Primrose Letcher

Primrose Letcher
Deakin University · School of Psychology

Doctor of Philosophy

About

63
Publications
8,231
Reads
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1,317
Citations
Additional affiliations
March 2006 - present
University of Melbourne
Position
  • Research Associate

Publications

Publications (63)
Article
This study examined whether positive development (PD) in adolescence and young adulthood predicts offspring behavior in two Australasian intergenerational cohorts. The Australian Temperament Project Generation 3 Study assessed PD at age 19–28 (years 2002–2010) and behavior in 1165 infants (12–18 months; 608 girls) of 694 Australian‐born parents (ag...
Preprint
Purpose: The Australian Temperament Project Generation 3 Cohort (ATPG3) was established to examine the extent to which offspring social and emotional development is shaped in the decades prior to conception, in parent and grandparent histories of psychosocial adjustment (e.g., emotional regulation, relationship quality and prosociality) and maladju...
Article
Full-text available
Background: We examine: (1) the frequency of financial difficulties in Australian families with young children (0-8 years) in the early and later phases of the pandemic; (2) the extent to which parents' pre-pandemic socioeconomic disadvantage (SED) predicted financial difficulties; and (3) whether grandparent intergenerational SED further amplifie...
Article
Understanding of how socio-economic disadvantage experienced over the life course relates to mental health outcomes in young adulthood has been limited by a lack of long-term, prospective studies. Here we address this limitation by drawing on data from a large Australian population cohort study that has followed the development of more than 2,000 A...
Article
Full-text available
Purpose: To examine associations between anxiety and depressive symptoms across adolescence and young adulthood with subsequent maternal- and paternal-infant bonding at 1 year postpartum. Methods: The data were from a prospective, intergenerational cohort study. Participants (381 mothers of 648 infants; 277 fathers of 421 infants) self-reported...
Article
Stress reactivity is a core aspect of temperament, reflecting a biologically based, socially shaped, tendency to distress that may have intergenerational origins. One commonly held view is that stress exposures in utero and postpartum may prime offspring to anticipate harsh future conditions, triggering a biologically programmed predictive adaptive...
Article
Full-text available
Background This study assessed the extent to which women's preconception binge drinking, tobacco use and cannabis use, reported prospectively in adolescence and young adulthood, predicted use of these substances during pregnancy and at 1 year postpartum. Methods Data were pooled from two intergenerational cohort studies: the Australian Temperament...
Article
Full-text available
Background: The COVID-19 pandemic has placed considerable pressure on families, testing the quality of relationships and the strength of social support within and beyond the family network. However, little is known about the pre-pandemic factors that predict family relational resilience and social functioning during times of natural disaster or glo...
Article
Objective There has been interest in the antecedents and mental health impacts of eating and body image disturbances in adolescence. Less is known about longer-term mental health impacts into young adulthood, as longitudinal studies with data spanning this developmental period are rare. We capitalize on mental health data collected across adolescen...
Article
Postnatal depression (PND) is common and predicts a range of adverse maternal and offspring outcomes. PND rates are highest among women with persistent mental health problems before pregnancy, and antenatal healthcare provides ideal opportunity to intervene. We examined antenatal perceived social support as a potential intervention target in preven...
Article
Objective: To reflect on the experiences of loss and grief during the COVID-19 pandemic. The world is united in grief with COVID-19 now the leading cause of death globally (close to 4 million by mid-2021), with public health approaches to containment having widespread social and economic impacts. COVID-19 has not only changed how we live but also h...
Article
Full-text available
Early maternal-infant bonding problems are often forerunners of later emotional and behavioural difficulties. Interventions typically target the perinatal period but many risks may be established well before pregnancy. Here we examine the extent to which adolescent and young adult depression and anxiety symptoms predict perinatal maternal-infant bo...
Article
Aims We examine the extent to which adolescent and young adult psychosocial factors are associated with variation in the experience of common types of harm (e.g., injuries, violence, sexual regrets) with respect to binge-drinking frequency – termed residual harm. Methods Data were from the Australian Temperament Project, a population-based cohort...
Article
Full-text available
