The Childhood to Adolescence Transition Study (CATS) is the first study to look in detail at a large group of students as they make the transition from childhood to adolescence.
We aim to improve our understanding of the many factors that influence a student's health and emotional wellbeing as they transition through their teenage years.
CATS is based in the Population Health Studies of Adolescents group at the Murdoch Children's Research Institute.
Students have been followed since Grade 3 when they were 8-9 years of age. We catch up with students every year for a new 'wave' of data collection. In 2018, CATS will be in wave 7. Details of each wave so far can be found below.
Wave 7 is being conducted throughout 2018, when students will be in Year 9. During this wave, students will have their questionnaires sent home. Similar to wave 6, they will be able to complete their questionnaire online, by post or on the phone. They will also be asked to provide their height and weight measurements.
In Wave 7, parents will not be asked to complete a questionnaire.
Wave 6 is took place in 2017. Students attending a CATS high school were able to complete their questionnaire at school, and have their height and weight measured. Many students who were not seen at school completed their questionnaire and measurements at home, either online, by post, or on the phone. We also asked parents to complete a short questionnaire.
Now in their first year of high school, CATS students had moved from 50 primary schools to over 250 high schools. As such, visiting all students at their new high school was not possible. Instead, we recruited 47 high schools with large numbers of CATS students. We continued to see these students at high school, where they completed their questionnaire and had their height and weight measured.
We asked students who weren't seen at their school to complete their questionnaire at home, and measure their height and weight using a DIY kit that we posted in the mail. We asked parents to complete a questionnaire. There were no teacher questionnaires.
Wave 5 data is in the process of being linked with NAPLAN (national achievement test) data. NAPLAN data will now be linked to CATS data from when students were in Years 3, 5 and 7.
Wave 4 was conducted in 2015. Now in their final year of primary school, Year 6 students completed a questionnaire and had their height, weight and waist circumference measured. Again, students provided a saliva sample. Those who had moved away from their primary school completed their questionnaires at local community centres or at home visits. Parents and teachers completed a questionnaire.
In 2014 students were in Year 5 and we approached them for their third CATS session. As with Waves 1 and 2, we measured their height, weight and waist circumference; they also provided a saliva sample. If students had moved away from their primary school, they completed questionnaires at local community centres or at home visits. Parents and teachers also completed a questionnaire.
Wave 3 data was linked with NAPLAN (national achievement test) data (as with Wave 1 data).
Wave 2 was conducted in 2013. Now in Year 4, all students attended their annual CATS session at their primary school. We measured students height, weight and waist circumference, and they provided a saliva sample. Parents and teachers also completed a questionnaire.
We invited over 1,200 Victorian Year 3 students from across 43 primary schools to take part.
Students completed a 20-minute questionnaire and had their height, weight and waist circumference measured. They also provided a saliva sample. Saliva provides information about hormone levels and timing of puberty. Parents and teachers also completed a questionnaire about the child’s health and growth, food habits, personality and feelings.
The data from Wave 1 was linked to NAPLAN (national achievement test) data. NAPLAN is a national assessment program to assess the academic performance of all students across Australia. NAPLAN is conducted on over one million Year 3, 5, 7 and 9 students each year. This assessment provides valuable information about the literacy and numeracy achievements of students across the country. By linking health and educational data, we can measure the effects of various health problems on academic performance.