Healthy Start to Life

healthy start to life

Professor John Toumbourou

The healthy development of children and young people is fundamental to Australia's future. Led by Professor John Toumbourou, this group, organised within the prevention science model, is concerned with identifying key modifiable determinants that can encourage optimal mental health, and prevent the most prevalent mental health and behaviour problems experienced by children and young people.

Group Research Fellow

Major Projects 

Alcohol availability in children and adolescents - John Toumbourou and Bosco Rowlands
Family-based interventions in youth mental illness - Andrew Lewis, John Toumbourou, Dan Lubman (Monash University) and Tess Knight
Risk factors of overweight and obesity among adolescents in out-of-home care: The Healthy Eating and Active Living (HEAL) study - Helen Skouteris, Marita McCabe and Matthew Fuller-Tyszkiewicz
Antisocial behaviour in young Australian adults: Longitudinal precursors and consequences - Sheryl Hemphill (University of Melbourne), John Toumbourou and Peter Kremer


Professor Toumbourou was appointed to the International Taskforce for the Society for Prevention Research and to the Prevention Science Network for the Australian Research Alliance for Children and Young People.

Professor Craig Olsson was appointed at Deakin and hosted the inaugural Longitudinal Studies Network Meeting for the Australian Research Alliance for Children and Young People.

Recent talks

Professor Craig Olsson hosted the inaugural Longitudinal Studies Network Meeting for the Australian Research Alliance for Children and Young People.

Recent grants

(2012/14); Australian Research Council Linkage; "Addressing risk factors of overweight and obesity among adolescents in out-of-home care: The Healthy Eating and Active Living (HEAL) study". Helen Skouteris; Marita P McCabe; Matthew D Fuller-Tyszkiewicz.

(2011/12);  Australian Research Council Linkage; "Deakin Family Options: engaging youth with high prevalence mental health problems using family based interventions." A Lewis, JW Toumbourou, Dan Lubman.

2011/12; NHMRC Project Grant; "Investigating the relationships between cannabis and other drug use, mental health, early-life factors and life-course outcomes: integrative analyses of data from four Australasian cohort studies." Richard Mattick (University of New South Wales), David Fergusson (University of Otago, Christchurch), Mohammad Hayatbakhsh (University of Queensland), John Horwood (University of Otago, Christchurch), George Patton (University of Melbourne), Professor John W Toumbourou, Louisa Degenhardt, Delyse Hutchinson and Dr Wendy Swift (University of New South Wales)

2010/14; Australian Research Council Linkage; "Strengthening community partnerships to promote adolescent school engagement and prevent problems such as alcohol misuse and violence." John Toumbourou, George Patton, Sheryl Hemphill (Centre for Adolescent Health, Murdoch Children's Research Institute), Evie Leslie and Peter Kremer

(2010/2011); Alcoholism (National Institutes of Health), United States; "Environment-person Influences on the Development of Early Alcohol Use and Misuse". Richard Catalano, Todd Herrenkohl, Michael Arthur, John W. Toumbourou, George Patton, Sheryl Hemphill, Lyndal Bond, Tracy Evans-Whipp, Dr Lyndal Thomas.


Recent publications

Hawkins , M. T., Villagonzalo, K., Sanson, A. V., Toumbourou, J. W., Letcher, P., & Olsson, C. (2012). Associations between positive development in late adolescence and social, health, and behavioral outcomes in young adulthood. Journal of Adult Development, 19, 88-99

Rowland, B., Allan, F., & Toumbourou, J.W. (2012). Association of risky alcohol consumption and accreditation in the 'Good Sports' alcohol management programme. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. 66, 684 – 690

Rowland, B., Allan, F., & Toumbourou, J.W. (2012). Drink-driving in Community Sports Clubs: Adopting the Good Sports Alcohol Management Program. Accident Analysis & Prevention. 48, 264– 270

Choi, Y., He, M., Herrenkohl, T.I., & Catalano, R.F., Toumbourou, J.W. (2012). Multiple identification and risks: Examination of peer factors across multiracial and single-race youth. Journal of Youth and Adolescence. 41, 847–862

Kelly, A. B., O'Flaherty, M., Toumbourou, J. W., Homel, R., Patton, G. C., White, A., & Williams, J. (2012). The influence of families on early adolescent school connectedness: Evidence that this association varies with adolescent involvement in peer drinking networks.  Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 40., 437–447

Hemphill, S. A., Kotevski, A., Tollit, M., Smith, R., Herrenkohl, T. I., Toumbourou, J. W., & Catalano, R. F. (2012). Longitudinal predictors of cyber and traditional bullying perpetration in Australian secondary school students. Journal of Adolescent Health, 51(1), 59-65

Toumbourou, J.W. (2012) Would a universal check of 3 year olds prevent or create childhood mental health problems? Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry. 46(8) 703– 703

McKenzie, D. P., Toumbourou, J. W., Forbes, A. B., Mackinnon, A. J., McMorris, B. J., Catalano, R. F., & Patton, G. C. (2011). Predicting future depression in adolescents using the Short Mood and Feelings Questionnaire: A two-nation study. Journal of Affective Disorders, 134, 151-159.

Miller, Peter, Sonderlund, Anders, Coomber, Kerri, Palmer, Darren, Gillham, Karen, Tindall, Jennifer and Wiggers, John (2011) Do community interventions targeting licensed venues reduce alcohol-related emergency department presentations? Drug and alcohol review, vol. 30, 546-553.

Hemphill, S.A., Heerde, J.A., Herrenkohl, T.I., Patton, G.C. Toumbourou, J.W., Catalano, R.F. (2011) Risk and protective factors for adolescent substance use in Washington State, the United States and Victoria, Australia: A longitudinal study. Journal of Adolescent Health. 49, 312–320.

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