The Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health (ALSWH) is a long-running population-based survey of more than 58,000 women, the largest project of its kind in Australia.
When the ALSWH began in 1996, three initial cohorts were aged 18-23, 45-50 and 70-75, reflecting the young, mid and older age groups across the adult lifespan.
In 2012-13 more than 17,000 women aged 18-23 were recruited to form a fourth cohort to ensure young women continued to be represented in the study as the initial participants became older.
Participants in each cohort complete regular surveys to assess women’s physical and mental health, as well as the impact of socio-demographic and lifestyle factors.
ALSWH is a national research resource. It provides an evidence base to government and other decision-making bodies within Australia for the development and evaluation of policy and practice in many areas of service delivery that affect women.
The project also increases the growing bank of national and international knowledge about women’s health through collaborative research with national and international research teams.
ALSWH has gained international recognition for its multidisciplinary methodology.
Survey data is linked with national and State administrative health records, including Medicare, Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, Cancer Registries, Admitted Patient Hospital Collections, Perinatal datasets and Aged Care datasets. These data sets allow full information on health service use by women at different life stages and with different health care needs.
The Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health is funded by the Australian Government Department of Health and is a collaborative project conducted by staff and investigators at The University of Newcastle and The University of Queensland.