Background: When adolescent boys experience close, secure relationships with their parents and peers, the implications are potentially far reaching, including lower levels of mental health problems in adolescence and young adulthood. Here we use rare prospective intergenerational data to extend our understanding of the impact of adolescent attachme...
Preprint
Postnatal depression (PND) is common and predicts a range of adverse maternal and offspring outcomes. PND rates are highest amongst women with persistent mental health problems before pregnancy, and antenatal healthcare provides ideal opportunity to intervene. We examined antenatal perceived social support as a potential intervention target in prev...
Article
Full-text available
Little is known about the cumulative effect of adolescent and young adult mental health difficulties and substance use problems on gambling behaviour in adulthood. We use data from one of Australia’s longest running studies of social and emotional development to examine the extent to which: (1) mental health symptoms (depressive and anxiety symptom...
Article
Introduction In extending work on early life antecedents of parenting, we investigate associations between childhood family history of disadvantage, adolescent socioemotional wellbeing, and age at first parenthood and subsequent parenting behaviour. Methods Parent-child interactions were recorded when participants in the longitudinal Dunedin Multi...
Article
Full-text available
Background Penalised regression methods are a useful atheoretical approach for both developing predictive models and selecting key indicators within an often substantially larger pool of available indicators. In comparison to traditional methods, penalised regression models improve prediction in new data by shrinking the size of coefficients and re...
Preprint
Maternal internalizing symptoms during pregnancy, specifically depression and/or anxiety, are commonly linked to negative affectivity (NA) in infant offspring. These links are commonly attributed to biological effects of the in utero environment on fetal development. However, research suggests that internalizing symptoms before and after pregnancy,...
Article
Background: Penalised regression methods are a useful atheoretical approach for identifying key predictive indicators when one’s initial list of indicators is substantial, a process which may aid in informing population health surveillance. The purpose of this study was to examine the predictive performance and feature (i.e., variable) selection ca...
Preprint
Aims: To explore the process of applying counterfactual thinking in examining causal predictors of substance use trajectories in observational cohort data. Specifically, we examine the extent to which quality of the parent-adolescent relationship and affiliations with deviant peers are causally related to trajectories of alcohol, tobacco, and canna...
Article
Aims To explore the process of applying counterfactual thinking in examining causal predictors of substance use trajectories in observational cohort data. Specifically, we examine the extent to which quality of the parent-adolescent relationship and affiliations with deviant peers are causally related to trajectories of alcohol, tobacco, and cannab...
Preprint
Background: Penalised regression methods are a useful atheoretical approach for identifying key predictive indicators when one’s initial list of indicators is substantial, a process which may aid in informing population health surveillance. The purpose of this study was to examine the predictive performance and feature (i.e., variable) selection ca...
Article
Background Rates of common mental health problems (depression/anxiety) rise sharply in adolescence and peak in young adulthood, often coinciding with the transition to parenthood. Little is known regarding the persistence of common mental health problems from adolescence to the perinatal period in both mothers and fathers. Methods A total of 393 m...
Article
The Australian New Zealand Intergenerational Cohort Consortium (ANZ-ICC) brings together three of the longest running intergenerational cohort studies in Australia and New Zealand to examine the extent to which preconception parental life histories (from infancy to parenthood) predict next generation early health and development. The aims are three...
Article
Background Parental depression and anxiety have been consistently linked to offspring behavior problems across childhood. However, many of the risks for these common mental health problems are established well before pregnancy. This study takes advantage of rare, prospective data to examine relations between parental mental health histories (from a...
Article
Background: Modelling trajectories of substance use over time is complex and requires judicious choices from a number of modelling approaches. In this study we examine the relative strengths and weakness of latent curve models (LCM), growth mixture modelling (GMM), and latent class growth analysis (LCGA). Design: Data were drawn from the Austral...
Article
Background Maternal mental health during pregnancy and postpartum predicts later emotional and behavioural problems in children. Even though most perinatal mental health problems begin before pregnancy, the consequences of preconception maternal mental health for children's early emotional development have not been prospectively studied. Methods W...
