Healthy development and problems

How do babies develop into healthy young adults?

Our research focuses on child development. In general, parents, siblings, teachers and/or peers of these children are also involved in our studies. Repeating the measurements  several times (longitudinal studies) allows us to trace the influence of the child's environment  on its development. Among other topics, we investigate whether a child's characteristics early in life shape its future development and whether children that are exposed to risk factors such as premature birth develop in the same way.
Other topics for our research into infants, school-age children, adolescents and young adults include their individual characteristics such as self-control, temperament and personality, the differences between boys and girls, sexual development, and the influence of parents, peers and the media.

Examples of our research

Which problems can arise during child and adolescent developement?

Developing children can start to worry, become anxious or depressed. These symptoms are referred to as internalising psychosocial problems. On the other hand, children can show aggressive or even antisocial or delinquent behavior that can damage others. Such symptoms are referred to as externalising psychosocial problems. Sometimes combinations of the two appear and children can also struggle with attention problems. Psychosocial problems can range from mild to very serious, in the latter case they can harm the young person's development. We investigate why some children develop these problems while others do not, which factors play a part, how we can avoid them (prevention) and which treatment interventions are effective.