Skip to main content Accessibility help

Twenty-Five and Up (25Up) Study: A New Wave of the Brisbane Longitudinal Twin Study

  • Brittany L. Mitchell (a1) (a2), Adrian I. Campos (a1) (a3), Miguel E. Rentería (a1) (a2) (a3), Richard Parker (a1), Lenore Sullivan (a1), Kerrie McAloney (a1), Baptiste Couvy-Duchesne (a4) (a5), Sarah E. Medland (a1), Nathan A. Gillespie (a6), Jan Scott (a7) (a8), Brendan P. Zietsch (a9), Penelope A. Lind (a1), Nicholas G. Martin (a1) and Ian B. Hickie (a7)...


The aim of the 25 and Up (25Up) study was to assess a wide range of psychological and behavioral risk factors behind mental illness in a large cohort of Australian twins and their non-twin siblings. Participants had already been studied longitudinally from the age of 12 and most recently in the 19Up study (mean age = 26.1 years, SD = 4.1, range = 20–39). This subsequent wave follows up these twins several years later in life (mean age = 29.7 years, SD = 2.2, range =  22–44). The resulting data set enables additional detailed investigations of genetic pathways underlying psychiatric illnesses in the Brisbane Longitudinal Twin Study (BLTS). Data were collected between 2016 and 2018 from 2540 twins and their non-twin siblings (59% female, including 341 monozygotic complete twin-pairs, 415 dizygotic complete pairs and 1028 non-twin siblings and singletons). Participants were from South-East Queensland, Australia, and the sample was of predominantly European ancestry. The 25Up study collected information on 20 different mental disorders, including depression, anxiety, substance use, psychosis, bipolar and attention-deficit hyper-activity disorder, as well as general demographic information such as occupation, education level, number of children, self-perceived IQ and household environment. In this article, we describe the prevalence, comorbidities and age of onset for all 20 examined disorders. The 25Up study also assessed general and physical health, including physical activity, sleep patterns, eating behaviors, baldness, acne, migraines and allergies, as well as psychosocial items such as suicidality, perceived stress, loneliness, aggression, sleep–wake cycle, sexual identity and preferences, technology and internet use, traumatic life events, gambling and cyberbullying. In addition, 25Up assessed female health traits such as morning sickness, breastfeeding and endometriosis. Furthermore, given that the 25Up study is an extension of previous BLTS studies, 86% of participants have already been genotyped. This rich resource will enable the assessment of epidemiological risk factors, as well as the heritability and genetic correlations of mental conditions.


Corresponding author

Author for correspondence: Brittany L. Mitchell, Email:


Hide All

Authors contributed equally.



