Work package 2

The effect of bullying on brain development and the effectiveness of anti-bullying programs

What kind of influence does bullying have on the development of your brain? And why is there still so much bullying going on? In this work package we investigate the effect of being bullied on your brain development. We also examine the current anti-bullying programs in order to get a better picture of which components of bullying are set as the target of these programs. In addition to brain development, we also look at whether bullying influences the physiological stress reactions in children. As a product of these studies we want to make a website for youth and parents to give information about the effects of being bullied on your biological development.

Unfortunately, bullying is still a common problem. Approximately four percent of young children indicate that they are being bullied for a long time, despite various anti-bullying programs that are being implemented at schools. In this work package, we investigate the effect of long-term bullying on neural development in children: how do children who themselves bully and children who are bullied develop themselves differently from other children? And what is the effect of exclusion on problem behavior such as depression, antisocial behavior or substance abuse?

The research will be carried out in collaboration with universities, applied universities, research institute TNO, and other partners such as KivA, Respect-education, Netherlands Brain Foundation, Fun4All and the Netherlands Youth Institute.

Affiliated researchers

Prof. Dr. Berna Güroĝlu (UL)

Dr. Neeltje van den Bedem (Leiden University/Tilburg University)

Prof. Dr. René Veenstra (Rijks University Groningen)

Sanne Kellij (Rijks University Groningen)

Prof. Dr. Henning Tiemeier (Erasmus University Rotterdam/Harvard, Verenigde Staten)

Dr. Matteo Giletto (Tilburg University)

Rosa Mulder (Erasmus University Rotterdam)

Lisa Schreuders (Tilburg University)

Prof. Dr. Marcel van Aken (Utrecht University)

The list of affiliated researchers and institutes is ever expanding. Are you involved in the Startimpulse work package, but not yet listed here? Please send an e-mail to