Overview

The Orygen Adolescent Development Study (ADS) is a longitudinal study that aims to address important questions regarding biological and environmental risk and protective factors for the development of depression and other common mental health problems during adolescence. The study is based at The University of Melbourne, and Orygen, the National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health (formerly Orygen Youth Health Research Centre).

The study began in 2003 and the most recent wave of data collection was completed in 2012 (see figure). A cohort of 245 Australian adolescents have taken part in at least one wave of the study, and these adolescents were selected from a wider community sample (approximately 2500, from 100 representative primary schools around metropolitan Melbourne, Victoria, Australia) to encompass a wide range of temperamental risk and resilience for later mental health problems. The participants were comprehensively assessed at age 12 using a multi-method and multi-source (i.e., parents, adolescents) battery of validated measures of brain structure and function, temperament, family processes, and mental health. Follow-up assessments were conducted when adolescents were aged approximately 14, 16 and 19. We also collected information on genetics and family history of mental illness. Across all waves of the study from 2003 to 2012, the ADS has conducted more than 1800 assessments with participants and their families!

Thank you to all of our participants for all of the time and effort you have put into the Study over the years!

The data collected has enabled detailed investigation of the interrelations between genetic, neurobiological, psychological and environmental factors in explaining risk and resilience for the emergence of mental health problems during adolescence. Over $2M has been invested in this study, and we thank the Colonial Foundation, the National Health and Medical Research Council, and the Australian Research Council for supporting such important work with Australian families. An overview of the 50+ peer reviewed scientific publications based on the ADS can be viewed in the Study Findings tab. If you would like further information, do get in touch via the contact page.