Eligibility: All twins – identical and non-identical - aged 16-45 years (with or without mental health challenges).
People show differences in several characteristics, from personality traits, such as extraversion, to experiences and thoughts that may make some people prone to conditions such as anxiety and depression. In many cases, these differences are perfectly fine, and are the ingredients that make us unique as individuals. In some cases, they can protect against, or increase risk for, mental illness. However, the genetic and environmental influences on these different dimensions are not well-understood. Research involving twins provides a remarkable opportunity to understand the relative contribution of genes and environment to differences in dimensions of personality and mental health challenges, particularly those influences that are shared across, versus those that are specific to, different mental health issues.
These findings may have important implications for improved diagnosis and treatment of mental health conditions in the community.
Meet the researchers and learn more about the importance of this study in the video below.
Participation in this research project involves two parts.
Part 1: Measures of resilience and risk for mental health challenges
You will be asked to complete several questionnaires developed to measure different personality traits, as well as the occurrence, frequency, and intensity of experiences and symptoms related to mental health conditions (e.g. anxiety, insomnia, low mood, body image concerns, substance use), as typically experienced in people who are not receiving extensive mental health treatment. For example, you may have felt low in mood or a little anxious at times, without seeing a doctor about it. We are interested in hearing about these experiences. Each question asks you to indicate the frequency or intensity with which you experienced a thought, feeling, or behaviour either typically or during a specific period (e.g. past 2 weeks). These questionnaires will take you approximately 90 minutes to complete, and are completed online using your mobile phone, tablet, laptop or desktop computer. You can complete these questionnaires over multiple sessions within the same 14-day period.
Part 2 (optional): Daily experience sampling survey
For this part of the study we are interested in how people’s mood and stress levels change from day to day, the length and quality of their sleep, as well as their intake of alcohol and other drugs/medications. These daily fluctuations may be important indicators of resilience to versus risk for mental health challenges. The daily experience sampling survey takes 2 minutes and is completed every day for 28 days anytime between 7:00 pm and 11.59 pm via a link sent to your phone via SMS. Alternatively, if you do not have a mobile phone the link can be sent to you via email.
Reimbursement for your time
All participants that complete Part 1 of the study will be reimbursed $25. All participants who complete at least 25 of 28 days for Part 2 will be reimbursed $50 ($75 total). If you and your twin sibling both complete Parts 1 and 2 you will then each receive an additional payment of $25. Total reimbursement if both you and your twin complete Parts 1 and 2 would be $100 each.
All twins aged 16-45 years, with or without mental health challenges. Excluding individuals with epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, a traumatic brain injury or an intellectual disability.
Please note, if you live overseas you are eligible to participate in Part 1 but not Part 2 of the study.
If you are not yet a Twins Research Australia member you will also need to register online here.
If you are a member and meet the eligibilty criteria you may have already received an invitation - check your inbox for an email titled "Study Invitation: Influences on Mental Health".
July2021 - May 2022.