Emotions play a role in the development of bullying for teenage boys with and without autism: Paper in press

September 17th, 2018

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Today marks the first day of Anti Bullying Week 2018 in the Netherlands, which runs from September 17th – 21st 2018 - read more here (in Dutch). In keeping with this theme, a new longitudinal study by Sheida, Carolien and Evelien Broekhof has shed more light on the role of emotions in bullying in adolescent boys with and without autism. While boys from both groups show very similar patterns overall, boys with autism feel angrier than others after experiencing bullying, which actually makes them more likely targets for future bullying. 

As might be expected, youngsters who often felt angry and rarely experienced guilt were more likely culprits of bullying behaviour. But not only that, engaging in bullying actually increased their anger over time and further reduced their feelings of guilt. In other words, bullies seem to become more insensitive towards their victims and feel more justified regarding their actions.  

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Interview with our new postdoc, Adva Eichengreen

August 9th, 2018


Adva started working at our lab on August 1st 2018, afer receiving a grant from the LeaDing Fellows postdocs program to conduct research on creating an inclusive school environment for deaf and hard of hearing children, with a focus on social inclusion. Read more about the research Adva is conducting here. Congratulations and welcome Adva!

How did you become interested in this area of research? 

“My interest in research with children with disabilities, and deaf and hard of hearing children in particular, has both professional and personal histories. I was born deaf and my whole life I have been integrated in regular educational settings. I use hearing aids and sometimes also FM microphones, which I give people in order to hear them better in one-on-one as well as in group interactions.”

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Facilitating an inclusive school environment outside the classroom for adolescents with ASD: NWO grant awarded!

July 16th, 2018

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Teenagers with autism are often socially isolated and thus have less access to a social learning environment. Yet, essential social and emotional skills are developed through interaction with peers; by trial and error young people learn how to behave in a group, negotiate, make up after an argument, among other skills. This is where youngsters with autism miss out, which contributes to their social and emotional difficulties throughout life.

The NWO has now awarded an LDE (Leiden-Delft-Erasmus) grant of € 500,000 to Carolien, Alexander Koutamanis (Delft University of Technology) and Els Blijd (Interpsy Groningen) to fund research aimed at facilitating social participation in adolescents with autism in high school settings. Read more on the NWO website here (in English) and on the Leiden University website here (in Dutch) and here (in English).

Rachel presents research on pro-social behaviour of girls and boys with autism

September 17th, 2018

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On September 8th 2018, Rachel attended the Psychological Society of Ireland’s Early Graduate Group Conference at the National University of Ireland, Galway. Rachel presented her research on the pro-social behaviour and social motivation of adolescent boys and girls with autism.

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Bullying in (pre-)adolescents with language disorders

July 14th, 2018

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Neeltje and her colleagues found that (pre-)adolescents with developmental language disorder (DLD) experienced more victimisation than their peers without DLD.

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Alexithymia with Dr. Hannah Hobson

June 20, 2018

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On the 19th of June 2018, Dr. Hannah Hobson, lecturer from the University of Greenwich, visited the lab to discuss new potential projects on children's alexithymia and language skills.

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Who are we?

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Our team is located at the department of Developmental Psychology of Leiden University in the Netherlands. We work in close collaboration with the Dutch Foundation for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Child (NSDSK), the ENT department of the Leiden University Medical Centre (LUMC), and the Centre for Autism.Our group is dedicated to examining the emotional development of children and adolescents of all walks of life. We have a strong focus on the functionality of emotions, and its impact on children's social development. Besides typically developing children and adolescents, we are interested in the development of those with hearing impairments, with autism spectrum disorders, or with specific language impairments.

On this site we regularly post news items about new publications, events, and so on. You can also read more about our ongoing projects, read about and download questionnaires we have developed, see an overview of our publications per topic, or read about opportunities for students to join our team.