The Australian Temperament Project (ATP) is one of 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 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.


Study name Australian Temperament Project
Study abbreviation ATP
Current principal investigator/s Professor Craig Olsson – ATP Scientific Director
Current project manager Dr Primrose Letcher
Cohort representative (study contact) Prof Craig Olsson
Postal address Australian Temperament Project, Level 2 West, Department of Paediatrics, Royal Children’s Hospital, Parkville Victoria, 3052
Phone +613 9345 4129
Primary Institution The Royal Children’s Hospital (The Department of Paediatrics)
Collaborating Institution/s Murdoch Childrens Research Institute; University of Melbourne; Deakin University; Australian Institute of Family Studies; LaTrobe University
Major funding sources National Health and Medical Research Council; Australian Research Council; Murdoch Childrens Research Institute; R.E. Ross Trust; Crime Prevention Victoria; RACV; TAC
Study website
Key reference Vassallo, S. and Sanson, A. (Eds.). (2013). The Australian Temperament Project: The first 30 years. Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies.
Are data available outside study team? All data requests to be submitted through ATP Publications team. Occasionally we work with external collaborators to study a particular issue. ATP team members remain closely involved and only de-identified data is provided
Study focus Young people’s psychosocial development from infancy to adulthood, investigating the contribution of individual (including temperament and behaviour), family, peer and broader environmental factors to adjustment and wellbeing
Sampling frame Families with a 4-8 month old child who attended local urban or rural maternal and child health centres in one of twenty LGA areas in Victoria between 22nd April and 6th of May 1983
Year commenced 1983
Commencement sample 2443
Annual attrition rate 0.01
Intergenerational? Yes, 3 generations
Imaging No
Linkage No 
Biosamples? Buccal (generation 2) 
Ethics approvals or requirements? This project only (Specific consent)
Future research related to this project (Extended consent)


Wave Year Age (mean, range) Eligible sample
1  1983 4-8 months 2443
2 1984 1-2 years / 18-24 months 2226
3 1985 2-3 years / 32-36 months 2234
4 1986 3-4 years 2286
5 1988 5-6 years 1785
6 1990 7-8 years 1874
7 1992 9-10 years 1799
8 1994 11-12 years 1743
9 1995 12-13 years 1661
10 1996 13-14 years 1670
11 1998 15-16 years 1666
12 2000 17-18 years 1650
13 2002 19-20 years 1580
14 2006 23-24 years 1505
15 2010 27-28 years 1701
16 2014 31-32 years 1701