve years working with DRC Generations the work has ranged from local pilot programmes (Drugs and Alcohol Awareness week & Three days of action – based on the Australian Drugs awareness week which was then passed onto the GGDAT and became Glasgow GRAND), supporting and assisting the development of Touched By Suicide Scotland a National Self Support group for those bereaved by Suicide, NW Glasgow Kinship Care/Grandparents group and DRC Generations itself focused on young people, their families and the wider community. A Mentoring, Transition Support Service which uses an innovative Peer-Led health approach to health promotion and prevention strategies working in partnership benefitting our local and wider communities. The working knowledge, skills and expertise of a ground up approach can be of benefit to the working group, informing them of a different view point, sharing and providing opportunity to work with our young people, their families, volunteers and other partner organisations that may have an insight, an opportunity for theorists to see if things can work in practice.Community Development;
Addictions ;
Karolina Gombert
PhD Student
University of Aberdeen
Currently, I am undertaking a PhD research project entitled "Foodways and Futures". The project draws on and is shaped by a number of disciplines: health promotion; nutrition; education; and sociology. It is guided by underpinning values of egalitarianism, emancipation and empowerment, with the goal of enabling young people living in challenging circumstances to become involved in the development of (realistic and acceptable) changes. It is designed, firstly, to explore the food choices of homeless and vulnerable young people in Scotland, where over thirteen thousand young people (aged 16 to 24) become homeless every year, while food poverty is on the rise and concerns about the influences of the recent welfare reform are being raised. Young people facing or at risk of homelessness can face severe economic and other difficulties on an everyday basis. They can struggle to eat healthily, which has implications for their ongoing development and later life. The research aims to address (and challenge) nutrition and other policies targeted at reducing food-related health and socio-economic inequalities, in the contemporary socio-political context of ‘welfare reform’. Secondly, the project is designed to engage homeless young people in the co-construction of knowledge and the co-creation of action, through the use of collaborative and participatory research methods. Health Inequalities;
Food Poverty; Homelessness; Community Development;
Young People
Trish Gorely
Senior Lecturer, Physical Activity and Health
University of Stirling
My research interests centre on physical activity and sedentary behaviour change, particularly in young people and those either at high risk of, or already diagnosed with, type 2 diabetes. I have conducted both school based healthy lifestyles interventions and structured education interventions for adults. Within this topic area I focus on understanding the influences on these behaviours and on the design and evaluation of interventions to promote active lifestyles across the lifespan. I also have an interest in the measurement of these behaviours, particularly the objective measurement of both physical activity and sedentary behaviour. In 2009-10 I was a member of the UK Government Department of Health’s Expert Group on ‘Sedentary Behaviour and Obesity’. I am particularly interested in the role of family in health behaviours and the how family interventions could influence behaviour change in both parents and children. Physical Activity;
Sedentary Behaviour;
Health Behaviour Change
Emma Hogg
Health Improvement Programme Manager - Youth Health
NHS Health Scotland
NHS Health Scotland is a national Health Board working with public, private and third sectors to reduce health inequalities and improve health. Our primary role is to lead the co-production and improvement needed to translate knowledge of what works, and doesn’t work, to reduce health inequalities, and to improve how that knowledge is turned into action. Our youth health work focuses on 9-26 year olds. Key areas of work include projects focused on looked after children, children experiencing poor mental well-being or mental health problems and young people who are unemployed, encouraging and supporting a more integrated approach to youth health (i.e. avoiding topic silos), supporting youth workers to understand their contribution to youth health, developing a better understanding of young people's physiological development and how this relates to health and health behaviours and supporting data development in Scotland (e.g. funding of the Health Behaviour of School Children Survey and supporting an options appraisal on the future of children and young people's surveys in Scotland).Health Inequalties;
Health Improvement;
Looked After Children;
Health Behaviours
Jacqueline Lamb
Deputy Chief Executive Officer
Children in Scotland
I work for Children in Scotland the national umbrella organisation for children's services organisations in Scotland. We cover children of all ages, all interests. Members are from across public, private and voluntary sectors. Our key themes are Learning, Childhood, Health and Wellbeing and Strengthening the Sector.Learning;
Health and Wellbeing;
Children's Sector
Divya Jindal-Snape
Professor of Education, Inclusion and Life Transitions
University of Dundee
My research interests lie in the field of inclusion, and educational and life transitions. A significant proportion of my work has been with children and young people with additional support needs, especially children and young people with visual impairment, autism, learning difficulties, emotional and behavioural needs, and complex life limiting conditions. My research has led to creation of educational resources to enhance inclusion and facilitate transitions through drama (inspired by Boal's Theatre of the Oppressed) stories, games and other creative art forms.