Preprint
Background: Investigations into the natural history of substance use have typically focused on a single substance using a single modelling approach. Here we examine the strengths and limitations of a range of modelling approaches to describing trajectories of alcohol, tobacco, and cannabis use from adolescence to young adulthood, including growth m...
Article
Purpose: This study examined the extent to which care-oriented attitudes and behaviours in adolescence (e.g., volunteering) predict positive development (PD; e.g., life satisfaction and meaning/purpose) in young adulthood (19–28 years). Methods: The analytic sample comprised 1,359 participants participating from a 35-year (16 wave) population-based...
Article
The purpose of this study was to examine the structural stability of positive development across the 20s using data from one of Australia’s oldest population-based studies of social–emotional development. Positive development was indicated by civic action and engagement, trust and tolerance of others, trust in authorities and organizations, social...
Article
Background We aimed to describe the natural history of heavy episodic drinking (HED) and associated harms from adolescence to young adulthood in a large Australian population cohort study. Method The Australian Temperament Project consists of mothers and babies (4–8 months) recruited from Infant Welfare Centres and followed every 2 to 4 years unti...
Article
This study examined whether self-reported and observationally measured parental behaviours were associated with disordered eating, and investigated possible moderation by a serotonin-transporter polymorphism (5-HTTLPR). Study 1 included 650 adolescents from the Australian Temperament Project who completed the Eating Disorder Inventory-2 Drive for T...
Article
Background: The aims of the study were to describe the patterning and persistence of anxiety and depressive symptoms from adolescence to young adulthood and to examine long-term developmental relationships with earlier patterns of internalizing behaviours in childhood. Method: We used parallel processes latent growth curve modelling to build tra...
Article
Objective Cross-sectional research suggests that relationships between temperamental negative reactivity and adolescent depressive symptoms may be moderated by parental warmth. The primary purpose of this study was to conduct the first prospective analysis of this relationship.Method Data from 1,147 families in an Australian population-based longit...
Article
Objective: To investigate the interactions between low parental warmth and monitoring at age 13-14 years and disordered eating attitudes and behaviours at age 15-16 years. Method: Data on 1300 (667 females) adolescents and their parents were drawn from The Australian Temperament Project (ATP), a 30 year (15 wave) population based longitudinal st...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This poster introduces a new intergenerational prospective birth cohort study of attachment that is following a sub-sample of Generation 3 (G3) offspring from The Australian Temperament Project (ATP). Around 2,000 subjects (G2) and their parents (G1) have been followed for 33 years across 16 waves. This sub-study of infants 12-18 months (M=14 month...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Background The interpersonal model of binge eating proposes that interpersonal problems lead to depression, which in turn results in bulimic behaviour. Few studies, however, have examined the model empirically. Objective To test the original interpersonal model of binge eating longitudinally and a revised version of the model in which depression m...
Article
Background Debate continues about the consequences of adolescent cannabis use. Existing data are limited in statistical power to examine rarer outcomes and less common, heavier patterns of cannabis use than those already investigated; furthermore, evidence has a piecemeal approach to reporting of young adult sequelae. We aimed to provide a broad pi...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Objective To test whether a sociocultural pathway model was predictive of a) disordered eating (DE) behaviour concurrently (Time 1[T1];age 12-13) and b) DE behaviour longitudinally (Time 2[T2];age 15-16). A further aim was to assess whether the risk factors included in the final model were moderated by negative emotionality. Method Participants inc...
Article
Little is known about positive development across the transition from adolescence to young adulthood. The purpose of this paper was to use longitudinal data from a large community sample, the Australian Temperament Project, to investigate prospective associations between positive development at age 19–20 years and changes in social, health, and beh...
Article
Background: This study presents an integrative data analysis of the association between frequency of cannabis use and severity of depressive symptoms using data from four Australasian cohort studies. The integrated data comprised observations on over 6900 individuals studied on up to seven occasions between adolescence and mature adulthood. Metho...
Article
