The Future Proofing Study: Design, methods and baseline characteristics of a prospective cohort study of the mental health of Australian adolescents

Aliza Werner-Seidler, Kate Maston, Alison L. Calear, Philip J. Batterham, Mark E. Larsen, Michelle Torok, Bridianne O’Dea, Kit Huckvale, Joanne R. Beames, Lyndsay Brown, Hiroko Fujimoto, Alexandra Bartholomew, Debopriyo Bal, Susanne Schweizer, S. Rachel Skinner, Katharine Steinbeck, Julie Ratcliffe, Ju-Lee Oei, Svetha Venkatesh, Raghu LingamYael Perry, Jennifer L. Hudson, Katherine M. Boydell, Andrew Mackinnon, Helen Christensen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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Objectives: The Future Proofing Study (FPS) was established to examine factors associated with the onset and course of mental health conditions during adolescence. This paper describes the design, methods, and baseline characteristics of the FPS cohort. 

Methods: The FPS is an Australian school-based prospective cohort study with an embedded cluster-randomized controlled trial examining the effects of digital prevention programs on mental health. Data sources include self-report questionnaires, cognitive functioning, linkage to health and education records, and smartphone sensor data. Participants are assessed annually for 5 years.

Results: The baseline cohort (N = 6388, M = 13.9 years) is broadly representative of the Australian adolescent population. The clinical profile of participants is comparable to other population estimates. Overall, 15.1% of the cohort met the clinical threshold for depression, 18.6% for anxiety, 31.6% for psychological distress, and 4.9% for suicidal ideation. These rates were significantly higher in adolescents who identified as female, gender diverse, sexuality diverse, or Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander (all ps < 0.05). 

Conclusions: This paper provides current and comprehensive data about the status of adolescent mental health in Australia. The FPS cohort is expected to provide significant insights into the risk, protective, and mediating factors associated with development of mental health conditions during adolescence.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1954
Number of pages19
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 28 Nov 2022


  • adolescent development
  • cohort profile
  • developmental psychology
  • mental health and wellbeing
  • school mental health


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