Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences - Research Publications

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    Data Resource Profile: Melbourne Children's LifeCourse initiative (LifeCourse)
    O'Connor, M ; Moreno-Betancur, M ; Goldfeld, S ; Wake, M ; Patton, G ; Dwyer, T ; Tang, MLK ; Saffery, R ; Craig, JM ; Loke, J ; Burgner, D ; Olsson, CA ; Investigators, LC (OXFORD UNIV PRESS, 2022-05-10)
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    The Australian Temperament Project Generation 3 study: a population-based multigenerational prospective cohort study of socioemotional health and development
    Olsson, CA ; Letcher, P ; Greenwood, CJ ; McIntosh, JE ; Barker, S ; Olsson, CM ; Macdonald, JA ; Spry, EA ; Hutchinson, D ; Ryan, J ; Edwards, B ; McGee, R ; Patton, GC ; Sanson, A (BMJ PUBLISHING GROUP, 2022-09-01)
    PURPOSE: The Australian Temperament Project Generation 3 Study (ATPG3) was established to examine the extent to which offspring social and emotional development is shaped in the decades prior to conception, in parent and grandparent histories of psychosocial adjustment (eg, emotional regulation, relationship quality and prosociality) and maladjustment (eg, depressive symptoms, substance use and antisociality). PARTICIPANTS: The Australian Temperament Project (ATP) commenced in 1983 as a population representative survey of the social and emotional health of 2443 young Australians (Generation 2: 4-8 months old) and their parents (Generation 1). Since then, families have been followed from infancy to young adulthood (16 waves). Between 2012 and 2018, the cohort was screened biannually for pregnancies (Generation 3), with assessments conducted in the third trimester of pregnancy, and at 8 weeks and 1 year postpartum. FINDINGS TO DATE: A total of 1167 offspring (607 female) born to 703 Generation 2 parents (400 mothers) were recruited into the ATPG3 Study. Findings to date highlight: (1) strong continuities in depressive symptoms and substance use from adolescence through to becoming a parent; (2) a role for persistent preconception mental health problems in risk for parent-child bonding difficulties, as well as infant emotional reactivity and behaviour problems; (3) the importance of secure attachments in adolescence in reducing long-term risk for postpartum mental health problems; and (4) the protective nature of perceived social support, both preconception and postpartum, in strengthening relationship quality and social support during the COVID-19 pandemic. FUTURE PLANS: Assessments of ATPG3 families in preschool and middle childhood are currently funded and underway. We intend to maintain the offspring cohort through childhood, adolescence, young adulthood and into parenthood. Data will be used to map preconception determinants of emotional health, and enhance approaches to population monitoring and targeted intervention over the life course and across generations.
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    Does adolescent heavier alcohol use predict young adult aggression and delinquency? Parallel analyses from four Australasian cohort studies
    Najman, JM ; Plotnikova, M ; Horwood, J ; Silins, E ; Fergusson, D ; Patton, GC ; Olsson, C ; Hutchinson, DM ; Degenhardt, L ; Tait, R ; Youssef, GJ ; Borschmann, R ; Coffey, C ; Toumbourou, JW ; Mattick, RP (WILEY, 2019-07-01)
    While the association between heavy alcohol consumption and aggression has been well documented, the causal direction of this association, particularly at a population level, is disputed. A number of causal sequences have been proposed. First, that aggression leads to heavy alcohol use. Second, that heavy alcohol use leads to aggression. Third, that the association between alcohol use and aggression is due to confounding by (a) sociodemographic variables or (b) delinquency. We report here data from four Australasian prospective longitudinal studies of adolescents, to assess the temporal sequence of heavy drinking and aggression over the period from adolescence to young adulthood. The four cohort studies provide a total sample of 6,706 persons (Australian Temperament Project, n = 1701; Christchurch Health and Development Study, n = 931; Mater-University of Queensland Study of Pregnancy, n = 2437; Victorian Adolescent Health Cohort Study, n = 1637). We use multinomial logistic regression to determine whether early adolescent aggression predicts subsequent age of onset of heavy episodic drinking (HED), after adjustment for concurrent sociodemographic factors and delinquency. We then consider whether HED predicts subsequent aggression, after adjusting for past aggression, concurrent delinquency, and a range of confounders. There are broadly consistent findings across the four cohort studies. Early aggression strongly predicts subsequent HED. HED predicts later aggression after adjustment for prior aggression and other confounders. Policies that alter population levels of alcohol consumption are likely to impact on levels of aggression in societies where HED linked to aggression is more common.
