Background: We will describe here a translational social epidemiology protocol for confirming a critical realist “Theory of Neighbourhood Context, Stress, Depression, and the Developmental Origins of Health and Disease (DOHaD)”. The approach will include the concretising and contextualising of the above causal theory into programme theories for child and adolescent interventions that aim to break intergenerational cycles of disadvantage and poor life outcomes. In undertaking this work we seek to advance realist translational methodology within the discipline of applied perinatal and paediatric social epidemiology. Theory and Methods: The research settings are in metropolitan Sydney. The design will be a longitudinal, multi-level, mixed method realist evaluation of applied programme interventions that seek to break the intergeneration cycle of social disadvantage and poor child health and developmental outcomes. The programme of research will consist of three components: 1) Operationalisation of the theory and designing of programme initiatives for implementation; 2) Evaluation of the translated programme and implementation theory using Theory of Change and critical realist evaluation; and 3) Theory Testing of realist hypotheses using both intensive and extensive critical realist research methods including realist structural modelling. Discussion: The proposed programme of research will assist in translating empirical explanatory theory building to theory driven interventions. The research will be situated in socially disadvantaged regions of Sydney where the local child and family inter-agencies will collaborate to design and implement new initiatives that address significant disparities in childhood development and adolescent outcomes attributed to neighbourhood circumstances, family stress and intergenerational cycles of disadvantage and poor mental health.
- Critical realism
- Developmental origins of health and disease
- Social epidemiology
- Translational epidemiology