Family environment and mental health of youth from biological and adoptive families

Research suggests the family environment plays an important role in youth health and development. For example, youth exposed to more coercive forms of discipline, higher family stress, and less parental care seem to be at higher risk of developing alcohol problems. However, other research suggests genetic factors may influence both risk behaviours and family factors, such as parenting. Ming Ao is studying both biological and adoptive families to determine if the family environment influences mental health and risk behaviours in youth. Ming is assessing how family environment affects young people’s emotional well-being, social skills and competence. The findings from this study could improve understanding of family influence on youth mental health and be used to develop youth health services for biological and adoptive families.