Research Interests & Collaborations

Currently, my main research topic is the study of transdiagnostic mental health and resilience.

  • Resilience can be described as the process of maintaining or regaining good mental health following exposure to adversity.
  • Transdiagnostic specifies that the mental health concept should cut across various mental health problems, rather than focussing on a specific type of disorder.
  • Adverse experiences are strongly associated with the development of mental health problems and can be seen as transdiagnostic risk and vulnerability factor.

Therefore, one aim of my research is to study how we best can define and measure adversity, so that we eventually can better understand its consequences. The second aim of my research is the computation of continuous and categorical transdiagnostic mental health indices, mainly to aid the description and understanding of pathways between risk or resilience factors and mental health problems. Accordingly, the third and main aim of my research is to identify and investigate those protective factors that prevent mental health problems best. More specifically, I examine factors that are particularly protective for individuals with a history of adversity and factors that are protective in the general population, regardless of an adversity history. I believe that it is crucial that the various interrelated factors that increase mental health, such as high self-esteem and low rumination, are examined and understood. Shedding light on how protective factors operate can inform translational research aiming to promote mental health and may thus eventually improve prevention and intervention efforts. To this end I use cross-sectional and longitudinal data, spanning adolescence and young adulthood, and apply network psychometrics, structural equation models, machine learning techniques, as well as moderation and mediation analyses.

Generally, I am also interested in researching anxiety, (complicated) grief, as well as trauma and stress-related disorders. More specifically, I am interested in identifying factors that help explain the development and maintenance of those conditions. Moreover, I am passionate about psychotherapy research, particularly if it has a transdiagnostic and/or strength-based focus. Along those lines, I am always keen to learn new statistical methods that can help us to better model and eventually better understand the complex nature of mental health problems, their prevention and their treatment.

Key words: protective factors, childhood adversity, psychopathology, mental health, resilience, network analysis, psychological/epidemiological methods

 

To achieve the above aims, I work(ed) together with:

Advisers

  • Dr. Paul Wilkinson, MD (PhD)
  • Dr. Jan Stochl (PhD)
  • Dr. Anne-Laura van Harmelen (PhD & MSc)
  • Professor Ian Goodyer, MD (PhD & MSc)
  • Professor Bernet Elzinga (MSc)

Collaborators

  • Professor Raffael Kalisch
  • Dr. Eiko Fried
  • Dr. Rogier Kievit
  • Dr. Claudia van Borkulo
  • Dr. Philip Jefferies
  • Helen Caisley, MBBChir
  • Anne de Graaff, MSc
  • Katja Schueler, MSc
  • Pascal Schlechter, MPhil