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    Study protocol: the Childhood to Adolescence Transition Study (CATS)
    Mundy, LK ; Simmons, JG ; Allen, NB ; Viner, RM ; Bayer, JK ; Olds, T ; Williams, J ; Olsson, C ; Romaniuk, H ; Mensah, F ; Sawyer, SM ; Degenhardt, L ; Alati, R ; Wake, M ; Jacka, F ; Patton, GC (BMC, 2013-10-08)
    BACKGROUND: Puberty is a multifaceted developmental process that begins in late-childhood with a cascade of endocrine changes that ultimately lead to sexual maturation and reproductive capability. The transition through puberty is marked by an increased risk for the onset of a range of health problems, particularly those related to the control of behaviour and emotion. Early onset puberty is associated with a greater risk of cancers of the reproductive tract and cardiovascular disease. Previous studies have had methodological limitations and have tended to view puberty as a unitary process, with little distinction between adrenarche, gonadarche and linear growth. The Childhood to Adolescence Transition Study (CATS) aims to prospectively examine associations between the timing and stage of the different hormonally-mediated changes, as well as the onset and course of common health and behavioural problems that emerge in the transition from childhood to adolescence. The initial focus of CATS is on adrenarche, the first hormonal process in the pubertal cascade, which begins for most children at around 8 years of age. METHODS/DESIGN: CATS is a longitudinal population-based cohort study. All Grade 3 students (8-9 years of age) from a stratified cluster sample of schools in Melbourne, Australia were invited to take part. In total, 1239 students and a parent/guardian were recruited to participate in the study. Measures are repeated annually and comprise student, parent and teacher questionnaires, and student anthropometric measurements. A saliva sample was collected from students at baseline and will be repeated at later waves, with the primary purpose of measuring hormonal indices of adrenarche and gonadarche. DISCUSSION: CATS is uniquely placed to capture biological and phenotypic indices of the pubertal process from its earliest manifestations, together with anthropometric measures and assessment of child health and development. The cohort will provide rich detail of the development, lifestyle, external circumstances and health of children during the transition from childhood through to adolescence. Baseline associations between the hormonal measures and measures of mental health and behaviour will initially be examined cross-sectionally, and then in later waves longitudinally. CATS will make a unique contribution to the understanding of adrenarche and puberty in children's health and development.
