Mental health of the youth

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Tino van den Berg:

What are we researching?

This research line focuses on adaptive and maladaptive development, with a particular aim to better understand why some children and adolescents develop problems while others do not. We study emotional, cognitive, and behavioral problems that are common in childhood and adolescence, including anxiety, ADHD, autism, eating disorders and risk-taking behaviors.

Why are we doing this research?

Results from our studies help us understand why problems arise. Such knowledge is needed to inform and develop strategies for optimizing child and adolescent development, including early detection and (preventive) interventions.

How are we doing this research?

Our research mostly has an observational character, embedded in large cohorts in the general population (e.g., the Generation R Study, Flemish Study on Personality, Parenting and Development, and Longitudinal Study of Australian Children) and in specific clinical groups, e.g., children/adolescents with autism spectrum disorder or Cerebral Palsy. We collect data through both quantitative and qualitative methods (e.g., surveys, interviews, mobile phone applications, neuroimaging).

How does our research make an impact?

Our research is important for our future society’s mental health by striving for a better understanding of why mental health problems arise in youth. The gained knowledge is disseminated in three ways.

Within academia, new knowledge is disseminated to colleague researchers and is implemented in our Psychology Bachelor and Master track Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology to equip our students with the most up-to-date knowledge that is necessary for their future work. We also share our data with scholars (e.g.,

Second, we give new knowledge back to society, by making obtained information understandable and accessible for youth and their parents, e.g., newsletters, blogs and webinars.

Third, we involve policy makers and health care professionals in projects from the start, to ensure that we deal with the most relevant issues and to accommodate swift distribution of key messages across multiple platforms (printed material, patient associations, working groups involved in writing policy recommendations).

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