The Finnish psychiatric birth cohort consortium (PSYCOHORTS) - content, plans and perspectives

Nord J Psychiatry. 2019 Aug;73(6):357-364. doi: 10.1080/08039488.2019.1636135. Epub 2019 Jul 4.


Background: Psychiatric disorders tend to be developmental, and longitudinal settings are required to examine predictors of psychiatric phenomena. Replicating and combining data and results from different birth cohorts, which are a source of reliable data, can make research even more valuable. The Finnish Psychiatric Birth Cohort Consortium (PSYCOHORTS) project combines birth cohorts in Finland. Aim: The aim of this paper is to introduce content, plans and perspectives of the PSYCOHORTS project that brings together researchers from Finland. In addition, we illustrate an example of data harmonization using available data on causes of death. Content: PSYCOHORTS includes eight Finnish birth cohorts. The project has several plans: to harmonize different data from birth cohorts, to incorporate biobanks into psychiatric birth cohort research, to apply multigenerational perspectives, to integrate longitudinal patterns of marginalization and inequality in mental health, and to utilize data in health economics research. Data on causes of death, originally obtained from Finnish Cause of Death register, were harmonized across the six birth cohorts using SAS macro facility. Results: Harmonization of the cause of death data resulted in a total of 21,993 observations from 1965 to 2015. For example, the percentage of deaths due to suicide and the sequelae of intentional self-harm was 14% and alcohol-related diseases, including accidental poisoning by alcohol, was 13%. Conclusions: PSYCOHORTS lays the foundation for complex examinations of psychiatric disorders that is based on compatible datasets, use of biobanks and multigenerational approach to risk factors, and extensive data on marginalization and inequality.

Keywords: Birth cohorts; causes of death; consortium; data harmonization; psychiatry.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Alcoholism / mortality
  • Alcoholism / psychology
  • Cause of Death
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Finland / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / mortality*
  • Mental Disorders / psychology
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Self-Injurious Behavior / mortality
  • Self-Injurious Behavior / psychology
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Suicide / statistics & numerical data
  • Young Adult