CATS Study

  • Background and aims

    CATS_study_logoThe Childhood to Adolescence Transition Study (CATS) is a unique longitudinal study following over 1200 children as they transition through adolescence. The study began in 2012 when children were in Grade 3 (8-9 years old) and attending primary schools in metropolitan Melbourne.

    Data collection takes place annually and comprises student, parent and teacher (primary school only) questionnaires completed online, over the phone or on paper. A sixth wave of data collection was successfully completed in 2017 with a participation rate of 85%. We are currently in our seventh wave, with the majority of participants in Year 9 (14-15 years of age).

    The focus of the study is on health and emotional development through the middle years of school. CATS is interested in the experiences of students and their families, their changing social contexts as they move into secondary school, and the biological changes of puberty.

    CATS will provide the most comprehensive overview of the association between pubertal development and the major health problems that become prevalent in early adolescence. The information collected as part of this large study will help us identify when and how to promote the best health and emotional adjustment in pre-teens.

    Key Papers

    Bayer, J. K., Mundy, L., Stokes, I., Hearps, S., Allen, N., & Patton, G. (2018). Bullying, mental health and friendship in Australian primary school children. Child and Adolescent Mental Health. Link

    Mundy, L. K., Canterford, L., Tucker, D., Bayer, J., Romaniuk, H., Sawyer, S., ... & Patton, G. (2017). Academic performance in primary school children with common emotional and behavioral problems. Journal of School Health87(8), 593-601. Link

    Mundy, L. K., Canterford, L., Kosola, S., Degenhardt, L., Allen, N. B., & Patton, G. C. (2017). Peer victimization and academic performance in primary school children. Academic pediatrics, 17(8), 830-836. Link

    Mundy, L. K., Canterford, L., Olds, T., Allen, N. B., & Patton, G. C. (2017). The association between electronic media and emotional and behavioral problems in late childhood. Academic pediatrics17(6), 620-624. Link

    Key reports

    CATS report_student wellbeing    CATS report_school_outcomes


    CATS is a collaborative study between the Commonwealth Department of Education and Training and the Victorian Department of Education and Training.


    Funding for the CATS study has been provided by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC); the Invergowrie Foundation; The Royal Children's Hospital (RCH) Foundation; Victorian Department of Education and Training (DET); Australian Government Department of Education and Training; Australian Rotary Health.

    Further information and digital media

    Further information about the CATS study can be found on the CATS website.

    You can also follow the CATS study on Facebook and Instagram.