Social competence and behavioural control
The YOUth cohort focuses on neurocognitive development involved in two core characteristics of behavioural development: social competence and behavioural control. From an early age, deficiencies in social competence and behavioural control have been linked to a variety of behavioural, psychological and psychiatric problems.
We include children from the general population to cover the whole range of variation in behavioural development, ranging from uncomplicated development, through problem behaviour, to psychiatric disorders. Understanding this is vital, as psychiatric disorders are the most important cause of burden of disease in high-income countries. Moreover, children without psychiatric disorders also often experience behavioural problems that are equally disruptive at a personal, familial, and societal level.
To understand why some children develop problematic behaviour, and others show resiliency, we measure a broad range of biological, child-related and environmental determinants. Specifically, we investigate how these determinants influence the development of social competence and behavioural control and how this relationship is mediated by the developing brain.