Published: Wednesday 08 April 2020
Researchers are mobilising twins and higher order multiples across Australia to join a world-first study to rapidly measure the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Australians and their families.
(Updated: 19 May 2020)
Called TRACKERR, the Twins Research Australia COVID-19 Knowledge, Experience, Reaction and Resilience study will investigate the pandemic’s short, medium and long-term impacts on Australian families. The study is led by Twins Research Australia based at the University of Melbourne.
According to the Director of Twins Research Australia, Professor John Hopper, the study will also deliver unique and powerful insights into both genetic and environmental factors, and how they combine, to affect families’ health and experiences.
The study will be rolled out over the coming month to adult twin pairs and higher order multiples (HOMs). Next month, the parents of young twins/HOMs will be invited to contribute. Participants will complete monthly online surveys to track the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on themselves and their families.
How twins/HOMs can join the study
If you are an adult twin/HOM, or parent of twins/HOMs aged 1-17 years, interested in joining TRA's TRACKERR study, please note:
What will the study cover?
Topics include their knowledge about the virus and government regulations, behaviour in times of social restrictions, the changing impact month-to-month on the physical, mental, social and economic health of them and their families, and their reactions and resilience to the changing situation.
Professor Hopper said this unique data set would provide invaluable real-time information to inform government, support agencies, researchers and the public about the way Australian families are coping.
“With this knowledge, we can work together to reduce the impact of the pandemic on all Australians,” he said.
“Studying the similarities of twin pairs and HOMs can reveal how much genetics and non-genetic factors shared within families combine to impact health and well-being. Studying the differences within twin pairs/HOMs can better identify specific causes by naturally controlling for genetics and other factors shared within families.”
Twins Research Australia established a national twin registry in the late 1970s and has conducted over 240 health studies. It now has more than 70,000 twins and HOMs of all ages, sexes and types (identical and non-identical) willing to participate in health research.
“For the past four decades, Australia's multiple-birth community have been committed and enthusiastic health research participants,” Professor Hopper said. “This puts us in a unique position to quickly mobilise our ‘twins-plus citizen scientists’ to support the global research effort.
“As well as twins/HOMs already registered with Twins Research Australia, we would like to invite all twins/HOMs across Australia to participate in this research. Together, we can apply the power of multiple-birth research to make a difference to countless lives, both in Australia and globally.”