Growing up in poverty

Resilience factors for Opportunity Inequalities in health and education (Project ROI)

Growing up in poverty is associated with several disadvantages later in life. We will map inequalities in 4 domains: 1) Contraception & unintended pregnancy; 2) Antenatal care use; 3) Educational mismatch; 4) Unmet need of mental healthcare; and aim to identify resilience factors that may buffer against these inequalities.

How are we conducting the research?

We follow an iterative learning approach by involving relevant stakeholders in different phases of the project to ensure that we formulate the most relevant research questions. Data of the Generation R Study will be used, a prospective cohort following 7,000 families since early pregnancy in Rotterdam. Information on numerous risk and resilience factors and outcomes is collected over time. Although it is typically difficult to include vulnerable families in research, around 10% of the participating children were born into poverty. As such, Generation R offers a unique opportunity to address existing knowledge gaps.

How does our research make an impact?

We started the project with interactive focus groups to feed our research questions with input from professionals. During the current project, we will frequently contact our stakeholders to interpret results and to translate the results into building blocks which consist of information on how opportunity inequalities in academic achievement and in care use may arise and how they can be targeted via resilience factors. The most important impact for society will be realized through the delivery of these building blocks, that our societal partners (Municipality of Rotterdam, Nu Niet Zwanger, Frontlijn and FOKOR), and their network of relevant stakeholders can use for policy and (preventive) interventions. In addition, we will organize presentations for schools and health care professionals/organizations to disseminate the gained knowledge and practical implications into clinical practice and the broader society. We also teach our future psychologists, pedagogues, medical doctors, and epidemiologists through our involvement in academic curricula. Moreover, we aim to reach the target group via (social) media, blogs / interviews, and local presentations.


  • Prof. Dr. Anna Nieboer, Department of Socio-Medical Sciences, Erasmus School of Health Policy & Management
  • Prof. Dr. Hanan El Marroun, Department of Psychology, Education & Child Studies, Erasmus School of Social and Behavioral Sciences & Department of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry/Psychology, Erasmus Medical Center
  • Dr. Hilmar Bijma, Gynaecologist, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Erasmus Medical Center Sophia
  • Dr. Wilma Jansen, Municipality of Rotterdam & Department of Public Health, Erasmus Medical Center

  • Eiskje Clason, MSc, Municipality of Rotterdam

  • Meike van ‘t Hof, MSc, Nu Niet Zwanger, Rotterdam Rijnmond (GGD)

  • Gerrit Elings, MSc, FOKOR [Association of cooperation school boards for education in Rotterdam]

  • Renée Wind, MSc, Frontlijn, Municipality of Rotterdam

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