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    Maternal mental health and infant emotional reactivity: a 20-year two-cohort study of preconception and perinatal exposures
    Spry, E ; Moreno-Betancur, M ; Becker, D ; Romaniuk, H ; Carlin, JB ; Molyneaux, E ; Howard, LM ; Ryan, J ; Letcher, P ; McIntosh, J ; Macdonald, JA ; Greenwood, CJ ; Thomson, KC ; McAnally, H ; Hancox, R ; Hutchinson, DM ; Youssef, GJ ; Olsson, CA ; Patton, GC (CAMBRIDGE UNIV PRESS, 2020-04-01)
    BACKGROUND: Maternal mental health during pregnancy and postpartum predicts later emotional and behavioural problems in children. Even though most perinatal mental health problems begin before pregnancy, the consequences of preconception maternal mental health for children's early emotional development have not been prospectively studied. METHODS: We used data from two prospective Australian intergenerational cohorts, with 756 women assessed repeatedly for mental health problems before pregnancy between age 13 and 29 years, and during pregnancy and at 1 year postpartum for 1231 subsequent pregnancies. Offspring infant emotional reactivity, an early indicator of differential sensitivity denoting increased risk of emotional problems under adversity, was assessed at 1 year postpartum. RESULTS: Thirty-seven percent of infants born to mothers with persistent preconception mental health problems were categorised as high in emotional reactivity, compared to 23% born to mothers without preconception history (adjusted OR 2.1, 95% CI 1.4-3.1). Ante- and postnatal maternal depressive symptoms were similarly associated with infant emotional reactivity, but these perinatal associations reduced somewhat after adjustment for prior exposure. Causal mediation analysis further showed that 88% of the preconception risk was a direct effect, not mediated by perinatal exposure. CONCLUSIONS: Maternal preconception mental health problems predict infant emotional reactivity, independently of maternal perinatal mental health; while associations between perinatal depressive symptoms and infant reactivity are partially explained by prior exposure. Findings suggest that processes shaping early vulnerability for later mental disorders arise well before conception. There is an emerging case for expanding developmental theories and trialling preventive interventions in the years before pregnancy.
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    Parental mental health before and during pregnancy and offspring birth outcomes: A 20-year preconception cohort of maternal and paternal exposure
    Spry, EA ; Wilson, CA ; Middleton, M ; Moreno-Betancur, M ; Doyle, LW ; Howard, LM ; Hannan, AJ ; Wlodek, ME ; Cheong, JLY ; Hines, LA ; Coffey, C ; Brown, S ; Olsson, CA ; Patton, GC (ELSEVIER, 2020-10-01)
    BACKGROUND: Preterm birth (PTB) and small for gestational age (SGA) are increasingly prevalent, with major consequences for health and development into later life. There is emerging evidence that some risk processes begin before pregnancy. We report on associations between maternal and paternal common mental disorders (CMD) before and during pregnancy and offspring PTB and SGA. METHODS: 398 women with 609 infants and 267 men with 421 infants were assessed repeatedly for CMD symptoms before pregnancy between age 14 and 29 and during pregnancy. Associations between preconception and antenatal CMD symptoms and offspring gestational age/PTB and size for gestational age/SGA were estimated using linear and Poisson regression. FINDINGS: In men, persistent preconception CMD across adolescence and young adulthood predicted offspring PTB after adjustment for ethnicity, education, BMI and adolescent substance use (adjusted RR 7·0, 95% CI 1·8,26·8), corresponding to a population attributable fraction of 31% of preterm births. In women, antenatal CMD symptoms predicted offspring PTB (adjusted RR 4·4, 95% CI 1·4,14·1). There was little evidence of associations with SGA. INTERPRETATION: This first report of an association between paternal preconception mental health and offspring gestational age, while requiring replication in larger samples, complements earlier work on stress in animals, and further strengthens the case for expanding preconception mental health care to both men and women. FUNDING: National Health and Medical Research Council (Australia), Victorian Health Promotion Foundation, Australian Rotary Health, Colonial Foundation, Perpetual Trustees, Financial Markets Foundation for Children (Australia), Royal Children's Hospital Foundation, Murdoch Children's Research Institute, Australian Research Council.
