Australian Temperament Project Generation 3 Study

Research Overview

Under the campus partnership, our research is embedded in MCRI.  Full research profile may be found at or

The Australian Temperament Project (ATP) is one of Australia’s oldest longitudinal studies of social-emotional development that has followed a representative sample of over 2000 infants and their parents from 4 months (1983) to over 30 years of age. The study has collected detailed age-appropriate survey data on temperament, internalising (depression/anxiety), externalising (violence and addiction) and positive developmental outcomes over 16 waves. Parents, infant welfare nurses, teachers and young people (from 11-12 years) completed questionnaires.

In 2011, we commenced recruitment of cohort offspring with follow-ups in pregnancy (T3), birth, 8 weeks, 12 months and 4 years of age, combining population surveys with in-depth clinical observations on a broad range of constructs including parent mental health and caregiving, and infant behaviour and attachment security. Bringing together data across three generations, the ATP Generation 3 Study now provides a rare opportunity to address key questions about how the experiences of one generation may affect the next, from grandparent to parent to child.





The ATP began as a collaboration between psychologists at La Trobe University and paediatricians at the Royal Children's Hospital. Over time the collaboration has expanded to include the University of Melbourne, the Australian Institute of Family Studies, Murdoch Children's Research Institute and Deakin University.

  • Prof John Toumbourou
  • A/Prof Ben Edwards, Australian Institute of Family Studies
  • Suzanne Vassallo,  Australian Institute of Family Studies
  • Prof Rob McGee, University of Otago
  • Dr George Youssef, Deakin University
  • Christopher Greenwood, Deakin University
  • A/Prof Sarah Whittle
  • Dr Martha Finn, Monash Ultrasound for Women
  • A/Prof Peter Enticott, Deakin University
  • A/Prof Andrew Lewis, Murdoch University
  • Prof Carol George, Mills College
  • Diana Smart, Deakin University
  • Prof Bob Marvin, University of Virginia
  • Dr Judith Soloman, Department of Pediatrics, Bridgeport Hospital, CT


  • 2016-2018: ARC Discovery (DP160103160) Olsson, Sanson, McGee, McIntosh, Hutchinson, Lewis, Macdonald, Ryan, Edwards: Intergenerational Prediction of Social and Early Emotional Development. $453,000
  • 2015-2019: NHMRC Project Grant (APP1082406) Olsson, Sanson, Patton, McGee, McIntosh, George, Ryan, Hutchinson: Preconception determinants of child health and development: A 4-year follow-up of offspring born to the Australian Temperament Project. $1,020,945
  • 2013-2015: ARC Discovery (DP1311459):  Olsson, Sanson, Toumbourou, Lewis, Hutchinson, McGee, Edwards -  Pre-conception predictors of early childhood social and emotional development: A 30-year longitudinal study of grandparents, parents and children. $961,000

Research Publications

For a full list of publications, see

See also

  1. Betts, KS, Baker, P, Alati, R., Mcintosh, J, Macdonald, J, Letcher, P, Olsson, C .The natural history of internalizing behaviours from adolescence to emerging adulthood: findings from the Australian Temperament Project Psychological medicine 2016; 46, 2815-2827.
  2. Krug, I, King, RM, Youssef, G, Sorabji, A, Wertheim, E, Le Grange, D, Hughes, EK, Letcher, P, & Olsson, CA. (2016). The effect of low parental warmth and low monitoring on disordered eating in mid-adolescence: Findings from the Australian Temperament Project. Appetite 105, 232-241
  3. Miller, P, Butler, E,  Richardson, B, Staiger, P, Youssef, G, Macdonald,  J,  Sanson, AV, Edwards, B, Olsson, C. Relationships between problematic alcohol consumption and delinquent behaviour from adolescence to young adulthood Drug and alcohol review 2016, 35, 317-325.
  4. Hutchinson, D, Silins, E, Mattick, R, Patton,  GC,  Fergusson, D, Hayatbakhsh, R, Toumbourou, J, Olsson, C, Najman, J, Spry, E, Tait, R, Degenhardt, L, Swift, W, Butterworth, P, Horwood, J. How can data harmonisation benefit mental health research? An example of The Cannabis Cohorts Research Consortium Australian New Zealand journal of psychiatry 2015, 49, 317-323.
  5. Silins, E, Fergusson, DM., Patton, GC., Horwood, LJ., Olsson, CA., Hutchinson, DM., Degenhardt, L., Tait, RJ., Borschmann, R, Coffey, C, Toumbourou, JW, Najman, JM, & Mattick, RP (2015). Adolescent substance use and educational attainment: An integrative data analysis comparing cannabis and alcohol from three Australasian cohorts. Drug and Alchohol Dependence 156, 90-96.

Research Projects

For project inquiries, contact our research group head.

Faculty Research Themes

Child Health

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact Research Group Leader Professor Craig Olsson

Department / Centre



Royal Children’s Hospital/Murdoch Childrens Research Institute

Unit / Centre

Australian Temperament Project Generation 3 Study

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