Universiteit Leiden

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Clinical Psychology

Research

The aim of our research program is to better understand the aetiology and course of mood, anxiety and trauma and stressor-related disorders and to test and improve treatments for these disorders.

The general background of our research program is that these broad categories of disorders are closely associated. They share many common factors, including emotional and cognitive dysregulation, as well as a dysregulation of psychobiological stress-regulation systems. The so-called transdiagnostic point of view entails that many of the stress-related disorders that are classified separately in the psychiatric classification systems are characterized by shared dysregulations.

Another common factor is that they are a result of a complex interaction between genes and early and late environmental factors. Consequently, they are most fruitfully studied in multidisciplinary research teams, in longitudinal studies and within a life-span perspective.

We aim to elucidate the shared psychological mechanisms and biological underpinnings of resilience and vulnerability to stressor- and trauma-related psychiatric disorders, using a transdiagnostic, translational and multidisciplinary approach.

Focus

In our program we focus on the mood disorders, anxiety disorders, somatic symptom disorders and trauma and stressor-related disorders. We will refer to this group here as “stress-related disorders” (for lack of a better term; all psychiatric disorders are stress-related). Some of our research is focused on personality disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorders, eating disorders and psychotic disorders, particularly how they relate to the stress-related disorders.

Approach

Our approaches include observational and experimental studies, and range from surveys and case studies to large-scale and multicentre clinical trials and cohort studies.

Alliances

We have strategic alliances with several regional mental health partners, including Parnassia, the PsyQ programs Mood disorders, Anxiety disorders and Psychotrauma, Transparant Leiden, Riverduinen and with lifeline organization 113 Zelfmoordpreventie. The alliances are visible in collaboration in research and teaching, as well as in shared appointments.

We maintain strong and longstanding collaborations with the department of Psychiatry LUMC and other expert groups in Amsterdam and Groningen in the internationally renowned NESDA-consortium. We collaborate in our new clinical facility LUBEC with other departments at the Institute of Psychology, with the department of Psychiatry and with Transparant Leiden.

To translate fundamental findings into personalised approaches, we collaborate locally with various groups in the Leiden University and LUMC Research Profiles ‘Translational Neuroscience’, ‘Brain function and dysfunction across the life span’ and ‘Health, prevention and the human life cycle’.

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