The Children’s Attention Project (CAP), commenced in 2011, is a prospective longitudinal study of almost 500 children with and without Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) recruited from Grade 1 (mean age: 7) classes across socio-economically diverse primary schools in Melbourne, Australia.

The study maps the course of ADHD symptoms from childhood into adolescence to identify risk and protective factors associated with differential outcomes. The study’s examination of a broad range of risk and protective factors and ADHD-related outcomes has the potential to inform novel strategies for intervention and prevention. The cohort has been followed across 5 waves from age 7 to 14.

The Neuroimaging of the Children’s Attention Project (NICAP) sub-study is a comprehensive longitudinal multimodal neuroimaging study of approximately 200 children with and without ADHD from CAP. NICAP’s primary aims are to determine how brain structure and function change with age in children with and without ADHD, and whether different trajectories of brain development are associated with variations in outcomes including persistence of ADHD, and academic, cognitive, social and mental health outcomes. Genetic and epigenetic data have also been collected. Establishing which brain regions are associated with differential clinical outcomes may allow us to improve predictions about the course of ADHD. NICAP has collected three waves of neuroimaging data between the ages 9-14. 

Investigators

Emma Sciberras
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Tim Silk
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Study focus

To examine a broad range of risk and protective factors and ADHD-related outcomes (including mental health, academic, family and child well-being, quality of life) in children with and without Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. Outcomes from this study have the potential to inform novel strategies for intervention and prevention.

Sampling frame

CAP: Grade 1 children with and without ADHD, recruited across 43 socio-economically diverse government primary schools across Melbourne, Australia. All children were in Grade 1, the second year of formal schooling (6-8 years). Potential participants were screened for ADHD symptoms using independent parent and teacher reports on the Conners’ 3 ADHD index (~N = 5260). Children screening positive for ADHD by both parent and teacher reports, and a matched sample (gender, school) screening negative, were invited to participate.

NICAP: Recruited from CAP cohort, with an equal number of cases and controls.

Data access

On request

Time period

2011 - 2019

Original sample size

497

Intergenerational

No

Imaging

Yes

Linkage

Yes – NAPLAN, Medicare/PBS, School Entry Health Questionnaire, Australian Early Development Index

Biosamples

Saliva (tube)

Ethics approvals or requirements

Informed written consent – Approved by the RCH HREC (31056; 34071) and Department of Education and Training (2011_001095)

Waves

Wave Year / Period Age (mean, range) Eligible sample
1 (CAP) 2011-2012 7.3 years (range 6.4-8.7 years) N(Total)=497
N(Cases)=179
N(Controls)=212
N(High risk)=100
2 (CAP) 2013-2014 8.9 years (range 7.7-10.2 years) N(Total)=485
N(Cases)=206
N(Controls)=174
N(High risk)=83
3 (CAP) 2014-2016 10.5 years (range 9.3-12.7 years) N(Total)=481
N(Cases)=167
N(Controls)=192
N(High risk)=80
3a (CAP) 2014-2016 10.5 years (range 9.3-12.7 years) N(Total)=122
N(Cases)=59
N(Controls)=54
N(High risk)=6
4 (CAP) 2016-2017 11.5 years (range 9.3-12.7 years)
4a (CAP) 2016-2017 11.5 years (range 9.3-12.7 years) N(Total)=122
N(Cases)=59
N(Controls)=54
N(High risk)=6
5 (CAP) 2018-2019 13 years (range 9.3-12.7 years)
5a (CAP) 2018-2019 13 years (range 9.3-12.7 years) N(Total)=122
N(Cases)=59
N(Controls)=54
N(High risk)=6

Key references

CAP
Sciberras E, Efron D, Schilpzand L, Anderson V, Jongeling B, Hazell P, Ukoumunne O, Nicholson J. The Children’s Attention Project: A community-based longitudinal study of children with ADHD and non-ADHD controls. BMC Psychiatry 2013; 13:18. https://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1471-244X-13-18

NICAP
Silk TJ, Genc S., Anderson V, Efron D, Hazell P, Nicholson JM, Kean M, Malpas CB, Sciberras E, Developmental brain trajectories in children with ADHD and controls: a longitudinal neuroimaging study. BMC psychiatry 2016; 16(1). https://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12888-016-0770-4

Primary institution

Collaborating institutions

Major funding sources

Contact

Cohort Representative

Address

Children’s Attention Project
Murdoch Children's Research Institute,
Royal Children’s Hospital
Flemington Road, Parkville
Victoria 3052 Australia

Study website

www.mcri.edu.au/cap
lifecourse.melbournechildrens.com/cohorts/cap-and-nicap/