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    Longitudinal prediction of periconception alcohol use: a 20-year prospective cohort study across adolescence, young adulthood and pregnancy
    Hutchinson, D ; Spry, EA ; Mohamad Husin, H ; Middleton, M ; Hearps, S ; Moreno-Betancur, M ; Elliott, EJ ; Ryan, J ; Olsson, CA ; Patton, GC (WILEY, 2021-09-08)
    BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Alcohol consumption is common in adolescence and young adulthood and may continue into pregnancy, posing serious risk to early fetal development. We examine the frequency of periconception alcohol use (prior to pregnancy awareness) and the extent to which adolescent and young adult alcohol use prospectively predict periconception use. DESIGN: A longitudinal, population-based study. SETTING: Victoria, Australia. PARTICIPANTS: A total of 289 women in trimester three of pregnancy (age 29-35 years; 388 pregnancies). MEASURES: The main exposures were binge [≥ 4.0 standard drinks (SDs)/day] and frequent (≥ 3 days/week) drinking in adolescence (mean age = 14.9-17.4 years) and young adulthood (mean age 20.7-29.1 years). Outcomes were frequency (≥ 3 days/week, ≥ monthly, never) and quantity (≥ 4.0 SDs, ≥ 0.5 and < 4.0 SDs, none) of periconception drinking. FINDINGS: Alcohol use was common in young adulthood prior to pregnancy (72%) and in the early weeks of pregnancy (76%). The proportions drinking on most days and binge drinking were similar at both points. Reflecting a high degree of continuity in alcohol use behaviours, most women who drank periconceptionally had an earlier history of frequent (77%) and/or binge (85%) drinking throughout the adolescent or young adult years. Young adult binge drinking prospectively predicted periconception drinking quantity [odds ratio (OR) = 3.7, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.9-7.4], compared with women with no prior history. Similarly, frequent young adult drinking prospectively predicted frequent periconception drinking (OR = 30.7, 95% CI = 12.3-76.7). CONCLUSIONS: Women who engage in risky (i.e. frequent and binge) drinking in their adolescent and young adult years are more likely to report risky drinking in early pregnancy prior to pregnancy recognition than women with no prior history of risky drinking.
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    The Victorian Intergenerational Health Cohort Study (VIHCS): Study design of a preconception cohort from parent adolescence to offspring childhood
    Spry, E ; Olsson, CA ; Hearps, SJC ; Aarsman, S ; Carlin, JB ; Howard, LM ; Moreno-Betancur, M ; Romaniuk, H ; Doyle, LW ; Brown, S ; Borschmann, R ; Alway, Y ; Coffey, C ; Patton, GC (WILEY, 2020-01-01)
    BACKGROUND: There is increasing evidence that parental determinants of offspring early life development begin well before pregnancy. OBJECTIVES: We established the Victorian Intergenerational Health Cohort Study (VIHCS) to examine the contributions of parental mental health, substance use, and socio-economic characteristics before pregnancy to child emotional, physical, social, and cognitive development. POPULATION: Men and women were recruited from the Victorian Adolescent Health Cohort (VAHCS), an existing cohort study beginning in 1992 that assessed a representative sample of 1943 secondary school students in Victoria, Australia, repeatedly from adolescence (wave 1, mean age 14 years) to adulthood (wave 10, mean age 35 years). METHODS: Victorian Adolescent Health Cohort participants with children born between 2006 and 2013 were recruited to VIHCS and invited to participate during trimester three, at 2 months postpartum, and 1 year postpartum. Parental mental health, substance use and socio-economic characteristics were assessed repeatedly throughout; infant characteristics were assessed postnatally and in infancy. Data will be supplemented by linkage to routine datasets. A further follow-up is underway as children reach 8 years of age. PRELIMINARY RESULTS: Of the 1307 infants born to VAHCS participants between 2006 and 2013, 1030 were recruited to VIHCS. At VIHCS study entry, 18% of recruited parents had preconception common mental disorder in adolescence and young adulthood, 18% smoked daily in adolescence and young adulthood, and 6% had not completed high school. Half of VIHCS infants were female (48%), 4% were from multiple births, and 7% were preterm (<37 weeks' gestation). CONCLUSIONS: Victorian Intergenerational Health Cohort Study is a prospective cohort of 1030 children with up to nine waves of preconception parental data and three waves of perinatal parental and infant data. These will allow examination of continuities of parental health and health risks from the decades before pregnancy to offspring childhood, and the contributions of exposures before pregnancy to offspring outcomes in childhood.