I am the founder Director of the Transformative Change: Educational and Life Transitions (TCELT) Research Centre. My research has highlighted the positive (although stressful for some), dynamic and complex nature of transitions with the need to understand them as (i) an on-going process that involves moving from one context (not necessarily physical and tangible) and set of interpersonal relationships to another, (ii) holistic and dynamic (Education and Life Transitions theory, ELT), (iii) complex multiple and multi-dimensional transitions of significant others and their interaction with an individual’s multiple transitions (Multiple and Multi-dimensional Transitions theory, MMT) including changes in identity, (iv) requiring on-going support to ensure the wellbeing of the individual and significant others such as their family, peers and professionals. I have recently led a study on the transitions of young adults’ with life limiting conditions and its impact on transitions of significant others, e.g., families, professionals.
Life Span Approach;
Creative approaches and voice
Claire Norman
NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde
I am a junior doctor at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley. As a medical student I did an intercalated MSc in Public Health and Health Services Research and did my dissertation on 'young parents' views and experiences of interactions with healthcare professionals.' My time at university and now my job as a junior doctor has made me really interested in Public Health and the work that needs to be done to reduce health inequalities and the harm done by preventable diseases. I am particularly interested in primary care, sexual health and obesity research. Doctor;
Primary Care;
Sexual Health;
Physical Activity
Amudha Poobalan AmuPoobalanTeaching Fellow
University of Aberdeen
My main research interest is prevention of Obesity among ‘young people in transition’, through lifestyle modification and behaviour change. Young people transitioning from either ‘childhood to adolescence’ or from ‘adolescence to adulthood’ (between 13 -25 years), have been identified as a vulnerable age group for weight gain, due to various significant life course changes occurring during this period. These trigger points are puberty, leaving home to go to study/work, establishing independent living, living with a partner and pregnancy. In spite of this critical transition period, they are least researched probably because they are hard to reach.
Application of ‘Behavioural change theories’ and use of ‘Participatory action research’ have become my core competencies in progressing my research. The use of Systematic reviewing of the literature and the application of well-developed combination of quantitative and qualitative research methodology (mixed method studies), which has become essential in addressing complex public health issues, is at the heart of most of my current projects.

My focus for the past 5-6 years has been to understand the attitudes and lifestyle behaviours of this vulnerable but a crucial age group. Having identified some of the factors/components, including facilitators and barriers for healthy lifestyle, the next challenge is to develop a tailored intervention(s) for this age group, by incorporating these relevant components. Involving all the relevant stakeholders will help recruit and retain this group in behaviour change programmes, which will lead to sustainable healthy lifestyle and improve their well-being, ultimately preventing obesity.
Young Adults;
Behaviour Change;
Systematic Reviewing;
Mixed Methods Research
Louise Scott
Head of Children and Families Analysis
Scottish Government
Our work aims to secure the best evidence to inform policy and practice to ensure the best outcomes for children and young people. My work covers general wellbeing of children and young people, and especially the cross-cutting dimensions of positive wellbeing and the collaborative approach to identifying approrpiate solutions. We focus also on evidence to support child and maternal health, the Early Years Collaborative, early learning and childcare, childrens rights and wellbeing, looked after children and youth justice. Teenagers;
Tackling Inequalities;
Clare Simpson
Project Manager
Parenting across Scotland
Parenting across Scotland is a partnership of charities which support families. PAS is interested in early years, relationships and matters affecting families.Parenting;
Digital Families;
Teenage Years;
Susan Solomon
Freelance Researcher
Lime Research
Public health / social research professional with over 20 years’ solid expertise in a wide range of qualitative and quantitative methodologies and analysis. I have a specific interest in public health research, social marketing campaigns and evaluations to help reduce health inequalites. Proficient in managing large scale full service research projects across a wide range of social research and communication areas. In particular public health market and social research and evaluation ranging from pre-testing social marketing campaign materials to evaluating specific health board initiatives and projects in terms of behaviour change. Alcohol;
Healthy Eating;
Physical Activity
Helen Sweeting
Senior Investigator Scientist
MRC/CSO Social & Public Health Sciences Unit, University of Glasgow
I started work at the MRC/CSO Social & Public Health Sciences Unit (SPHSU) within the Youth and Health Programme and have a longstanding interest in influences on young people's health and health behaviours. I have since worked in the Gender and Health Programme and now the newly formed programme on Understanding and Improving Health Within Settings and Organisations (e.g. schools; colleges; workplaces; secure institutions; professional sports).

Much of my work has been based on analyses of quantitative data from SPHSU studies, but I have also been involved with some qualitative studies and literature reviews. My youth-related work has covered: descriptions of the health and behaviours of children and young people and exploration of how they are patterned not only in respect of factors such as social class and gender, but also family life, lifestyle and victimisation by peers; increases over time in levels of obesity, psychological distress and health-risk behaviours; reasons for changes in the gender patterning of self-report ill-health in early-mid adolescence; the importance of various aspects of school (ethos and a successful primary-secondary transition) for young people’s health and health-behaviours; dimensions of status within the school year group and their different associations with adolescent health and behaviours; associations between seeing images of smoking/drinking in films and young people’s own smoking/drinking; relationships between measures of consumerism and young people’s well-being.
Mental health;
Substance use;
Social status;
Ben Thurman
Policy & Research Officer
Mentor promote and develop a range of evidence-based programmes that aim to give young people the skills and confidence to make positive choices in relation to alcohol and other drugs. While focusing on alcohol and drugs, more broadly Mentor seeks to raise aspirations and give young people opportunities to thrive. We have developed and delivered a range of universal and targeted interventions; currently in Scotland we provide a range of support and resources for kinship carers, as well as running a peer alcohol education programme in Polmont YOI and developing community-based initiatives.Alcohol and other Drugs;
Healthy Lifestyles;
Health Inequality;
Kinship Care


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