Hide All
American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Washington, DC.
Anttila, V., Bulik-Sullivan, B., Finucane, H. K., Walters, R. K., Bras, J., Duncan, L., … Malik, R. (2018). Analysis of shared heritability in common disorders of the brain. Science, 360, eaap8757.
Avenevoli, S., Swendsen, J., He, J.-P., Burstein, M., & Merikangas, K. R. (2015). Major depression in the National Comorbidity Survey — Adolescent Supplement: Prevalence, correlates, and treatment. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 54, 3744.
Bandelow, B., & Michaelis, S. (2015). Epidemiology of anxiety disorders in the 21st century. Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience, 17, 327335.
Bulik-Sullivan, B., Finucane, H. K., Anttila, V., Gusev, A., Day, F. R., Loh, P.-R., … Robinson, E. B. (2015). An atlas of genetic correlations across human diseases and traits. Nature Genetics, 47, 1236.
Cance, J. D., Ennett, S. T., Morgan-Lopez, A. A., & Foshee, V. A. (2012). The stability of perceived pubertal timing across adolescence. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 41, 764775.
Chang, L.-H., Couvy-Duchesne, B., Medland, S. E., Gillespie, N. A., Hickie, I. B., Parker, R., & Martin, N. G. (2018). The genetic relationship between psychological distress, somatic distress, affective disorders, and substance use in young australian adults: A multivariate twin study. Twin Research and Human Genetics, 21, 347360.
Cosgrove, V. E., Rhee, S. H., Gelhorn, H. L., Boeldt, D., Corley, R. C., Ehringer, M. A., … Hewitt, J. K. (2011). Structure and etiology of co-occurring internalizing and externalizing disorders in adolescents. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 39, 109123.
Costa, P. T., & McCrae, R. R. (1992). Normal personality assessment in clinical practice: The NEO Personality Inventory. Psychological Assessment, 4, 513.
Couvy-Duchesne, B., O’Callaghan, V., Parker, R., Mills, N., Kirk, K. M., Scott, J., … Davenport, T. A. (2018). Nineteen and Up study (19Up): understanding pathways to mental health disorders in young Australian twins. BMJ Open, 8, e018959.
Crowe, R. R., Noyes, R., Pauls, D. L., & Slymen, D. (1983). A family study of panic disorder. Archives of General Psychiatry, 40, 10651069.
Department of Health. (2009). Prevalence of mental disorders in the Australian population. Retrieved from
Galea, S., Nandi, A., & Vlahov, D. (2005). The epidemiology of post-traumatic stress disorder after disasters. Epidemiologic Reviews, 27, 7891.
Gavranidou, M., & Rosner, R. (2003). The weaker sex? Gender and post-traumatic stress disorder. Depression and Anxiety, 17, 130139.
Gillespie, N. A., Henders, A. K., Davenport, T. A., Hermens, D. F., Wright, M. J., Martin, N. G., & Hickie, I. B. (2013). The Brisbane Longitudinal Twin Study: Pathways to Cannabis Use, Abuse, and Dependence project — Current status, preliminary results, and future directions. Twin Research and Human Genetics, 16, 2133.
Gillespie, N. A., Neale, M. C., Bates, T. C., Eyler, L. T., Fennema-Notestine, C., Vassileva, J., … Thompson, P. M. (2018). Testing associations between cannabis use and subcortical volumes in two large population-based samples. Addiction. Advance online publication.
Gillespie, N. A., Neale, M. C., & Kendler, K. S. (2009). Pathways to cannabis abuse: A multi-stage model from cannabis availability, cannabis initiation and progression to abuse. Addiction, 104, 430438.
Gorman, J. M. (1996). Comorbid depression and anxiety spectrum disorders. Depression and Anxiety, 4, 160168.
Grant, J. E. (2014). Obsessive–compulsive disorder. New England Journal of Medicine, 371, 646653.
Hickie, I. B., Davenport, T. A., Hadzi-Paviovic, D., Koschera, A., Naismith, S. L., Scott, E. M., & Wilhelm, K. A. (2001). Development of a simple screening tool for common mental disorders in general practice. Medical Journal of Australia, 175, S10S17.
Hudson, J. I., Hiripi, E., Pope, H. G. Jr, & Kessler, R. C. (2007). The prevalence and correlates of eating disorders in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication. Biological Psychiatry, 61, 348358.
Joel, D., Tarrasch, R., Berman, Z., Mukamel, M., & Ziv, E. (2014). Queering gender: Studying gender identity in ‘normative’ individuals. Psychology & Sexuality, 5, 291321.
Johnson, S. L. (2004). Defining bipolar disorder. In Johnson, S. L. & Leahy, R. L. (Eds.), Psychological treatment of bipolar disorder (pp. 316). New York, NY: The Guilford Press.
Karno, M., Golding, J. M., Sorenson, S. B., & Burnam, M. A. (1988). The epidemiology of obsessive-compulsive disorder in five US communities. Archives of General Psychiatry, 45, 10941099.
Kessler, R. C., Nelson, C. B., McGonagle, K. A., Edlund, M. J., Frank, R. G., & Leaf, P. J. (1996). The epidemiology of co-occurring addictive and mental disorders: implications for prevention and service utilization. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 66, 1731.
Krueger, R. F., Caspi, A., Moffitt, T. E., & Silva, P. A. (1998). The structure and stability of common mental disorders (DSM-III-R): A longitudinal-epidemiological study. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 107, 216227.
Laisk, T., Kukushkina, V., Palmer, D., Laber, S., Chen, C.-Y., Ferreira, T., … Smoller, J. W. (2018). GWAS meta-analysis highlights the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis (HPG axis) in the genetic regulation of menstrual cycle length. bioRxiv, 333708.
