Developmental Psychopathology from a Cultural and Educational Perspective

The PhD programme Developmental Psychopathology from a Cultural and Educational Perspective is concerned with children's and adolescents' learning and development, including deviant patterns.

Brief outline of the programme

Research programme
The PhD programme is part of the Rommert Casimir Institute of Developmental Psychopathology from a Cultural and Educational Perspective. The programme is based on the view that developmental psychopathology in a culturally diverse environment cannot be studied without choosing an explicit cultural perspective.

Programme Focus
A child’s individual development is the result of an interaction between cognitive, emotional and behavioural tendencies in the child’s genetic make-up and in the environment in which it grows up. The research programme focuses on protective and risk factors, and on diminishing problematic tendencies. Potential support for parents, carers, teachers and others helping children is also taken into consideration because it is connected with child-rearing and education.

The research themes are:

  1. violence and trauma in the family context;
  2. externalisation and internalisation of adolescents’ problem behaviour;
  3. learning difficulties and disorders, severe developmental disorders and deviant attachment.

Immigrant population
In addition, special attention is paid to child-rearing and development in the immigrant population. The social and economic development of our society depends on the next immigrant generations’ inclination to participate in society and on the opportunities offered to them. Serious integration problems, illustrated by an increased amount of violence against immigrants, indicate a need for research and its practical application that are aimed at encouraging increased social participation of ethnic minorities.

Additional research

Research is the principal part of the PhD programme. Students conduct original research leading to a dissertation under the guidance of a supervisor. Almost all PhD candidates are engaged in additional research projects, either individually or with other PhD students or members of the institute's staff, and they routinely attend scientific conferences where they present their work.

Admission requirements

A prospective PhD candidate in this field should have:

  1. considerable methodological knowledge and skills;
  2. some experience in designing and conducting small-scale research projects;
  3. knowledge of the contemporary social science literature relating to education and psychology;
  4. strong writing skills;
  5. a strong interest in doing original research at the highest level.


All full professors at the institute have the 'ius promovendi' (the right to act as a PhD supervisor). Their research specialisations can be summarized as follows:   

 Lenneke Alink:                                   child abuse

Marian Bakermans-Kranenburg:
  • attachment
  • intervention
  • behaviour genetics
  • emotion regulation
  • meta-analysis
Paul van den Broek:        

Jeanet Bus:
  • cognitive and neurological bases of learning and instruction
  • learning problems
  • emergent literacy
  • dyslexia
  • storybook reading
  • multimedia
Christine Espin:        

Marinus van IJzendoorn:
  • learning difficulties for secondary-school students 
  • attachment
  • meta-analysis
  • child development
  • parent education
  • early childhood education
Femmie Juffer:
  • adoption
  • adopted children
  • attachment
  • problem behaviour
  • meta-analysis
Pieter Kroonenberg (em):

Judi Mesman
  • multivariate data analysis
  • three-mode (component) analysis
  • applied data analysis
  • statistics
  • Developmental psychopathology
  • Literacy
  • Learning problems
  • Foster care
  • Adoption
  • Culture
  • Gender
  • Parenting
  • Autism
  • Teaching
  • Neurobiology
  • Gene-environment interaction
  • Child abuse
  • Evidence-based intervention
Evert Scholte:
  • childhood developmental disorders
  • behavioural and emotional problem behaviour
  • mental health and child welfare services
  • residential care
  • special needs education
Hanna Swaab-Barneveld:
  • neuropsychology
  • developmental disorders
  • assessment
  • social cognition
  • information processing
Paul Vedder:
  • cultural diversity
  • learning
  • social competence
  • interethnic relations
  • multilingualism
René van der Veer:
  • history of science
  • history of education and developmental psychology
  • cultural-historical school
  • Vygotsky
  • replication
The institute’s associate and assistant professors may co-supervise a PhD project. The Institute of Education and Child Studies is a member of the Institute for the Study of Education and Human Development (ISED).