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    Alcohol and parenthood: An integrative analysis of the effects of transition to parenthood in three Australasian cohorts
    Borschmann, R ; Becker, D ; Spry, E ; Youssef, GJ ; Olsson, CA ; Hutchinson, DM ; Silins, E ; Boden, JM ; Moreno-Betancur, M ; Najman, JM ; Degenhardt, L ; Mattick, RP ; Romaniuk, H ; Horwood, LJ ; Patton, GC (ELSEVIER IRELAND LTD, 2019-04-01)
    AIMS: To determine the extent to which the transition to parenthood protects against heavy and problematic alcohol consumption in young men and women. DESIGN: Integrated participant-level data analysis from three population-based prospective Australasian cohort studies. SETTING: General community; participants from the Australian Temperament Study, the Christchurch Health and Development Study, and the Victorian Adolescent Health Cohort Study. MEASUREMENTS: Recent binge drinking, alcohol abuse/dependence and number of standard drinks consumed per occasion. FINDINGS: 4015 participants (2151 females; 54%) were assessed on four occasions between ages 21 and 35. Compared to women with children aged <12 months, women who had not transitioned to parenthood were more likely to meet the criteria for alcohol abuse/dependence (fully adjusted risk ratio [RR] 3.5; 95% CI 1.5-7.9) and to report recent binge drinking (RR 3.0; 95% CI 2.1-4.3). The proportion of women meeting the criteria for alcohol abuse/dependence and/or binge drinking increased with the age of participants' youngest child, as did the mean number of standard drinks consumed on each occasion (1.8 if the youngest child was <1 year of age vs. 3.6 for 5+ years of age). Associations between parenthood and male drinking behaviour were considerably weaker. CONCLUSIONS: For most women in their twenties and thirties, parenting a child <1 year of age was associated with reduced alcohol consumption. However, this protective effect diminished after 12 months with drinking levels close to pre-parenthood levels after five years. There was little change in male drinking with the transition to parenthood.
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    Associations between adrenarcheal hormones, amygdala functional connectivity and anxiety symptoms in children
    Barendse, MEA ; Simmons, JG ; Byrne, ML ; Patton, G ; Mundy, L ; Olsson, CA ; Seal, ML ; Allen, NB ; Whittle, S (PERGAMON-ELSEVIER SCIENCE LTD, 2018-11-01)
    OBJECTIVE: The transition from childhood to adolescence is a vulnerable period for the development of anxiety symptoms. There is some evidence that hormonal changes occurring during adrenarche, an early pubertal phase, might play a role in this increased vulnerability. Little is known about underlying brain mechanisms. Given the role of the amygdala-based fear circuit in anxiety, the current study aimed to investigate whether children's adrenarcheal hormone levels were associated with functional connectivity of the amygdala while processing fearful facial expressions, and how this in turn related to anxiety symptoms. METHOD: Participants were 83 children (M age 9.53 years) who completed two morning saliva collections to measure levels of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), its sulphate (DHEAS), and testosterone. They also completed the Spence Children's Anxiety Scale (SCAS), and viewed fearful and calm facial expressions while undergoing a functional MRI scan. Psychophysiological interaction (PPI) analyses were performed to examine amygdala connectivity and significant clusters were fed into a bootstrapping mediation model. RESULTS: In boys, mediation analyses showed an indirect positive effect of testosterone on anxiety symptoms, which was mediated by amygdala-secondary visual cortex connectivity as well as amygdala-anterior cingulate connectivity. In girls, DHEAS showed a negative indirect association with anxiety symptoms mediated by amygdala connectivity to the fusiform face area and insula. CONCLUSION: The results indicate unique roles for adrenarcheal hormones in anxiety and suggest that amygdala connectivity may represent an important neural mechanism in these associations. Importantly, results reveal prominent sex differences in the biological mechanisms associated with anxiety in children undergoing adrenarche.