Katrien Helmerhorst works as an assistant professor at the unit of Child and Family Welfare. Her research has a focus on three main topics: 1) parenting behavior of (professional) caregivers, 2) early childcare centers, and 3) effectiveness of parenting interventions. A common thread in her research is observing a wide range of parenting behaviors (e.g., sensitivity, challenging parenting behavior, mind-mindedness, language and developmental stimulation, parent-child attachment relationship).
In 2014, she completed her PhD at the department of Child Development and Education, University of Amsterdam (UvA). During her PhD, she developed and evaluated an intervention program (video-feedback training) for professional caregivers in center based child care. During her first postdoc at the UvA, she obtained a subsidy granted by the Dutch Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment to develop and test effectiveness of an intervention program for caregiver training in vocational education. In 2017, Helmerhorst started a second postdoc at the Department of Sociology (Family sociology) Erasmus University Rotterdam within an interdisciplinary research team in which the family is investigated within its wider context, such as the influence of socio-economic status (diversity, intergenerational transmission of inequality, policy (parental leave), and gender ideologies of men and women in modern society. She was the lead investigator of the 3HOEK study (VIDI & ERC Starting Grant by Prof. dr. Renske Keizer), which follows 104 families (fathers, mothers, and 3-year-olds) from Rotterdam. In this project, she studies parenting behavior of both fathers and mothers, parent-child interactions, family functioning, and child development in families from both relatively high as well as relatively low socioeconomic backgrounds.