The Mater Misericordiae Mothers’ Hospital-University of Queensland Study of Pregnancy began as a prospective study of 8,556 pregnant women interviewed after their first clinic visit. The initial phase of data collection commenced in 1981. Later phases have collected data on both mother and child a various times after the children were born: when the children were around the ages of six months, five years, fourteen and twenty-one years old.

Between 2009 and 2012, we followed-up with the Mothers separately to focus on the midlife experiences of women. The 30-year phase, between 2011 and 2014, followed-up with the children, rather, young adults of the study.  This phase of the study was especially interested in the specific developmental path and risk factors for conditions such as obesity, metabolic syndrome and diabetes, and mental health.

In 2015 – 2019 a new phase of the study was conducted this time looking at the third generation of participants, the grandchildren of our original Mothers. The phase investigated the generational and developmental pathways of childhood and adolescent obesity and the transmission of antisocial behaviour across three generations. MUSP is one of only a handful of studies worldwide that is able to examine whether maternal pregnancy, early childhood and puberty are critical periods for the development of obesity and behavioural problems.

In 2020 an exciting new phase of the study commenced. This phase of the study will investigate the incidence of child and adolescent experiences of victimisation in Australia. This study will explore the extent to which children and adolescents experience victimisation in Australia and the factors that contribute to this victimisation. This study will address widespread concerns about the experiences of violence by Australian children. No previous Australian population-based studies have addressed this issue.


Study name The Mater-University of Queensland Study of Pregnancy
Study abbreviation MUSP
Current principal investigator/s Prof. Jake Najman, Dr William Bor, Prof. Gail Williams, A/Prof. Alexandra (Zandy) Clavarino, A/Prof. Abdullah Al Mamun, Prof. Rosa Alati, A/Prof. James Scott, A/Prof Tara McGee
Current project manager Ms Shelby Marrington 
Cohort representative (study contact) Prof. Jake Najman
Postal address School of Public Health, Level 2, Public Health Building (887), Corner of Herston Road & Wyndham Street, The University of Queensland, Herston QLD 4006, Australia
Phone +61 7 3365 5180 

Primary Institution The University of Queensland
Collaborating Institution/s The Mater Hospital
Major funding sources This project has been funded by The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and the Australian Research Council (ARC), via competitive research grants.
Study website
Key reference

Najman JM, Bor W, O’Callaghan M, Williams GM, Aird R and Shuttlewood G. 2005. ‘Cohort profile: The Mater-University of Queensland Study of Pregnancy (MUSP)’. International Journal of Epidemiology, 34(5), 992-997. doi: 10.1093/ije/dyi119

Najman JM, Alati R, Bor W, Clavarino A, Mamun A, McGrath JJ, McIntyre D, O’Callaghan M, Scott J, Shuttlewood G, Williams GM and Wray N. 2015. ‘Cohort Profile Update: The Mater-University of Queensland Study of Pregnancy (MUSP).’ International Journal of Epidemiology, 44(1), 78-78f. doi: 10.1093/ije/dyu234 

Are data available outside study team? Collaborations can be sought by contacting Prof Jake Najman. Agreement by all principal investigators is needed for collaboration. Data is made available on a case-by-case basis.
Study focus MUSP has become a longitudinal study of growth, development and ageing with an emphasis on the generational transmission of a wide range of factors impacting on adult health outcomes. Some of the topic areas include (but are not limited to), mental illness, substance use, obesity (and body mass index [BMI]), cardiovascular disease (CVD), and social determinants of health.
Sampling frame MUSP began as a cohort study of some 8556 consecutive, pregnant women recruited at their first antenatal visit at the Mater Hospital in Brisbane, Australia.
Year commenced 1981 -1983 (Recruitment)
Commencement sample Mothers (Gen1) = 6753
Children (Gen2) = 7223
Intergenerational? Mothers = Generation 1 (Gen1)
Children = Generation 2 (Gen2)
Offspring of Gen2 = Generation 3 (Gen3)

2000 – Child Protection Data
Queensland Dept of Family Services

2022 – National Death Index (AIHW)

Biosamples? Buccal (Gen2), blood (Gen2), urine (Gen2),saliva (Gen3)
Ethics approvals or requirements?
  • Participant consent (each data collection phase)
  • Ethical approval – The University of Queensland Ethics Committee (all data collection phases) and The Mater Hospital Ethics Committee (selected data collection phases)


Wave Year Age (mean, range) Eligible sample
1  Entry to the study

  • Mother (Gen1)
 1981-1984 25.0 (13.2-46.9)

Mothers (Gen1) N = 6753

Children (Gen2) N = 7223

2  3-5 days after birth

  • Mother (Gen1)
 1981-1984 25.4 (13.4-47.4)

Mothers (Gen1) N = 6753

Children (Gen2) N = 7223

3  6 months after birth

  • Mother (Gen1)
 1981 – 1985

 26.1 (14.0-48.1)

0.6 (0.3-2.0)

Mothers (Gen1) N = 6753

Children (Gen2) N = 7223

4  5 years after birth

  • Mother (Gen1) & Child (Gen2)
1986 – 1989

31.3 (18.6-52.4)

5.6 (3.9-8.0) 

Mothers (Gen1) N = 6678

Children (Gen2) N = 7144

5  14 years after birth

  • Mother (Gen1) & Child (Gen2)
1994 – 1997

39.7 (27.1-61.2)

13.9 (12.1-15.5)

Mothers (Gen1) N = 6538

Children (Gen2) N = 6988

6   21 years after birth

  • Mother (Gen1) & Child (Gen2)
2001 – 2004

46.6 (34.3-67.4)

20.6 (18.2-24.3)

Mothers (Gen1) N = 6402

Children (Gen2) N = 6824

7   27 years after birth  

  • Mother (Gen1)
2008 – 2012 53.3 (40.8-73.9) Mothers (Gen1) N = 6236

8   30 years after birth

  • Child (Gen2)
2011 – 2014 30.3 (27.8-33.5) Children (Gen2) N = 6721


  • Sub-sample of Child (Gen2)
2013 – 2014 31.4 (29.1,33.5)

Participants with Hallucinations N =1108

Controls N = 550

10   MUSP Gen3

  • Generation 3 children (Offspring of Gen2)
2015 – 2019 6.9 (2.0-19.1)

Gen 3 children (aged 2yrs old and up)

Approx. N = 3250

11   MUSP G3 Child Victimisation

  • Generation 3 children (Offspring of Gen2)
2020 – 2023 TBC

Gen 3 children (aged 2yrs old and up)