Lawrence, D., Hafekost, J., Johnson, S. E., Saw, S., Buckingham, W. J., Sawyer, M. G., … Zubrick, S. R. (2016). Key findings from the second Australian Child and Adolescent Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing. Australian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 50, 876886.
Liddell, B. J., Nickerson, A., Sartor, L., Ivancic, L., & Bryant, R. A. (2016). The generational gap: mental disorder prevalence and disability amongst first and second generation immigrants in Australia. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 83, 103111.
López-Solà, C., Fontenelle, L. F., Alonso, P., Cuadras, D., Foley, D. L., Pantelis, C., … Soriano-Mas, C. (2014). Prevalence and heritability of obsessive-compulsive spectrum and anxiety disorder symptoms: A survey of the Australian Twin Registry. American Journal of Medical Genetics Part B: Neuropsychiatric Genetics, 165, 314325.
Maislin, G., Pack, A. I., Kribbs, N. B., Smith, P. L., Schwartz, A. R., Kline, L. R., … Dinges, D. F. (1995). A survey screen for prediction of apnea. Sleep, 18, 158166.
Marshall, J. R. (1994). The diagnosis and treatment of social phobia and alcohol abuse. Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic, 58, A58A66.
Martin, N. G., Eaves, L. J., Kearsey, M. J., & Davies, P. (1978). The power of the classical twin study. Heredity, 40, 97116.
Mbarek, H., Steinberg, S., Nyholt, D. R., Gordon, S. D., Miller, M. B., McRae, A. F., … De Geus, E. J. (2016). Identification of common genetic variants influencing spontaneous dizygotic twinning and female fertility. The American Journal of Human Genetics, 98, 898908.
Merikangas, K., Angst, J., Eaton, W., Canino, G., Rubio-Stipec, M., Wacker, H., … Whitaker, A. (1996). Comorbidity and boundaries of affective disorders with anxiety disorders and substance misuse: results of an international task force. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 168, 5867.
Mitchison, D., & Hay, P. J. (2014). The epidemiology of eating disorders: Genetic, environmental, and societal factors. Clinical Epidemiology, 6, 8997.
Myrick, H., & Brady, K. (2003). Current review of the comorbidity of affective, anxiety, and substance use disorders. Current Opinion in Psychiatry, 16, 261270.
National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health. (2014). Psychosis and schizophrenia in adults: Treatment and management. NICE Clinical Guideline, 178, 159.
Painter, J. N., Willemsen, G., Nyholt, D., Hoekstra, C., Duffy, D. L., Henders, A. K., … Skolnick, M. (2010). A genome wide linkage scan for dizygotic twinning in 525 families of mothers of dizygotic twins. Human Reproduction, 25, 15691580.
Regier, D. A., Farmer, M. E., Rae, D. S., Locke, B. Z., Keith, S. J., Judd, L. L., & Goodwin, F. K. (1990). Comorbidity of mental disorders with alcohol and other drug abuse: Results from the Epidemiologic Catchment Area (ECA) study. JAMA, 264, 25112518.
Schmaal, L., Veltman, D. J., van Erp, T. G., Sämann, P., Frodl, T., Jahanshad, N., … Niessen, W. (2016). Subcortical brain alterations in major depressive disorder: Findings from the ENIGMA Major Depressive Disorder Working Group. Molecular Psychiatry, 21, 806812.
Scott, J., Chant, D., Andrews, G., & McGrath, J. (2006). Psychotic-like experiences in the general community: The correlates of CIDI psychosis screen items in an Australian sample. Psychological Medicine, 36, 231238.
Thornton, L. M., Mazzeo, S. E., & Bulik, C. M. (2010). The heritability of eating disorders: Methods and current findings. Current Topics in Behavioral Neurosciences, 6, 141156.
Visscher, P. M., Andrew, T., & Nyholt, D. R. (2008). Genome-wide association studies of quantitative traits with related individuals: Little (power) lost but much to be gained. European Journal of Human Genetics, 16, 387390.
Volpe, U., Tortorella, A., Manchia, M., Monteleone, A. M., Albert, U., & Monteleone, P. (2016). Eating disorders: What age at onset? Psychiatry Research, 238, 225227.
Ward, J. H. Jr. (1963). Hierarchical grouping to optimize an objective function. Journal of the American Statistical Association, 58, 236244.
Weissman, M. M., Bland, R. C., Canino, G. J., Faravelli, C., Greenwald, S., Hwu, H.-G., … Lellouch, J. (1997). The cross-national epidemiology of panic disorder. Archives of General Psychiatry, 54, 305309.
Weissman, M. M., & Klerman, G. L. (1977). Sex differences and the epidemiology of depression. Archives of General Psychiatry, 34, 98111.
Wright, M. J., & Martin, N. G. (2004). Brisbane Adolescent Twin Study: Outline of study methods and research projects. Australian Journal of Psychology, 56, 6578.


Type Description Title
Supplementary materials

Mitchell et al. supplementary material
Figures S1-S4

 Word (570 KB)
570 KB

Twenty-Five and Up (25Up) Study: A New Wave of the Brisbane Longitudinal Twin Study

  • Brittany L. Mitchell (a1) (a2), Adrian I. Campos (a1) (a3), Miguel E. Rentería (a1) (a2) (a3), Richard Parker (a1), Lenore Sullivan (a1), Kerrie McAloney (a1), Baptiste Couvy-Duchesne (a4) (a5), Sarah E. Medland (a1), Nathan A. Gillespie (a6), Jan Scott (a7) (a8), Brendan P. Zietsch (a9), Penelope A. Lind (a1), Nicholas G. Martin (a1) and Ian B. Hickie (a7)...


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed