Longitudinal datasets

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Canberra Longitudinal Study

The Canberra Longitudinal Study is a 12 year study into the health and memory of older people which commenced in 1990, with subsequent waves in 1994, 1998 and 2002. The 2002 wave was the last time that participants were approached for interviews, when the youngest participant was 82 years of age.

Project Contact:
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Personality and Total Health (PATH) Through Life

The PATH Through Life project is a 20 year longitudinal cohort study of 7,485 young (aged 20–24 at baseline), midlife (aged 40–44 at baseline) and older (aged 60–64 at baseline) adults randomly sampled from the electoral roll of the Australian Capital Territory and the nearby city of Queanbeyan.  The project aims to track and define the lifespan course of depression, anxiety, substance use and cognitive ability, identify environmental risk and protective factors within these domains, and examine the relationships between depression, anxiety and substance use with cognitive ability and dementia.

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Dunedin Multidisciplinary Study

The Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study Members are the 1037 babies born in Dunedin, New Zealand between 1 April 1972 and 31 March 1973 at the Queen Mary Maternity Hospital, of which 1014 of the original cohort are still alive today.  The babies were first followed up at the age of 3, and then at 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, 18, 21, 26 and 32. Future assessments are scheduled for age 38 (2010-2012), 44 and on into the future. During each follow up almost all aspects of participants' physical and mental health are examined, including cardiovascular, dental, respiratory, sexual and mental health, psychosocial well-being, and detailed interviews about relationships, behaviour and family.

Sub-studies of the Dunedin Study include the Family Health History Study (2003-2006) which involved the parents of the Study Members, and two on-going studies - the Parenting Study (of Study Members who are parenting 3-year-old pre-schoolers) and the Next Generation Study (of the 15-year-old teenagers whom Study Members are parenting).

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Christchurch Longitudinal Study

The Christchurch Health and Development Study (CHDS) follows the health, education and life progress of a group of 1,265 children born in the Christchurch (New Zealand) urban region during mid 1977.  This cohort has now been studied from infancy into childhood, adolescence and adulthood.  Some key research themes include the mental health effects of cannabis use and alcohol use in young people, mental health and treatment seeking, and suicidal behaviour in young adults (in collaboration with the Canterbury Suicide Project).

The study has published over 400 scientific papers, reports, books and book chapters describing the 30 year life history of the CHDS cohort.

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Brisbane Longitudinal Twin Study

The Queensland Institute of Medical Research's (QIMR) Brisbane Longitudinal Twin Study (BLTS) began in 1992 when twins were recruited from schools in the greater Brisbane area. The BLTS today includes both adolescent and young adult twins (3,408 individuals) and their nontwin siblings (1,572), constituting a total of 1,703 families. The sample includes both monozygotic and dizygotic twin pairs, including opposite-sex dizygotic twin pairs, singleton siblings of twins, and the twins’ parents. Approximately 100 new twins are recruited each year to the BLTS and it is now a longitudinal collection of psychiatric phenotypes, environmental and psychological risk factors, as well as neurobiological correlates and endophenotypes for psychiatric disorders. QIMR research using the BLTS data has focused on psychiatric conditions such as anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, alcoholism and drug abuse, as well as common diseases such as melanoma, asthma, endometriosis and migraines.

Professor Nick Martin


Cross-sectional datasets

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The Black Dog Index

Developed at the Black Dog Institute, the Black Dog Index assesses the mental health of Australians, looking at the level of happiness as well as depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts. The index was developed because economic-based measures do not sufficiently reflect a country's health, with the UK and Canada also having similar measures.  It is conducted by Newspoll every three months with results reported in 'The Australian'.

Intervention studies

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The GoodNight Study

The GoodNight Study, currently underway, investigates the efficacy of a novel internet-based insomnia treatment program as a prevention tool for Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). Individuals with subclinical depressive symptoms and the risk factor of insomnia are recruited from the community, provided with an online automated self help program targeting insomnia and followed for 18 months.  This study includes measures of suicidality.

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The ECCO Project

The exploring continued care options (ECCO) trial, a collaboration between the Australian National University's e-hub and Lifeline Australia, examined the effectiveness of an Internet-based intervention for treating depression with callers to a national telephone counselling service (Lifeline). Using a randomised controlled trial methodology, the results found that the MoodGYM and BluePages websites, when provided with and without ongoing telephone tracking, were effective in reducing depression in Lifeline callers.

The ECCO project won a Silver Award at the 2010 Mental Health Services Achievement Awards, in the category of e-health.

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iChill is a research study examining self-help programs for improving the symptoms of anxiety. It aims to test whether anxiety can be prevented or reduced using interactive websites.

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Healthy Thinking

Suicidal ideation is experienced by almost 400,000 Australian adults and although early intervention is important, many are reluctant to seek help. The internet provides an opportunity to engage with individuals at risk of suicide and to offer evidence based, 24/7 prevention programs. The Healthy Thinking project will implement and test a web-based self-help intervention.  To our knowledge, this will be the first English-language online self-help program aimed specifically at reducing suicidal ideation. In addition, this project will address the need for intervention research in suicidology.

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CAP Study

The aim of the CAP (Climate and Preventure) study, being undertaken by the NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in Mental Health and Substance Use and the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre is to trial a comprehensive approach to preventing substance use and related harms in adolescents by combining effective ‘universal’ and ‘targeted’ school-based prevention programs. Ideally, preventive interventions should aim to delay onset in both adolescents with low-risk profiles who may be influenced to take up substances due to peer influence and social conformity, and adolescents with high-risk profiles whose underlying vulnerability to psychopathology can lead to substance misuse. The CAP intervention builds on NDARC's unique success in this area through developing the effective universal internet-based Climate Schools program, and the selective personality-targeted Preventure program.

Other Investigator driven and owned

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45 and Up Study

The 45 and Up Study is a longitudinal study and the largest study of healthy ageing ever undertaken in the Southern Hemisphere. Over 250,000 men and women aged 45 and over across NSW – about 10% of this age group – have been recruited and will have their health followed over the coming decades. 

Detailed information about the project, including researchers and partners, research currently underway, study materials and publications, are provided on the website.

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Gowing Up in Australia: The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children

Growing Up in Australia: The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC) is a major study following the development of 10,000 children and families from all parts of Australia. The study commenced in 2004 with two cohorts - families with 4-5 year old children and families with 0-1 year old infants - and is investigating the contribution of children's social, economic and cultural environments to their adjustment and wellbeing. A major aim is to identify policy opportunities for improving support for children and their families and for early intervention and prevention strategies.

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Bettering the Evaluation and Care of Health (BEACH)

The BEACH Program is a cross-sectional, paper based data collection system developed and validated by The University of Sydney that continuously collects information about the clinical activities in general practice in Australia.  The BEACH database currently includes about 1,400,000 GP-patient encounter records (07/2012).  Data generated is used by researchers, government, industry and non-government organisations.  Detailed information is available on the BEACH website.

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Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health

The Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health (ALSWH) is a longitudinal, population-based survey examining the health of over 40,000 Australian women, and is the most comprehensive study ever conducted on the health of Australian women.  The study assesses physical and mental health, psychosocial aspects of health (such as socio-demographic and lifestyle factors) and use of health services.  ALSWH is funded by the Australian Department of Health and Ageing.  Extensive edtails about the project can be found online.