Children of Twins: The Effects Of Parental Mental Health On Child Mental Health Outcomes

Project Details

Intergenerational transmission of mental health problems is an important area of research, with growing evidence of the increased risk of mental and behavioural problems in children of parents with a mental illness. While numerous studies have documented persistence between parents’ and children’s mental health, they often provide little insight into causal mechanisms underlying this relationship due to the difficulty of disentangling the genetic and shared family environmental components.

This project aims to address three questions:

  • If parents experience poor mental health, how does this impact on their children’s mental health?
  • To what extent is any impact due to genes or environmental factors?
  • If the impact is at least partially through environmental mechanisms, how much of it is ediated by parenting style?


Dr Katrina Scurrah, Biostatistician

Janine Lam, TRA RA, University of Melbourne


Dr Jinhu Li, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research

A/Prof Nicola Reavley, Centre of Mental Health, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health


Faculty of Business and Economics/Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences Collaborative Research Seed-Funding Scheme

Research Group

Twins Research Australia

Faculty Research Themes

Child Health

School Research Themes

Prevention and management of non-communicable diseases (including cancer), and promotion of mental health, Data science, health metrics and disease modeling, Disparities, disadvantage and effective health care

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact the research group leader.

Department / Centre

Centre for Epidemiology and Biostatistics

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