Examples of our intervention studies are studies about the effects of parent training programs (such as Incredible Years, VIPP-SD, and Family Check-up) on parenting and children’s behavior and biological processes (related to (epi)genetics and stress) and studies about the effect of social skills training and anti-bullying intervention programs.
We examine processes of resilience, adaptation or maladaptation over time in different longitudinal studies, for instance on on youth growing up in at-risk families in Amsterdam, on social-emotional development of adolescents, on temper tantrums in toddlers, on sexual minority and gender nonconforming youth, on gay and lesbian-headed families, and on social-emotional development of children in childcare centers.
Different children deal differently with all the stimuli that come to them on a daily basis. But we still know little about why some children are more or less sensitive to these stimuli from their environment. We are investigating how biological influences (such as the functioning of genes and hormones) and parenting play a role in this. We also want to know what kind of parenting support works best for parents and children to prevent defiant and oppositional behavior.
Aim and Relevance:
The aim of this research project is to assess the effects of the Family Check-Up (FCU; Dishion, 1990) in the Netherlands. The FCU is a family management intervention that is distinctive from other parenting interventions due to its brief character (i.e., only three sessions) and family-centered approach. Previous randomized controlled trial studies conducted in the Unites States and Sweden have shown positive effects for the FCU in a range of age-groups (e.g., Shaw et al., 2016; Smith et al., 2014). Besides intervention effects, this project will attend to the influence of urbanicity factors on intervention effects. Urban influences such as high population density, sensory overload, lack of green-space or environmental pollution—globally referred to as urban stress—may influence mental health (see Krabbendam et al. 2020 for an overview of current knowledge). Therefore, to gain a better understanding of what works for whom, this study will assess the influence of urbanicity on the effects of the FCU.
The current research project aims to examine the evidence for the effectiveness for the FCU in the Netherlands. To do so, multiple studies into the effects of the FCU will be conducted.
For this line of study, we will use ecological momentary assessments (EMA) to gain insights into the process of change that is induced by the FCU. This study will also collect qualitative data to contextualize quantitative findings, and will specifically focus on low-SES families.
Since 2020, it is in the Netherlands possible for man-man couples to get a baby with the help of a surrogate and an egg donor, resulting in the first birth of a child on 5 August 2021. Likely, Dutch gay and transgender people and man-woman couples will more often use this procedure to become parents. It is, therefore, essential that counseling procedures are available to allow the children (and others involved) to develop as well as possible. Unfortunately, evidence-based guidelines for counseling are lacking. In this project, we collect the necessary knowledge to create counseling guidelines and training subsequently.
Home visiting programs are broadly used to support families and to prevent family dysfunctioning. Research on the evaluation of home visiting programs has shown some promising effects for parents and children. Effects are, however, limited in magnitude and utility of home visiting has not yet been clearly demonstrated. Identifying effective components of home visiting programs may support practitioners in providing tailored - and thereby hopefully more effective - care aimed at enhancing positive parenting behavior. In this research project, we aim to identify effective components in the Home-Start program. Home-Start is a voluntary organization in which volunteers offer regular support, friendship and practical help to young families in their own homes helping to prevent family crisis or breakdown.
Aims and methods