Emma Littler

PhD Candidate, Public Health Sciences
Emma Littler, PhD Candidate, Public Health Sciences


PhD, Public Health Sciences

Graduate supervisor  

Mark Ferro

My thesis

Being diagnosed with a chronic physical illness (e.g., diabetes, epilepsy) in childhood is a significant life stressor. As a result, children with a chronic physical illness (CPI) are a greater risk of developing a co-morbid mental disorder – a condition known as physical-mental multimorbidity.

My thesis will explore the relationship between chronic stress and mental disorders in children with a CPI using hair cortisol concentration (HCC) – a recently identified biomarker for chronic stress. I will be using data from the Multimorbidity in Children and Youth Across the Life-course (MY LIFE) study – a prospective cohort study of Canadian children living with a CPI.

Exploring the extent to which HCC is associated with the development of mental disorders in this high-risk population will be critical for developing effective preventative measures. Results from this project can support efforts to reduce the risk of child multimorbidity and improve quality of life for children and their families.

My time in the School of Public Health Sciences (SPHS)

My time in the School of Public Health Sciences (SPHS) so far has been incredibly rewarding and fulfilling. I’ve had the opportunity to get involved in the SPHS Graduate Student Association (GSA) and meet so many other incredible graduate students working on diverse research projects in Public Health. All the staff, faculty and students I’ve had a chance to meet have been welcoming and supportive, making this the ideal place to work with and learn from so many excellent researchers!

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