Universiteit Leiden

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Social Anxiety and Specific Phobia in youth

Our Research

From basic science to real-world interventions


Our projects aim to examine fundamental processes that contribute to the development of social anxiety and specific phobia and treatment efficacy for these mental health disorders. Our motivation is to shed light on neurobiological, behavioural, cognitive, and social mechanisms underlying social anxiety and specific phobia and to translate this knowledge to improve interventions for children and adolescents alike. Our research is not only the traditional laboratory-based approach but also involves different settings that young people encounter: the General Practitioner’s office, primary and secondary schools, as well as mental health care services, to gather data and test our research questions.


In collaboration with several partners, both local and from around the world we develop novel research paradigms and treatment modules, including the Leiden University Treatment and Expertise Centre (LUBEC), Leiden University Medical Centre (LUMC), Curium-LUMC, and Leiden University Graduate School of Teaching (ICLON), University of Amsterdam, Utrecht University, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Macquarie University, Virginia Tech University, New York Grossman School of Medicine, and Yale University.


We publish our findings in international peer-reviewed journals such as Journal of Anxiety Disorders, Journal of Abnormal Psychology, Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, Child Development, Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, and BMJ Open. We also regularly bring our research to society through writing of blogs, television and radio appearances, and publishing articles in popular scientific press.

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