About PATH

The Personality and Total Health (PATH) Through Life project is a large, ongoing, population-based, longitudinal cohort study comprising approximately 7500 participants. The project aims to track and define the lifespan course of depression, anxiety, substance use and cognitive ability, identify environmental risk and protective factors within these domains, and examine the relationships between depression, anxiety and substance use with cognitive ability and dementia.

The broad aims of the PATH study relate to clinical outcomes that constitute the major burden of disease within the Australian community.

The first wave of data collection occurred in 1999 and included young (aged 20–24 at baseline), midlife (aged 40–44 at baseline) and older (aged 60–64 at baseline) adults randomly sampled from the electoral roll of the ACT and the nearby city of Queanbeyan. Additional waves of data collection have occurred in 4-year increments, with wave 5 of data collection beginning in 2016.

    Published PATH results

    PATH results are also published in many peer-reviewed open source journals, to date there are over 300 papers as well as reports and theses made possible using PATH data.

    The PATH study has been funded primarily through a series of research grants awarded by the Australian Government’s National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), and the Australian Research Council (ARC). The ARC Centre of Excellence in Population Ageing Research (CEPAR) is funding the next follow-up of the 40s and 60s cohorts of the PATH study.

    Current status of PATH

    Wave 6 for the 60+ cohort concluded in July 2021.  Thank you to all participants who took part in this wave. 

    Wave 5 for both the 20+ and 40+ cohorts has been completed. The fifth wave is a critical wave for PATH as it represents the point at which each cohort enters the baseline age of the next cohort, allowing comparisons of health and wellbeing between cohorts at the same age. 

    Results from Wave 5 will be made available once data collection and analysis is completed. A few key findings will be published on the website with averages from each cohort. The PATH project is one of the only longitudinal lifespan studies in Australia. This project provides unique information for researchers across many fields, we greatly appreciate all of our participants’ continued involvement in the project. 

    In the meantime, if you have any questions or would like to speak to a member of the PATH research team regarding the project or to update your contact details, please contact us.