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16Up: Outline of a Study Investigating Wellbeing and Information and Communication Technology Use in Adolescent Twins

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  29 January 2021

Brittany L. Mitchell
Affiliation:
Department of Genetics and Computational Biology, QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia School of Biomedical Science Faculty of Health, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Katherine M. Kirk
Affiliation:
Department of Genetics and Computational Biology, QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Kerrie McAloney
Affiliation:
Department of Genetics and Computational Biology, QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Margaret J. Wright
Affiliation:
Queensland Brain Institute, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Tracey A. Davenport
Affiliation:
Brain and Mind Centre, The University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Daniel F. Hermens
Affiliation:
Thompson Institute, University of the Sunshine Coast, Birtinya, Queensland, Australia
James G. Scott
Affiliation:
Department of Genetics and Computational Biology, QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia Metro North Mental Health, Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, Herston, Queensland, Australia UQ Centre for Clinical Research, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
John J. McGrath
Affiliation:
Queensland Brain Institute, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia Queensland Centre for Mental Health Research, Park Centre for Mental Health, Wacol, Queensland, Australia National Centre for Register-based Research, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark
Nathan A. Gillespie
Affiliation:
Department of Genetics and Computational Biology, QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics, Richmond, Virginia, USA
Joanne S. Carpenter
Affiliation:
Brain and Mind Centre, The University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Victoria S. O’Callaghan
Affiliation:
Queensland Brain Institute, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Sarah Medland
Affiliation:
Department of Genetics and Computational Biology, QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Helen Christensen
Affiliation:
Black Dog Institute, University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Nicholas G. Martin
Affiliation:
Department of Genetics and Computational Biology, QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia School of Biomedical Science Faculty of Health, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Jane M. Burns
Affiliation:
Young and Well Cooperative Research Centre, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Ian B. Hickie
Affiliation:
Brain and Mind Centre, The University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Corresponding
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Abstract

The ‘16Up’ study conducted at the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute from January 2014 to December 2018 aimed to examine the physical and mental health of young Australian twins aged 16−18 years (N = 876; 371 twin pairs and 18 triplet sets). Measurements included online questionnaires covering physical and mental health as well as information and communication technology (ICT) use, actigraphy, sleep diaries and hair samples to determine cortisol concentrations. Study participants generally rated themselves as being in good physical (79%) and mental (73%) health and reported lower rates of psychological distress and exposure to alcohol, tobacco products or other substances than previously reported for this age group in the Australian population. Daily or near-daily online activity was almost universal among study participants, with no differences noted between males and females in terms of frequency or duration of internet access. Patterns of ICT use in this sample indicated that the respondents were more likely to use online information sources for researching physical health issues than for mental health or substance use issues, and that they generally reported partial levels of satisfaction with the mental health information they found online. This suggests that internet-based mental health resources can be readily accessed by adolescent Australians, and their computer literacy augurs well for future access to online health resources. In combination with other data collected as part of the ongoing Brisbane Longitudinal Twin Study, the 16Up project provides a valuable resource for the longitudinal investigation of genetic and environmental contributions to phenotypic variation in a variety of human traits.

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© The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press in association with International Society for Twin Studies

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