The Triple B study (Bumps, Babies and Beyond) is a large NHMRC-funded birth cohort study which examines the effects of substance use in pregnant women and their partners during the prenatal period on infant development and family functioning. The study presently follows families from pregnancy through to infant age 12 months.The objective of Wave III is to examine family functioning and child development when the children reach three years of age. The Triple B study presents a unique and important opportunity to follow the longer-term health and development of approximately 1600 families as the children enter the preschool years – a critical time for development.
Professor Stephen Allsop (National Drug and Alcohol Research Institute, Curtin University)
Professor Ann Sanson (University of Melbourne)
Professor Jake Najman (Queensland Alcohol and Drug Research and Education Centre)
Dr Susan Jacobs (Royal Prince Alfred Hospital)
Dr Craig Olsson (Murdoch Children's Research Institute)
Dr Fiona Shand (Black Dog Institute, UNSW)
The overall objective of this project was to pilot a third wave of the Triple B birth cohort study to examine family functioning and child development in families of preschool age children.
Specifically, the aims of the project were to:
- Pilot the research methodology for a new assessment wave of the Triple B study when the children reach three years of age
- Examine the outcomes for an existing cohort of families participating in the Triple B study over a longer timeframe, via interview, survey and developmental assessment
- Pilot an attachment component of the study to learn more about factors which influence the development of healthy relationships
- Test the feasibility of following up families affected by substance use in a longitudinal study
- Establish a protocol for applying for additional Category One funding from NHMRC to follow up the larger pregnancy cohort
Mothers and their partners were interviewed and surveyed, and the children took part in a gold standard developmental assessment battery. Mothers and partners were also asked to participate in a well-established observational procedure measuring child attachment security. Data on child health and well-being were also collected from external sources, such as teachers and carers where relevant.
Seventy-two families participated in the pilot study.
Data has been presented at the Australiasian Professional Society on Alcohol and other Drugs (APSAD) conference and the NDARC Annual Symposium 2014.
A paper is in preparation for submission to a peer review journal.
Extension of the Triple B study to preschool age improved knowledge of the longitudinal course of the effects of substance use exposure in utero and during early childhood. The results will inform the NHMRC guidelines for the use of alcohol and other drugs pre-conception, in pregnancy and while breastfeeding. This will guide public health policy and education for substance use in Australia.