The Child to Adult Transition Study (CATS)

CATS is an ongoing metropolitan Melbourne-based longitudinal study, which began in 2012 and has followed over 1200 children from grade 3 (8-9 years of age) and beyond as they transition through adolescence, and now into young adulthood. The young people are assessed once every year. CATS has also collected information from teachers throughout primary school, as well as from parents when their children were aged 8-14 years, and again at 16-17 years.

A main focus of the study is health, emotional and educational outcomes of children as they mature through the middle years (8-14 years), navigate the biological changes associated with puberty, and transition from primary to secondary school. CATS continues to explore these outcomes for young people and their families within the changing social contexts of the secondary school years and beyond. The information collected within this large study will help us identify when and how to promote the best health and emotional adjustment in young people.

Study Summary
Study name Child to Adult Transition Study
Study abbreviation CATS
Current principal investigator/s Susan Sawyer
Current project manager

Carolina Murphy

Primary Institution/s Murdoch Children’s Research Institute - MCRI
Collaborating Institution/s The University of Melbourne - UoM
University of South Australia
University of New South Wales
University College London Institute of Child Health, UK - UCL
La Trobe University
Major funding source/s National Health and Medical Research Council - NHMRC
Study website
Key reference for study Mundy, L.K., Simmons, J.G., Allen, N.B., Viner, R.M., Bayer, J.K., Olds, T., Williams, J., Olsson, C., Romaniuk, H., Mensah, F., Sawyer, S.M., Degenhardt, L., Alati, R., Wake, M., Jacka, F. and Patton, G.C.. Study protocol: the Childhood to Adolescence Transition Study (CATS). BMC Pediatr. 2013 Oct 8;13:160. doi: 10.1186/1471-2431-13-160
Study focus

The health and emotional development of children as they pass through puberty and the middle years of school, to improve the understanding of the many influences that effect the health and emotional adjustment during these transition years

Sampling frame

All Grade 3 students (8-9 years of age) from a stratified cluster sample of schools in Melbourne, Australia were invited to take part.

Primary study type Longitudinal cohort
Year commenced


Is this study ongoing? Yes - the study is ongoing
Ongoing recruitment? No
Sample size (N)


Survey data available? Yes
Imaging data available? Yes
Linkage to administrative dataset/s? Yes, linkage to (at least one) administrative dataset completed
Biosamples available? Yes
Are data available to others outside study team, with appropriate safeguards and structures in line with the cohort’s ethics and governance processes? Yes
Are there any costs associated with data/sample access for approved requests? There are usually no costs associated with access
Broadest type of participant consent available Extended consent (can be used for future ethically approved research related to this project)


Mundy LK, Canterford L, Moreno-Betancur M, Hoq M, Viner RM, Bayer JK, Lietz P, Redmond G, Patton GC. (2023). Learning outcomes in primary school children with emotional problems: a prospective cohort study. Child Adolesc Ment Health, 28(3), 377 - 384. DOI: 10.1111/camh.12607


Borschmann R, Mundy L, Canterford L, Moreno-Betancur M, Moran P, Allen N, Viner R, Degenhardt L, Kosola S, Fedyszyn I, Patton G. (2021). 533The psychosocial profiles of children aged 11-12 years who have self-harmed: A prospective cohort study International Journal of Epidemiology, 50(Supplement_1), dyab168.090. DOI: 10.1093/ije/dyab168.090

Dimov S, Mundy LK, Bayer JK, Jacka FN, Canterford L, Patton GC. (2021). Diet quality and mental health problems in late childhood. Nutr Neurosci, 24(1), 62 - 70. DOI: 10.1080/1028415X.2019.1592288

Fujikawa S, Mundy LK, Canterford L, Moreno-Betancur M, Patton GC. (2021). Bullying Across Late Childhood and Early Adolescence: A Prospective Cohort of Students Assessed Annually From Grades 3 to 8. Acad Pediatr, 21(2), 344 - 351. DOI: 10.1016/j.acap.2020.10.011

Goddings A-L, Viner RM, Mundy L, Romaniuk H, Molesworth C, Carlin JB, Allen NB, Patton GC. (2021). Growth and adrenarche: findings from the CATS observational study. Arch Dis Child, 106(10), 967 - 974. DOI: 10.1136/archdischild-2020-319341

Mundy LK, Canterford L, Moreno-Betancur M, Hoq M, Sawyer SM, Allen NB, Patton GC. (2021). Social networking and symptoms of depression and anxiety in early adolescence. Depress Anxiety, 38(5), 563 - 570. DOI: 10.1002/da.23117


Andreucci A, Campbell P, Mundy LK, Sawyer SM, Kosola S, Patton GC, Dunn KM. (2020). Sleep problems increase the risk of musculoskeletal pain in boys but not girls: a prospective cohort study. Eur J Pediatr, 179(11), 1711 - 1719. DOI: 10.1007/s00431-020-03667-8

Borschmann R, Mundy LK, Canterford L, Moreno-Betancur M, Moran PA, Allen NB, Viner RM, Degenhardt L, Kosola S, Fedyszyn I, Patton GC. (2020). Self-harm in primary school-aged children: Prospective cohort study. PLoS One, 15(11), e0242802. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0242802

Mundy LK, Canterford L, Hoq M, Olds T, Moreno-Betancur M, Sawyer S, Kosola S, Patton GC. (2020). Electronic media use and academic performance in late childhood: A longitudinal study. PLoS One, 15(9), e0237908. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0237908


Ellis R, Fernandes A, Simmons JG, Mundy L, Patton G, Allen NB, Whittle S. (2019). Relationships between adrenarcheal hormones, hippocampal volumes and depressive symptoms in children. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 104, 55 - 63. DOI: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2019.02.016


