Information for participants and FAQ

Informative videos for participants


Doing measurements at home for the CATS study? Here is a video to help!

In the video below, a member of the CATS team will show you how to the DIY measuremnts at home. If you have any questions, please feel free to call us on (03) 9345 6732 or email us at


Doing a saliva sample for the CATS study at home? Watch below for a "how to..."

Have you been sent a saliva kit to do at home for the CATS study? 

In the video below, one of our team members will show you how to do a saliva sample at home. If you have any questions, please feel free to call the team on (03) 9345 6732 or email us at

Participating in iCATS?

iCATS is an extension of the larger Childhood to Adolescence Transition Study (CATS).The iCATS study is investigating the relationships between health and puberty by looking at brain development. iCATS collected information from 120 children who took part in CATS, as well as brain images of 100 of these children!  

If you'd like any further information, please contact us at one of the numbers below.

Chief Investigators
Prof Nick Allen and Prof George Patton

Study Manager
Dr Julian Simmons

Research Assistants
Dr Michelle Byrne, Dr Becci Davenport, Ms Rachel Ellis, Dr Megan Dennison and Ms Renee Lichter

SMS:          0405 581 085
Phone:       (03) 8344 1845 or 0405 581 085

Watch a video of a brain scan here!

Frequently Asked Questions

During the transition from childhood to adolescence we know that there is an increase in many common health problems and these problems often persist into adulthood. These include depression and anxiety, substance use, antisocial behaviours, eating disorders and poorer academic outcomes. For some children it is during these years that disengagement from school becomes a major problem too. The CATS study will be looking at the emotional and behavioural problems that emerge at this time as well as modifiable factors that may be a target for prevention and intervention. We are interested in the factors that promote healthy development during this time and our ultimate goal is to make these formative years a positive time for parents and children. 

We will collect a small sample of saliva (spit) from your child. This will allow us to see if the hormonal changes of puberty have begun. These hormones are present in all children of late primary-school age. The saliva sample is collected in a small plastic tube and full instructions will be given by our qualified research team. The tubes are labelled with a unique ID number- no names are stored with the sample. If you have consented for a sample of your child's saliva to be stored, the sample will be kept at the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute. If you would like to know more about this process contact the CATS team. 

If you have recently moved or have changed your contact details, please let the CATS team know by either calling us on (03) 9345 6732 or sending an email to As the CATS study will be following its participants over an extended period, it is really important that we are able to contact participants to keep in touch.

If three or more students are absent, we will make arrangements to re-visit the school at a time that is suitable. Otherwise, we will contact you to arrange an alternative arrangement for collecting the data, like visiting your home. If this is not possible, we will come back and visit them next year. Parents and teachers will still have the opportunity to complete a questionnaire.

Data from a study such as CATS takes some time to be analysed and published as we need to make sure all of the information has been entered correctly and there are no errors. Data from Wave 1 (Grade 3) has finished being analysed and we now have two papers published from this data! We have also provided you with some updates in each of our annual newsletters, which you can download on the News and Publications page. We are also excited to inform you that in early 2016 every family will receive our End of Primary School Report - this will provide you with a snapshot of the first four years of CATS and some of the interesting things we have found.

Here are a couple of helpful suggestion:

  • Please only use Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox, as the questionnaire works best with these internet browsers. You can download these for free by searching 'Google Chrome' or 'Mozilla Firefox' online. 
  • Unfortunately the questionnaire is not set up for smart phones or tablets, so please try to complete it on a computer to avoid technical problems.

If you are still having difficulties accessing the questionnaire, please contact the CATS team.

As the CATS Study is a longitudinal study, we will be collecting information about students and their families for five years. If for some reason we are unable to contact you on your listed numbers or email address, we ask that you provide us with the details of someone who will always know how to contact you. This could be your partner, other family member or a close friend. This information will only be used to get in touch with you, and will not be part of the research project in any way. To update your alternative contact person, please email or call (03) 9345 6732.