For the first three waves of PATH, interviews were conducted by trained interviewers, usually in participant’s homes. To provide a high level of confidentiality, the participant completes most of the interview (e.g. self reported health, substance use, personality and psychosocial measures) themselves using a computer with a touch sensitive screen. However a number of physical (eg FEV, grip strength) and cognitive tests (eg memory, reaction time) are administered by the interviewer. Cheek swabs were collected at the baseline interview for the extraction of DNA for genetic analysis.
In 2011, with the commencement of the fourth wave, our funding did not allow for face-to-face interviews with the majority of the 20+ cohort. Participants were invited to complete an online version of the questionnaire. A subgroup of local participants were also invited to have a short face-to-face interview that included some cognitive and physical testing.
Each wave of the PATH project, and the associated sub-studies has been approved by The Australian National University’s Human Research Ethics Committee.