The overarching aim of my research is to assess whether relationships between health behaviours and mental health outcomes are causal, and to investigate the direction of these relationships.
Lifestyle behaviours such as smoking, drinking alcohol and using other substances are often found at higher levels in those with mental health problems such as depression or schizophrenia. Understanding the direction of causation in these relationships is not simple. Associations seen in observational data could be driven by other factors confounding the association, reverse causation, or due to bias. Understanding the causal nature of these relationships is key to informing public health prevention strategies.