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Research programme Child Development

Research Institute of Child Development and Education

The aim of the Child Development programme is to gain knowledge on variations in normal and abnormal child development from a child rearing perspective, and on interventions that can be used to effectively support child development.

The focus is on child development and parenting in traditional and non-traditional families, the role of the father, the relation between temperament and parenting, child care, and aetiology of abnormal child development (including anxiety, deficits in moral development, and juvenile delinquency), and on preventive and curative interventions targeting child-rearing problems and psychopathology.

Please find further information on all of the research lines in the Child Development programme below:

  • Preventive Youth Care

    This research group engages in original empirical and theoretical research with the aim of contributing to the development of theories on, and models of, the processes that underlie child development, child rearing, childhood education and childhood development. Identifying pathways of adaptation or maladaptation over time allows targeted support and intervention.

    prof. dr. G.J. (Geertjan) Overbeek


  • Developmental Psychopathology

    The aetiology and maintenance of developmental psychopathology is examined in the context of temperamental and environmental (parenting and family) factors. Moreover, we study interventions in child psychopathology, via the child, parent, and/or family, in interaction with child and family factors.

    The main child problems studied are:

    • Internalising child problems (behaviour inhibition temperament, anxiety disorders and depression)
    • Alcohol and drug use, and smoking
    • Paediatric problems (sleeping disorders, epilepsy, asthma and diabetes, parental somatic disorder)
    prof. dr. B. (Bram) Orobio de Castro

    Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences

    Programme group: Developmental psychopathology

  • Forensic Child and Youth Care

    The research group examines serious problems in children, adolescents, and young adults and families that warrant immediate or future judicial intervention enforced by civil, administrative or criminal courts.

    The question of whether and, if so, under what circumstances the state should intervene in families and other educationally relevant contexts, confronts Forensic Child and Youth Care Sciences with major ethical, societal, and judicial issues. Therefore, Forensic Child and Youth Care Sciences are also rooted in legal science, sociology, criminology and developmental and clinical psychology.

    The main aims of the research group are:

    • To examine the prevalence, incidence and aetiology of serious behaviour problems, such as juvenile delinquency, in children, adolescents and young adults;
    • To evaluate judicial interventions targeting serious problems in children, adolescents, young adults and families (including child abuse and neglect);
    • To improve methods for collecting and evaluating data in the field of Forensic Child and Youth Care Sciences.
    prof. dr. G.J.J.M. (Geert-Jan) Stams

    Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences

    Programme group: Forensic Child and Youth Care

  • Methods and Statistics

    The methods and statistics group conducts psychometric research into measurement and measurement bias in CDE research, and into the application of latent variable models in CDE research. In addition, the group supports and participates in the research of the other research groups.

    Two examples of research questions:

    1. Do observed differences in test scores represent true differences between children?
    2. How to apply (standard) statistical models to (non-standard) CDE data?
    prof. dr. F.J. (Frans) Oort

    Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences

    Programme group: Methods and statistics

PhD Projects