Welcome to the 2000 Stories Victorian Adolescent Health Cohort Study and Victorian Intergenerational Health Cohort Study
The 2000 Stories: Victorian Adolescent Health Cohort Study (VAHCS) is a landmark longitudinal study spanning over 29 years. The project began in 1992, when a group of around 2000 Year 9 students across Victoria (14-15 years of age) were selected to participate. Our participants have so far completed six interviews at school age (from Years 9 - 12), and five interviews in adulthood (aged around 21, 24, 29, 35 and 42).
How the study is helping to improve the health of Australians
The first six surveys alone created one of the most comprehensive pictures of adolescent development in the world to date. We looked at many aspects of teenage health and behaviour, including mental health, personality and behaviour, school, family, and drug and alcohol use. This information has been used to improve the health of future generations by influencing policy and informing prevention programs. More recently, we have focussed on how teenage experiences, health and lifestyles may affect physical and emotional health in adulthood and in the next generation. Our findings have helped bring global attention to the important role of adolescence in shaping future health.
2000 Stories: The next generation
Many of our original 2000 stories participants have now had children of their own, creating the unique opportunity to explore the ways in which the health of one generation may be related to the next. The Victorian Intergenerational Health Cohort Study (VIHCS) was launched in 2006 and aims to understand the processes that might influence many aspects of health and wellbeing across generations. VIHCS looks at the processes of social and psychological development in childhood. It is one of the first studies in the world to embed a study of child development within an existing longitudinal study of parent psychosocial development.
Between 2006 and 2014 we recruited 1030 children from 665 of our original 2000 stories participants. We interviewed parents three times: during the pregnancy, around 2 months after birth, and again at the time of the child’s first birthday. During these interviews we learnt about our participants’ experiences of becoming a parent, including the social, emotional and lifestyle changes that take place with this transition.
We would like to thank the participants who gave their time to this part of the study – we know that it was a busy period in life and your input was greatly appreciated.
Childhood Phase: 2015 and Beyond
2000 Stories is currently completing the 4th wave of the Victorian Intergenerational Health Cohort Study (VIHCS). Since 2015 we have been following up with families who spoke to us when their children were babies as their child turns 8 years old. Through this project we are learning about their health and wellbeing as they grow up. Our aim is to better understand how the health of one generation impacts the health of the next generation.
Our family study participants were invited to attend a short interview either at the Royal Children’s Hospital or at their own home where the parents and child complete a survey about themselves. For participants unable to attend a face to face interview, we also arranged a phone or online interview. This has helped participants who may have moved interstate or overseas stay involved in our family study.
Since the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020, we have slightly changed the way we run our family interviews to ensure safety of our participants and staff. We now offer families a phone interview and then follow up with a brief COVID-Safe visit to their home to collect measurements from the child (in Melbourne and surrounds).
We hope that the information collected during this stage of the study will significantly improve our understanding of how to best promote the health and wellbeing of the next generation of Australians.
2000 Stories was awarded two prestigious National Health and Medical Research Council project grants to continue our important research into the mental health of Australians. The first of these grants enabled us to invite our original Victorian Adolescent Health Cohort Study participants for an eleventh time in 2020, as our participants reach their early forties. The focus of this research is developing an understanding of mental and substance use disorders across the first half of life and how early-life mental health and substance use effects midlife mental health and social outcomes. We asked participants about their mental health, substance use, personality and new topics for this age group like chronic pain, work stress and physical activity. We finished conducting the last of these interviews in the first half of 2021.
The second grant funded our important work with our family study participants and interviews with their children as they turn 8. This research seeks to understand how the adolescent and young adult behaviours and conditions of parents impact the lives of their children. It will also use new statistical modelling techniques to identify opportunities to make a difference in children’s mental health and development, between a parent’s adolescence through to the post-natal phase of a child’s life.
Many excellent studies Australia-wide applied for NHMRC grant funding from the Australian Government, so these awards are an incredible achievement and reflects the importance of this research and its potential to inform public health policy.