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Australian Temperament Project

  • Study Overview

    Generation 3 Australian Temperament ProjectThe  Australian Temperament Project (ATP) is one of the longest running studies of social and emotional development in Australia. The study is based on a representative sample of over 2000 Australian children born in the state of Victoria, between September 1982 and January 1983. Since then, parents (Generation 1) and their offspring (Generation 2) have been followed for over 30 years (15 waves) across childhood, adolescence and into adult life.

    The  ATP Generation 3 Study (ATPGen3) builds on the foundations of the ATP by following over 1000 cohort offspring (Generation 3) from late pregnancy to 4 years of age (5 waves). The study assesses parental emotional health, the parent-child relationship (including observational assessments of infant attachment and parental caregiving behaviour), and offspring social and emotional development. The study has also been set-up to study biological (epigenetic) processes linking generations. 

    About Us

    The ATP began in 1983 as a collaboration between the Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne and La Trobe University, Victoria Australia. Over time the collaboration has expanded to include The University of Melbourne (Department of Paediatrics), The Australian Institute of Family Studies, Deakin University (Centre for Social and Early Emotional Development), the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, the University of New South Wales, and Otago University (New Zealand).

    The ATP Generation 3 Project is based within the Department of Paediatrics, The University of Melbourne, located within the Royal Children’s Hospital, and is funded through National Health and Medical Research and Australian Research Council Grants awarded through the Centre for Social and Early Emotional Development. Professor Craig Olsson is the Scientific Director. Read more about the project team here.

    Key papers

    You can find a complete list of ATP publications on our website.


    Letcher, P.,  Greenwood., C., Romaniuk, H., Spry, E., Macdonald, J., McAnally, H., Thomson, K., Youssef, G., Hutchinson, D., McIntosh, J., Sanson, A., Ryan, J., Edwards, B., Sligo, J., Hancox, R.J., Patton, G.C., & Olsson, C.A. (2020). Adolescent and young adult mental health problems and infant offspring behavior: Findings from a prospective intergenerational cohort studyJournal of Affective Disorders.

    Thomson, K., Romaniuk, H., Greenwood, C., Letcher, P., Spry, E., Macdonald, J.A., McAnally, H.M., Youssef, G., McIntosh, J., Hutchinson, D., Hancox, R.J., Patton G.C., & Olsson, C. (2020). Adolescent antecedents of maternal and paternal perinatal depression: A 36-year prospective cohortPsychological Medicine

    Betts, K. S., Alati, R., Baker, P., Letcher, P., Hutchinson, D., Youssef, G., & Olsson, C. A. (2018). The natural history of risky drinking and associated harms from adolescence to young adulthood: findings from the Australian Temperament Project. Psychological medicine48(1), 23-32.

    Hawkins, M. T., Letcher, P., O’Connor, M., Bant, S., Deery, A., Sanson, A., ... & Olsson, C. A. (2017). The Structural Stability of Positive Development Across Young Adulthood: Longitudinal Findings From the Australian Temperament ProjectEmerging Adulthood5(5), 322-336. 

    Vassallo, S., & Sanson, A. (Eds.) (2013). The Australian Temperament Project: The first 30 years. Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies.  

    Digital media

    You can find all you need to know about the Australian Temperament Project (ATP) and the Generation 3 study, including news, contact details, and information for participants and collaborating researchers at our central website.

    Study participants can also update their contact details here

    We also invite you to stay up to date with the ATP Generation 3 Study via our  Facebook page.

    Contact Us

    T: +61 (0)3 9345 4129