The Take A Breath (TAB) research program investigates the prevalence, trajectories and determinants of distress reactions in parents of children (aged 0–18 years) recently diagnosed with a serious childhood illness or injury (SCII), and evaluates an intervention designed to prevent more serious long-term mental health difficulties. Parental psychological adaption to their child’s SCII has been identified as a significant predictor of child and family psychosocial adjustment both in the short and longer term. A substantive body of descriptive research has established that posttraumatic stress symptoms and other psychological symptoms such as depression and anxiety are experienced by a significant subset of parents who have a child with a SCII.

The TAB Cohort Study is a prospective longitudinal study that explored resilience factors that contribute to good parent outcomes, and risk factors that are related to poor outcomes.

The TAB RCT is a randomised control trial evaluating the efficacy of an Acceptance Commitment Therapy-based group early intervention program for parents with persistent symptoms of distress. The TAB program was designed to reduce parental distress and improve psychosocial outcomes for parents, children and families and was developed by the TAB team and piloted in the TAB Cohort Study.

For both studies, participants included parents of children admitted to 4 different Royal Children’s Hospital (Melbourne, Australia) departments: Oncology, Cardiology, Neurology, and Intensive Care.

Time point T1
Within 4 weeks of
diagnosis/ admission/
4 months after
diagnosis/ admission/
7 months after
diagnosis/ admission/
19 months after
diagnosis/ admission/
Reported by Parent Parent
Child (7 – 18 years)
Child (7 – 18 years)
Child (7 – 18 years)
Year 2010 – 2012 2011 – 2012 2011 – 2013 2012 – 2014
Identifiers and miscellaneous
Behavioural problems
Condition specific information
Education and childcare
General health
Mental health
Neurocognitive development
Resilience and wellbeing
Speech, language and literacy
Temperament and personality
Linkage to other database(s)
Study Summary
Study name Take A Breath Cohort Study
Study abbreviation TAB
Current principal investigator/s Vicki Anderson
Frank Muscara
Meredith Rayner
Maria McCarthy
Kylie Burke
Jan Nicholson
Current project manager Frank Muscara
Primary Institution Murdoch Childrens Research Institute
Collaborating Institution/s The Royal Children’s Hospital
La Trobe University
Parenting Research Centre
The University of Queensland
Major funding sources The Pratt Foundation
Department of Human Services (via the Parenting Research Centre)
Study website
Key reference for study (published study protocol) Muscara, F., Burke, K., McCarthy, M.C., Anderson, V.A., Hearps, S.J.C., Hearps, S.J., Dimovski, A. and Nicholson, J.M. (2015). Parent distress reactions following a serious illness or injury in their child: A protocol paper for The Take a Breath Cohort Study, BMC Psychiatry, 15:153.
Are data available to others outside study team? Not at this stage
Study focus (e.g. social development) Parent mental health and outcomes, following a serious illness or injury in their child
Sampling frame Parents of children admitted to the Royal Children’s Hospital, in the following departments:
– Oncology
– Cardiology
– Neurology
– Intensive Care
Study type (e.g. randomised control trial, cohort, case-control) Prospective longitudinal cohort
Year commenced 2010
Ongoing recruitment? No
Commencement sample (N) 194 parents
Intergenerational (e.g. offspring)? No
Imaging (e.g. fMRI, ultrasound, retinal photograph)? No
Linkage (e.g. BioGrid, VPDC, NAPLAN, Medicare)? Medical records (limited)
Biosamples (e.g. buccal, blood, hair)? No
Ethics approvals or requirements (e.g. specific, extended, unspecified, other)? This project only (Specific consent)
Future research related to this project (Extended consent)

Project Manager

Frank Muscara

Study Contact

Ph: +613 9936 6653

Postal Address

Child Neuropsychology
West level 4
Murdoch Childrens Research Institute
The Royal Children’s Hospital
50 Flemington Road
VIC 3052