Barbosa C, Simmons JG, Vijayakumar N, Dudgeon P, Patton GC, Mundy LK, Allen NB, Whittle S. (2018). Interaction Between Parenting Styles and Adrenarcheal Timing Associated With Affective Brain Function in Late Childhood. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry, 57(9), 678 - 686.e4. DOI: 10.1016/j.jaac.2018.05.016

Barendse MEA, Simmons JG, Byrne ML, Patton G, Mundy L, Olsson CA, Seal ML, Allen NB, Whittle S. (2018). Associations between adrenarcheal hormones, amygdala functional connectivity and anxiety symptoms in children. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 97, 156 - 163. DOI: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2018.07.020

Bayer JK, Mundy L, Stokes I, Hearps S, Allen N, Patton G. (2018). Bullying, mental health and friendship in Australian primary school children. Child Adolesc Ment Health, 23(4), 334 - 340. DOI: 10.1111/camh.12261

Hughes EK, Mundy LK, Romaniuk H, Sawyer SM, Wake M, Williams J, Olds T, Allen NB, Patton GC. (2018). Body Image Dissatisfaction and the Adrenarchal Transition. J Adolesc Health, 63(5), 621 - 627. DOI: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2018.05.025


Byrne ML, Badcock PB, Simmons JG, Whittle S, Pettitt A, Olsson CA, Mundy LK, Patton GC, Allen NB. (2017). Self-reported parenting style is associated with children's inflammation and immune activation. J Fam Psychol, 31(3), 374 - 380. DOI: 10.1037/fam0000254

Evans-Whipp T, Mundy L, Miller E, Canterford L, Patton G, Sawyer S. (2017). The Effects on Schooling Outcomes of Early Developmental Vulnerabilities in Children .

Kosola S, Mundy LK, Sawyer SM, Canterford L, van der Windt DA, Dunn KM, Patton GC. (2017). Pain and learning in primary school: a population-based study. Pain, 158(9), 1825 - 1830. DOI: 10.1097/j.pain.0000000000000984

Mundy LK, Canterford L, Kosola S, Degenhardt L, Allen NB, Patton GC. (2017). Peer Victimization and Academic Performance in Primary School Children. Acad Pediatr, 17(8), 830 - 836. DOI: 10.1016/j.acap.2017.06.012

Mundy LK, Canterford L, Olds T, Allen NB, Patton GC. (2017). The Association Between Electronic Media and Emotional and Behavioral Problems in Late Childhood. Acad Pediatr, 17(6), 620 - 624. DOI: 10.1016/j.acap.2016.12.014

Mundy LK, Canterford L, Tucker D, Bayer J, Romaniuk H, Sawyer S, Lietz P, Redmond G, Proimos J, Allen N, Patton G. (2017). Academic Performance in Primary School Children With Common Emotional and Behavioral Problems. J Sch Health, 87(8), 593 - 601. DOI: 10.1111/josh.12531


Delany FM, Byrne ML, Whittle S, Simmons JG, Olsson C, Mundy LK, Patton GC, Allen NB. (2016). Depression, immune function, and early adrenarche in children. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 63, 228 - 234. DOI: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2015.10.003

Murray CR, Simmons JG, Allen NB, Byrne ML, Mundy LK, Seal ML, Patton GC, Olsson CA, Whittle S. (2016). Associations between dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) levels, pituitary volume, and social anxiety in children. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 64, 31 - 39. DOI: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2015.11.004

Simmons JG, Badcock PB, Whittle SL, Byrne ML, Mundy L, Patton GC, Olsson CA, Allen NB. (2016). The lifetime experience of traumatic events is associated with hair cortisol concentrations in community-based children. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 63, 276 - 281. DOI: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2015.10.004


Klauser P, Whittle S, Simmons JG, Byrne ML, Mundy LK, Patton GC, Fornito A, Allen NB. (2015). Reduced frontal white matter volume in children with early onset of adrenarche. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 52, 111 - 118. DOI: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2014.10.020

Mundy LK, Romaniuk H, Canterford L, Hearps S, Viner RM, Bayer JK, Simmons JG, Carlin JB, Allen NB, Patton GC. (2015). Adrenarche and the Emotional and Behavioral Problems of Late Childhood. J Adolesc Health, 57(6), 608 - 616. DOI: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2015.09.001

Whittle S, Simmons JG, Byrne ML, Strikwerda-Brown C, Kerestes R, Seal ML, Olsson CA, Dudgeon P, Mundy LK, Patton GC, Allen NB. (2015). Associations between early adrenarche, affective brain function and mental health in children. Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci, 10(9), 1282 - 1290. DOI: 10.1093/scan/nsv014


Simmons JG, Whittle SL, Patton GC, Dudgeon P, Olsson C, Byrne ML, Mundy LK, Seal ML, Allen NB. (2014). Study protocol: imaging brain development in the Childhood to Adolescence Transition Study (iCATS). BMC Pediatr, 14, 115. DOI: 10.1186/1471-2431-14-115


Mundy LK, Simmons JG, Allen NB, Viner RM, Bayer JK, Olds T, Williams J, Olsson C, Romaniuk H, Mensah F, Sawyer SM, Degenhardt L, Alati R, Wake M, Jacka F, Patton GC. (2013). Study protocol: the Childhood to Adolescence Transition Study (CATS). BMC Pediatr, 13, 160. DOI: 10.1186/1471-2431-13-160

Study Contacts
Principal investigator/s Susan Sawyer
Project manager

Carolina Murphy

Study Contact

Phone: +61 3 9345 6732
Address: Murdoch Children's Research Institute,
Royal Children’s Hospital
Flemington Road, Parkville
Victoria 3052 Australia