The Danish High-Risk and Resilience Study-VIA 15 - A Study Protocol for the Third Clinical Assessment of a Cohort of 522 Children Born to Parents Diagnosed With Schizophrenia or Bipolar Disorder and Population-Based Controls

Anne Amalie Elgaard Thorup, Nicoline Hemager, Vibeke Fuglsang Bliksted, Aja Neergaard Greve, Jessica Ohland, Martin Wilms, Sinnika Birkehøj Rohd, Merete Birk, Anette Faurskov Bundgaard, Andreas Færgemand Laursen, Oskar Hougaard Jefsen, Nanna Lawaetz Steffensen, Anna Krogh Andreassen, Lotte Veddum, Christina Bruun Knudsen, Mette Enevoldsen, Marie Nymand, Julie Marie Brandt, Anne Søndergaard, Line CarmichaelMaja Gregersen, Mette Falkenberg Krantz, Birgitte Klee Burton, Martin Dietz, Ron Nudel, Line Korsgaard Johnsen, Kit Melissa Larsen, David Meder, Oliver James Hulme, William Frans Christiaan Baaré, Kathrine Skak Madsen, Torben Ellegaard Lund, Leif Østergaard, Anders Juul, Troels Wesenberg Kjær, Carsten Hjorthøj, Hartwig Roman Siebner, Ole Mors, Merete Nordentoft

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Background: Children born to parents with severe mental illness have gained more attention during the last decades because of increasing evidence documenting that these children constitute a population with an increased risk of developing mental illness and other negative life outcomes. Because of high-quality research with cohorts of offspring with familial risk and increased knowledge about gene-environment interactions, early interventions and preventive strategies are now being developed all over the world. Adolescence is a period characterized by massive changes, both in terms of physical, neurologic, psychological, social, and behavioral aspects. It is also the period of life with the highest risk of experiencing onset of a mental disorder. Therefore, investigating the impact of various risk and resilience factors in adolescence is important.

Methods: The Danish High-Risk and Resilience Study started data collection in 2012, where 522 7-year-old children were enrolled in the first wave of the study, the VIA 7 study. The cohort was identified through Danish registers based on diagnoses of the parents. A total of 202 children had a parent diagnosed with schizophrenia, 120 children had a parent diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and 200 children had parents without these diagnoses. At age 11 years, all children were assessed for the second time in the VIA 11 study, with a follow-up retention rate of 89%. A comprehensive assessment battery covering domains of psychopathology, neurocognition, social cognition and behavior, motor development and physical health, genetic analyses, attachment, stress, parental functioning, and home environment was carried out at each wave. Magnetic resonance imaging scans of the brain and electroencephalograms were included from age 11 years. This study protocol describes the third wave of assessment, the VIA 15 study, participants being 15 years of age and the full, 3-day-long assessment battery this time including also risk behavior, magnetoencephalography, sleep, and a white noise paradigm. Data collection started on May 1, 2021.

Discussion: We will discuss the importance of longitudinal studies and cross-sectional data collection and how studies like this may inform us about unmet needs and windows of opportunity for future preventive interventions, early illness identification, and treatment in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Article number809807
JournalFrontiers in Psychiatry
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2022


  • adolescent mental health
  • bipolar disorder
  • developmental trajectories
  • familial high risk
  • schizophrenia


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