The Dutch famine birth cohort study
In the Dutch famine birth cohort study, we investigate the mental and physical health of people who have been exposed to the Dutch famine during pregnancy. The Dutch famine, or Hongerwinter,  was a five month period at the end of World War II during which the urban western part of the Netherlands experienced a severe famine. The effects of having been in utero during this period can still be seen. The later life health of people who were prenatally exposed to the famine, especially when this happened during early gestation, is adversely affected in several ways. For more information on this study, you can visit

The ABCD study
The Amsterdam Born Children and their Development study is a cohort study in which children are being followed from pregnancy onwards. The study focuses on disentangling the diverse effects of early life factors, in pregnancy, infancy and childhood, on health outcomes in the children. Within this cohort we are currently performing the ELSO study; Early Life Stress and Obesity. This project is focused in investigating the links between stress in early life, pre and postnatally, and the development of overweight and obesity and what mechanisms underlie these associations. For more information, see

The Beating the Blues Before Birth Study - follow up
The Beating the Blues Before Birth study is a randomized clinical trial in which pregnant women suffering from depression and/or anxiety were allocated to receive a specially designed cognitive behaviour therapy program or treatment as usual. Short term follow up in this project showed that depression and anxiety symptoms diminished more in the treatment group than in the control group. In collaboration with the research group of prof. Jeannette Milgrom, we are currently investigating whether the treatment also has effects on the behaviour and brain of the child around five years of age.  You can find more information about the initial study on

The Social Stress in Adolescents study
The Social Stress in Adolescents study is a study in which several forms of stress in Dutch adolescents have been measured and are related to hormonal measures, such as cortisol and DHEA. The study is located at the VU University. One of the projects within this study focuses on the associations between early life adversity and endocrinological outcomes in puberty. 

The NEMO Science Live study: Hoe ga jij om met stress?
This study was conducted at the NEMO museum in Amsterdam and aimed at finding out whether the stressmindset can be manipulated in children and adolescents and whether that affects responses to a stress protocol. More information about this study can be found at

The Stress Lab
The Stress Lab is a knowledge centre on stress in early life, where prof. Anja Huizink and I aim to translate scientific findings on stress in early life (pregnancy, childhood, adolscence) to the general public. We are currently also developing stress education programs for our specific target groups as well as for people who work with these groups, such as teachers. For more information, you can go to