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Study protocol: the childhood to adolescence transition study (CATS)

Mundy, Lisa K, Simmons, Julian G, Allen, Nicholas B, Viner, Russell M, Bayer, Jordana K, Olds, Timothy, Williams, Jo, Olsson, Craig, Romaniuk, Helena, Mensah, Fiona, Sawyer, Susan M, Degenhardt, Louisa, Alati, Rosa, Wake, Melissa, Jacka, Felice and Patton, George C 2013, Study protocol: the childhood to adolescence transition study (CATS), BMC Pediatrics, vol. 13, no. 160, pp. 1-13, doi: 10.1186/1471-2431-13-160.

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Title Study protocol: the childhood to adolescence transition study (CATS)
Author(s) Mundy, Lisa K
Simmons, Julian G
Allen, Nicholas B
Viner, Russell M
Bayer, Jordana K
Olds, Timothy
Williams, JoORCID iD for Williams, Jo
Olsson, CraigORCID iD for Olsson, Craig
Romaniuk, Helena
Mensah, Fiona
Sawyer, Susan M
Degenhardt, Louisa
Alati, Rosa
Wake, Melissa
Jacka, FeliceORCID iD for Jacka, Felice
Patton, George C
Journal name BMC Pediatrics
Volume number 13
Issue number 160
Start page 1
End page 13
Total pages 13
Publisher BioMed Central
Place of publication London, UK
Publication date 2013
ISSN 1471-2431
Keyword(s) Puberty
Cohort studies
Public health
Summary Background
Puberty is a multifaceted developmental process that begins in late-childhood with a cascade of endocrine changes that ultimately lead to sexual maturation and reproductive capability. The transition through puberty is marked by an increased risk for the onset of a range of health problems, particularly those related to the control of behaviour and emotion. Early onset puberty is associated with a greater risk of cancers of the reproductive tract and cardiovascular disease. Previous studies have had methodological limitations and have tended to view puberty as a unitary process, with little distinction between adrenarche, gonadarche and linear growth. The Childhood to Adolescence Transition Study (CATS) aims to prospectively examine associations between the timing and stage of the different hormonally-mediated changes, as well as the onset and course of common health and behavioural problems that emerge in the transition from childhood to adolescence. The initial focus of CATS is on adrenarche, the first hormonal process in the pubertal cascade, which begins for most children at around 8 years of age.


CATS is a longitudinal population-based cohort study. All Grade 3 students (8–9 years of age) from a stratified cluster sample of schools in Melbourne, Australia were invited to take part. In total, 1239 students and a parent/guardian were recruited to participate in the study. Measures are repeated annually and comprise student, parent and teacher questionnaires, and student anthropometric measurements. A saliva sample was collected from students at baseline and will be repeated at later waves, with the primary purpose of measuring hormonal indices of adrenarche and gonadarche.


CATS is uniquely placed to capture biological and phenotypic indices of the pubertal process from its earliest manifestations, together with anthropometric measures and assessment of child health and development. The cohort will provide rich detail of the development, lifestyle, external circumstances and health of children during the transition from childhood through to adolescence. Baseline associations between the hormonal measures and measures of mental health and behaviour will initially be examined cross-sectionally, and then in later waves longitudinally. CATS will make a unique contribution to the understanding of adrenarche and puberty in children’s health and development.
Language eng
DOI 10.1186/1471-2431-13-160
Field of Research 119999 Medical and Health Sciences not elsewhere classified
Socio Economic Objective 970111 Expanding Knowledge in the Medical and Health Sciences
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2013, BioMed Central
Free to Read? Yes
Persistent URL

Document type: Journal Article
Collections: School of Psychology
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