To examine transgenerational (pre-conception) determinants of infant mental health, attachment and wellbeing.


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: Generation 3 Cohort Study
Study abbreviation ATP Gen3
Current principal investigator/s Professor Craig Olsson – ATP Scientific Director 
Current project manager Dr Primrose Letcher
Cohort representative (study contact) Professor 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
Major funding sources National Health and Medical Research Council; Australian Research Council; Murdoch Childrens Research Institute
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. Available from: 
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 To examine transgenerational (pre-conception) determinants of infant mental health, attachment and wellbeing
Sampling frame ATP participants who were pregnant (or partner is pregnant) or had a child aged 11-18 months old
Year commenced 2011
Commencement sample 714 children assessed at Wave 4 (12 months), from 504 families (as of October 2016) 
Intergenerational? Yes, 3 generations
Imaging Foetal ultrasound on a 100 participant sub-sample during third trimester of pregnancy
Linkage Victorian Perinatal Data Collection – consent to link, linkage yet to occur
Biosamples? Buccal/saliva, hair
Ethics approvals or requirements? Consent is obtained to collect data at each wave. Participants are advised that their de-identified data may be shared with individuals or consortia. Participants are asked to provide consent to their child providing a cheek swab that will be held indefinitely (unless they request for it to be destroyed) and used in future ethically approved research projects related to this project. Additionally, they are asked to nominate if they wish to be contacted if researchers would like to use their child’s DNA sample for research beyond that related to social and emotional development.


Wave Year Age (mean, range) Eligible sample
1  2012 – 2019 32-40 weeks gestation 737
2  2014 – 2019 8-12 weeks 555
3  2012 – 2020 12-18 months 1086
4  2015 – ongoing 4-6 years In progress
5  2021 – ongoing 9-11 years In progress