The Orygen Adolescent Development Study (OADS) 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 now entering its fifth wave and we have renamed it the, ‘Adolescence to Emerging Adulthood (A2EA) Study’ to better represent our participants who are now  well and truly adults!

Emerging adulthood is a distinct period, between 18 and the mid-twenties, where young adults are still building their independence, and making a range of choices that will influence the rest of their lives.

The newest wave of the study, occurring during 2019, will be a world-first investigation of adolescent biological and psychosocial predictors of mental health outcomes in emerging adulthood. This project will offer the invaluable opportunity to investigate how trajectories of adolescent development influence emerging adulthood. We will be able to utilise the existing and internationally unique longitudinal dataset on brain development, parent-child relationships, and adolescent psychopathology (among other data) from 12 to 19 years. This is all due to our participant’s efforts and commitment. The identification of adolescent neurodevelopmental and psychosocial associations with emerging adulthood outcomes will provide new insights into the predictors of highly prevalent mental disorders, and functioning, during a period of life when such outcomes can lay the path for lifelong patterns of health and wellbeing.

The study, based at The University of Melbourne, began in 2003 as the ‘Orgygen Adolescent Development Study’ (OADS). The most recent wave of data collection was completed in 2012 (click here for figure). A cohort of 245 Australian adolescents have taken part in at least one wave of the study since 2004, and these adolescents were selected from a wider community sample (approximately 2500 children, 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 (in 2004) 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 3500 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 $2 million 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 >75 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.