I am a Full Professor in Developmental Psychopathology at the Department of Psychology, Education and Child Studies. I also hold a position at the department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry / Psychology at the Erasmus University / Medical Centre, where I head the Behaviour & Cognition research in Generation R (PI).
As a professor, I am involved in teaching activities in the Clinical Child Psychology curriculum. I also coordinate and supervise research on common childhood psychopathologies. With a background in psychology and epidemiology, I started my academic career with a broad initial interest on social inequalities that has evolved into a research line on the development of psychopathology in childhood. Using data from population-based birth cohorts like Generation R (www.generationr.nl) and the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (http://www.growingupinaustralia.gov.au/index.html), I examine the aetiology, developmental course and consequences of emotional problems (sadness, anxiety), ADHD, autism and eating disorder symptoms across childhood and adolescence.
I am interested in questions like: Why do some children develop a poor self-esteem and a poor body image? What factors predict ADHD symptoms? Does behaviour in infancy predict later autism symptoms, and can screening of this behaviour promote early detection of autism? Do physical problems like asthma, pain or bowel problems affect children’s well-being? How do bullying experiences affect child well-being? How do parents’ child rearing strategies and children’s behavioural problems affect each other? Why do life events and stress have an adverse impact on some children but not on others? Clearly, answers to these questions provide opportunities to prevent and treat mental health problems at an early stage.
Research interests • Common childhood psychopathologies • Eating behaviour (e.g. uncontrolled or emotional eating), eating disorder symptoms and overweight in childhood and adolescence • Parenting and the interaction with child behaviour • Sociodemographics, life events and other predictors of psychopathology, with a particular focus on underlying mechanisms
Ongoing collaborations • Generation R Study (as PI I head the Behaviour & Cognition research group) • Longitudinal Study of Australian Children • Flemish Study on Parenting, Personality and Development • Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, Melbourne, Australia • University College London, Institute for Child Health, UK
Research achievements and recognitions • Comenius early career award of the European Federation of Psychologists’ Associations • Career grants awarded together over €1.000.000 • Member of Young Erasmus (https://www.eur.nl/en/young-erasmus-academy/who-we-are/members) • More than 80 publications, including various articles as lead author in high impact journals in the field of social and medical sciences like American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Appetite, Pediatrics, Psychological Assessment and Social Development.