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PhD candidate: Annick Zijlstra

Newborns of mothers with mild to borderline intellectual functioning (MBID) and multi-problems are at extremely high risk for unsafe parenting. To prevent unsafe circumstances for these newborns, it is important to detect highly vulnerable future mothers (and their partners) with MBID already during pregnancy, to support them in this stage, and to ensure a safe environment for their newborn, with an effective intervention.

Veilige Start (Safe Start) is an intervention developed for and with this group and aims to ensure a safe environment for the (unborn) child at home with his/her parents. Currently, it has not been examined if the intervention meets the needs of this group and the effects of the intervention has not been evaluated yet. The present project will therefore examine the needs for support, protective, and risk factors in women with MBID and multi-problems (and their partners) around pregnancy and use this information to further develop the intervention and examine its effects on child safety and well-being, parenting, and family functioning.

This project is part of and subsidized by the ZonMw Program Onbedoelde zwangerschap en kwetsbaar (jong) ouderschap (Unintentional pregnancy and vulnerable (young) parenthood). 

A. (Annick) Zijlstra MSc

Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences

Programme group: Developmental psychopathology

Prof. dr. B. (Bram) Orobio de Castro


dr. Maroesjka van Nieuwenhuizen | Co-Promotor