Elizabeth Jane Costello

Elizabeth Jane Costello

Professor Emeritus in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

Education & Training

  • Ph.D., University of London (UK) 1981


Developmental epidemiology applies the research methods of findings of developmental science to epidemiology--the study of patterns of disease distribution in time and space. Developmental epidemiology can cover the life span, but my own work concentrates on childhood and adolescence. I study change and continuity in psychiatric disorders, in the context of change and
continuity in the risk factors for those disorders.

An important application of the work of the Developmental Epidemiology Program, of which I am Co-Director, is examining the need for, and use of, mental health services for children. This work sets the study of the mental health care system for children and adolescents within a conceptual
framework which permits use of estimate unmet needs as well as identifying appropriate areas for preventive interventions. I am carrying out a longitudinal study based on 4,500 randomly selected children and adolescents living in the Appalachian mountains of western North Carolina. Findings from this study provide important information for federal and local policy makers, while at the same time testing ideas about the development of risk and resilience.

Eg, J, Bilenberg, N, Costello, EJ, and Wesselhoeft, R. "Self- and parent-reported depressive symptoms rated by the mood and feelings questionnaire." Psychiatry Research 268 (October 2018): 419-425. Full Text

Akee, R, Copeland, W, Costello, EJ, and Simeonova, E. "How Does Household Income Affect Child Personality Traits and Behaviors?." The American Economic Review 108.3 (March 2018): 775-827. Full Text

Hill, S, Shanahan, L, Costello, EJ, and Copeland, W. "Predicting Persistent, Limited, and Delayed Problematic Cannabis Use in Early Adulthood: Findings From a Longitudinal Study." Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 56.11 (November 2017): 966-974.e4. Full Text

Copeland, WE, Goldston, DB, and Costello, EJ. "Adult Associations of Childhood Suicidal Thoughts and Behaviors: A Prospective, Longitudinal Analysis." Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 56.11 (November 2017): 958-965.e4. Full Text

Clark, SL, McClay, JL, Adkins, DE, Kumar, G, Aberg, KA, Nerella, S, Xie, L, Collins, AL, Crowley, JJ, Quackenbush, CR, Hilliard, CE, Shabalin, AA, Vrieze, SI, Peterson, RE, Copeland, WE, Silberg, JL, McGue, M, Maes, H, Iacono, WG, Sullivan, PF, Costello, EJ, and van den Oord, EJ. "Deep Sequencing of 71 Candidate Genes to Characterize Variation Associated with Alcohol Dependence." Alcoholism, Clinical and Experimental Research 41.4 (April 2017): 711-718. Full Text

Copeland, WE, Hill, S, Costello, EJ, and Shanahan, L. "Cannabis Use and Disorder From Childhood to Adulthood in a Longitudinal Community Sample With American Indians." Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 56.2 (February 2017): 124-132.e2. Full Text

Costello, EJ. "Early Detection and Prevention of Mental Health Problems: Developmental Epidemiology and Systems of Support." Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology : the Official Journal for the Society of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, American Psychological Association, Division 53 45.6 (November 18, 2016): 710-717. (Review) Full Text

Costello, EJ, Copeland, W, and Angold, A. "The Great Smoky Mountains Study: developmental epidemiology in the southeastern United States." Social psychiatry and psychiatric epidemiology 51.5 (May 2016): 639-646. (Review) Full Text

Copeland, WE, Bulik, CM, Zucker, N, Wolke, D, Lereya, ST, and Costello, EJ. "Does childhood bullying predict eating disorder symptoms? A prospective, longitudinal analysis." The International journal of eating disorders 48.8 (December 2015): 1141-1149. Full Text

Copeland, WE, Wolke, D, Shanahan, L, and Costello, EJ. "Adult Functional Outcomes of Common Childhood Psychiatric Problems: A Prospective, Longitudinal Study." Jama Psychiatry 72.9 (September 2015): 892-899. Full Text


Costello, EJ, and Angold, A. "Developmental Epidemiology." Developmental Psychopathology: Second Edition. September 8, 2015. 41-75. Full Text

Loeber, R, Capaldi, DM, and Costello, E. "Gender and the development of aggression, disruptive behavior, and delinquency from childhood to early adulthood." Disruptive Behavior Disorders. January 1, 2013. 137-160. Full Text

Costello, EJ, Egger, HL, Copeland, W, Erkanli, A, and Angold, A. "The developmental epidemiology of anxiety disorders: Phenomenology, prevalence, and comorbidity." Anxiety Disorders in Children and Adolescents, Second edition. January 1, 2011. 56-75. Full Text

Angold, A, Carol, W, and Costello, EJ. "Puberty and depression." Gender Differences at Puberty. January 1, 2003. 137-164. Full Text

Selected Grants

Intergenerational Persistence of Treatment Effects awarded by National Institutes of Health (Co Investigator). 2017 to 2022

Diseases of Despair in Young Adulthood: Risk, Resilience, and Prevention awarded by National Institutes of Health (Co Investigator). 2018 to 2022

Developmental methylomics of childhood trauma and its health consequences awarded by Virginia Commonwealth University (Co Investigator). 2014 to 2018

Early Substance Use in Rural American Indian and White/Anglo Youth awarded by National Institutes of Health (Investigator). 2014 to 2018

Vulnerability to Drug Abuse:Pathways to Recovery awarded by National Institutes of Health (Principal Investigator). 1997 to 2017

Early Substance Use in Rural American Indian and White/Anglo Youth awarded by University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill (Collaborator). 2016 to 2017

Pathways From Maltreatment to Substance Abuse awarded by National Institutes of Health (Mentor). 2010 to 2016

Gene-Environment Interplay, Development, and Emotional Disorders awarded by National Institutes of Health (Mentor). 2008 to 2014

A developmental model of gene-environment interplay in SUDs awarded by National Institutes of Health (Principal Investigator). 2007 to 2014

Prefrontal Function in Adolescent Limited vs Life Course Persistent SUD awarded by National Institutes of Health (Co Investigator). 2008 to 2014