Dutch children are the happiest children in the world according to UNICEF. At the same time, a large part of the Dutch youth experiences psychological problems: More than a third of adolescents suffer from anxiety, sadness, irritability, or stress. These numbers have only increased in recent years. The current measures concerning the coronavirus, such as staying at home for a long period of time and homeschooling, are an extra challenge for many young people and their parents. At first sight, happiness and psychological problems seem to be incompatible. But is that really true? This is the main question in the Dutch research project Ieder Kind is Anders (Every Child is Different) of the University of Groningen that was launched at the end of April.
"In Ieder Kind Is Anders (Every Child Is Different) we examine the connection between happiness and suffering among Dutch young people between the ages of 4 and 18," says research leader Anne Margit Reitsema. We want to know what makes children and young people happy, and how this is influenced by emotions, stress, and parenting. What makes this project unique is that both parents and children are being involved. Reitsema: "We know that children and their parents often have different perceptions about happiness and psychological complaints, but we do not yet know where these differences come from. We hope that this study will help us learn more about it."
In the project, the Groningen researchers track children, young people and their parents over a longer period of time. This is done via various online questionnaires and a diary study. Participants have immediate access to their results, which allows them to learn more about themselves, their child, and about other young people and parents in the Netherlands. Reitsema: "Many people wonder whether what they feel, think or do is 'normal'. By giving participants insight in their results, we want to show that variation is the norm. In other words: everyone is different."
Young people between 8 and 18 years of age can participate in the research, up to 16 years of age with the consent of a parent. Parents with a child between 4 and 18 years old can participate in the study (even if their child does not participate). Be aware: the survey is only available in Dutch.
Ieder Kind is Anders is a follow-up to the research project Hoe Gek is NL? (How Nuts are the Dutch?) and an initiative of the Department of Developmental Psychology of the University of Groningen. The project is led by Anne Margit Reitsema, in collaboration with Dr Bertus Jeronimus, Dr Ando Emerencia, Dr Vera Heininga, Dr Marijn van Dijk and Prof. Peter de Jonge.
Sign-up via www.iederkindisanders.nl
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