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Mental and musculoskeletal health in adolescents and young adults: the Health in young adults (HEYoung) study

Project manager

Professor Britt Elin Øiestad

Contact info



Kaja Smedbråten

Post-doctoral students

Henriette Jahre (2023-29)

Maren Hjelle Guddal (2023-27)


Little is known about risk factors for mental health and persistent pain in adolescents and young adults and there is a lack of treatment guidelines. In this project, we are aiming to increase this knowledge by conducting systematic reviews of the literature, analysing population-based and registry data, collect own data in a cohort of young adults (16 - 26 years of age), and developing interventions for adolescents and young adults with mental and musculoskeletal disorders.


The transitional phase from childhood, via adolescence to young adulthood is a critical period of life for future health and quality of life. Getting independent from parents; making important choices about lifestyle and health-related behaviours may influence future health. Despite a high prevalence of mental health disorders and musculoskeletal pain among young people, very little research exists on this life stage with respect to mental and musculoskeletal health.

The objectives of The HEYoung project are to identify risk factors, risk profiles, and risk trajectories for mental and musculoskeletal disorders in adolescents and young adults, and on the basis of this knowledge, develop intervention studies that will be tested in feasibility and pilot studies, and full scale randomized controlled trials.


Risk factors for non-specific neck pain in young adults. A systematic review

Henriette Jahre 1Margreth Grotle 2 3Kaja Smedbråten 2Kate M Dunn 4Britt Elin Øiestad 2. BMC Musculoskelet Disord 2020 Jun 9;21(1):366. doi: 10.1186/s12891-020-03379-y. 

Risk factors for episodes of back pain in emerging adults. A systematic review

Risk factors for non-specific neck pain in young adults: a systematic review


Neck and shoulder pain in adolescents seldom occur alone: Results from the Norwegian Ungdata Survey.

Jahre H, Grotle M, Smedbråten K, Richardsen KR, Bakken A, Øiestad BE.Eur J Pain. 2021 Sep;25(8):1751-1759. doi: 10.1002/ejp.1785. Epub 2021 May 11.PMID: 33909331


Risk factors and risk profiles for neck pain in young adults: Prospective analyses from adolescence to young adulthood-The North-Trøndelag Health Study.

Jahre H, Grotle M, Småstuen M, Guddal MH, Smedbråten K, Richardsen KR, Stensland S, Storheim K, Øiestad BE.PLoS One. 2021 Aug 12;16(8):e0256006. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0256006. eCollection 2021.PMID: 34383846


Low social acceptance among peers increases the risk of persistent musculoskeletal pain in adolescents. Prospective data from the Fit Futures Study.

Jahre H, Grotle M, Smedbråten K, Richardsen KR, Côté P, Steingrímsdóttir ÓA, Nielsen C, Storheim K, Småstuen M, Stensland SØ, Øiestad BE.BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2022 Jan 13;23(1):44. doi: 10.1186/s12891-022-04995-6.PMID: 35027018


Lifestyle behaviour in adolescence and musculoskeletal pain 11 years later: The Trøndelag Health Study.

Smedbråten K, Grotle M, Jahre H, Richardsen KR, Småstuen MC, Skillgate E, Øiestad BE.Eur J Pain. 2022 Oct;26(9):1910-1922. doi: 10.1002/ejp.2012. Epub 2022 Aug 26.PMID: 35851511


Accumulation of health complaints is associated with persistent musculoskeletal pain two years later in adolescents: The Fit Futures study.

Smedbråten K, Grotle M, Jahre H, Richardsen KR, Côté P, Steingrímsdóttir ÓA, Storheim K, Nielsen CS, Øiestad BE.PLoS One. 2022 Dec 29;17(12):e0278906. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0278906. eCollection 2022.PMID: 36580469 Free PMC article.


Henriette Jahre

Post-doctoral student, PT

Read more about Henriette here.


Kaja Smedbråten

PhD student, PT

Read more about Kaja here.


Britt Elin Øiestad

Project manager, Professor

Read more about Britt Elin here.

marengud_foto Amalie Huth Hovland_UiO.jpg

Maren H. Guddal

Post-doctoral student, PT

Read more about Maren here.

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