The present research employed a prospective, multi-informant design to examine precursors and correlates of differing anxiety profiles from late childhood to late adolescence. The sample consisted of 626 boys and 667 girls who are participants in the Australian Temperament Project, a large, longitudinal, community-based study that has followed youn...
Article
The transition to adulthood is characterised by potential for both positive development and problem outcomes such as psychopathology, yet little is known about relationships between the two. Given the diversity of pathways observed during this transition period, there is likely to be significant heterogeneity in young people's experiences of these...
Article
The transition to adulthood is characterised by both great potential for positive change and a relatively high incidence of problem outcomes. A multidimensional model of positive development during the transition to adulthood (at 19-20 years) has recently been proposed. However, an unresolved question regarding the nature of positive development du...
Article
Using a community-based Australian birth cohort, groups with distinct longitudinal profiles (trajectories) of internalising behaviour from early childhood through mid-adolescence were identified for boys and girls from parent ratings. Six internalising trajectories were identified for both genders, comprising stable, decreasing, and increasing path...
Article
Relatively high levels of depression are observed during the transition to adulthood. Hence, it is important to identify the factors that can reduce the incidence of depression at this time. Social capital is theorised to protect against depression by providing greater access to support and psychological resources. Social capital incorporates both...
Article
Full-text available
Calls have been made for a greater focus on successful development and how positive functioning can be conceptualized in theory and empirical research. Drawing on a large Australian community sample (N = 890; 61.7% female), this article examines the structure and stability of positive development at two time points during young adulthood. Previousl...
Article
This article responds to recent calls for a focus on successful development in young people and examination of its developmental precursors, in order to identify potentially modifiable targets for interventions. The current study examined child and adolescent precursors of positive functioning in emerging adulthood, including individual characteris...
Article
Positive functioning in the developmental period of emerging adulthood has received little investigation. The current study investigated components of positive development using confirmatory factor analysis of Australian Temperament Project data collected from 1,158 young adults aged 19-20 years. Positive development constructs that have been theor...
Article
Psychosocial precursors and correlates of parent-reported internalizing behavior trajectories across the age span of 3–15 years were explored using a community-based cohort of Australian children. Six internalizing trajectories had previously been identified for both girls (N = 810) and boys (N = 874) in this sample, comprising stable low, high, de...
Article
Full-text available
The study adopted a person-centered approach to examine whether clusters of children could be identified on the basis of temperament profiles assessed on four occasions from infancy to early childhood, and if so whether differing temperament clusters were associated with subsequent differences in behavior problems, social skills, and school adjustm...
Article
Introduction – Why study temperament in the context of early adolescent development? The publication of the report by Thomas, Chess and colleagues on the New York Longitudinal Study (Thomas et al., 1963) reflected the start of a paradigm shift from a predominantly environmentalistic, unidirectional perspective on child development, to one which ack...
Article
Full-text available
The direct and interactive effects of temperament and parenting were examined in the prediction of early adolescent externalising behaviour problems (conduct disorder and hyperactivity), internalising problems (depression and anxiety), and substance use, using data on 1,402 13- and 14-year-olds. Significant direct effects were found for four temper...
Article
The 'Prevention Paradox' applies when low-risk individuals in a population contribute the most cases of a condition or problem behaviour by virtue of their being in the majority, thereby recommending a universal or whole of population approach to prevention. The applicability of a universal as opposed to a targeted high-risk approach to the prevent...

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Projects (3)
Project
Commencing in 1983, the Australian Temperament Project (ATP) is an ongoing longitudinal study that has followed the development of a large group of Victorian children from infancy to adulthood, and is now following their children. With detailed information collected from 16 waves of data collection, the ATP is one of the longest running studies of its kind in Australia, and one of only a few in the world with information on three generations of family members (i.e., the young people, their parents, and now the young people's children).