Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology and Psychotherapy

Research activitives

We examine the social, emotional, and cognitive basis of psychopathology from middle childhood through adolescence. We use a range of methodological approaches to better understand how disorders develop in the context of sensitive developmental periods, and how we might prevent their occurrence. This way, we aim at helping youth and their families to strengthen their relationships, thereby strengthening their well-being and resilience in the long term.

Our empirical and clinical work falls under the domain of “social processes” in the NIMH Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) initiative, because we mainly focus on constructs related to interpersonal contexts including the perception, interpretation, as well as behavioral and affective reactivity to others’ actions (e.g., social threat and rejection sensitivity, relational aggression, borderline personality features). We employ a multi-disciplinary and multi-method perspective, working to understand how normative developmental processes may go awry in youths or family systems who behave in ways that are harmful to themselves (e.g., nonsuicidal self-injury, suicidal thoughts and behaviors). Our work is guided by a translational approach, designing our studies such that the investigation of the basic processes involved may directly inform clinical questions. For this reason, we conceptualize psychopathology in children and adolescents as contextualized processes that need to be assessed as they dynamically unfold over various time scales. Much of our work involves repeated sampling from youth in time intervals that span from momentary to decade-long processes, and aims to harness the power of advancing technology (e.g., ecological momentary assessment, smartphone sensing) to better identify and detect self-harm and patterns of dysregulation in the real world and in real time.

Open Science Statement

In our research we adhere to open science standards whenever practically possible (see Kirtley, Janssens, & Kaurin, 2022). That is, (a) hypotheses are either pre-registered or studies / analyses are explicitly marked as exploratory, (b) data, materials, and analysis scripts are made publicly available at the time of publication, (c) all manipulations and assessed variables are reported; also failed studies in a project are reported, and (d) studies are generally planned to have sample sizes that allow achieving sufficient statistical power; power is a-priori determined (if possible) on the basis of power analyses.

Exceptions are possible, for example, if there are restrictions due to legal or contractual obligations (e.g., concerning data sharing or material sharing in clinical contexts) or if quick set-ups are required to analyze current societal developments (e.g., COVID-19 pandemic).

The application of transparency and openness principles is documented by providing links to data and material in the publication list on the individual researchers’ webpages. 

Last modified: 05.10.2023

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