Marieke Buil

PhD student

Professional Interests

I have a special interest in exploring emotional and behavioral problems in children and adolescents, as well as in investigating developmental pathways that might lead to future psychopathology and psychiatric disorders. Basically, I aim to understand why psychopathology occurs, which social and personal factors contribute to its development and how we can intervene in or even prevent emotional and behavioral disturbances.



Current Activities, Project Spelregels

I am employed at the Department of Developmental Psychology of the VU University of Amsterdam as a PhD candidate (director: prof. J.M. Koot, PhD.), since September 2010. My research project 'Spelregels' is focused on the influence of environmental and child personal factors to the development of psychopathology. 

Background 'Project Spelregels'
Early behavioral problems, such as conduct problems, oppositional defiant problems or difficulties in attention, impose a great risk for later serious maladjustment problems. These include greater risk for school failure and academic difficulties, poor relations with peers, juvenile violence and delinquency, early initiation of substance use, mental disorders in adulthood, and societal drop-out. Therefore, early interventions aimed at reducing disruptive behavior in young, elementary school children, is needed.

In project Spelregels, supervised by prof. Pol van Lier, PhD. and Prof. Hans Koot, PhD., over 800 children are followed from kindergarten onwards. Approximately 2/3 of these children have participated in the school-based intervention program 'the Good Behavior Game' (in Dutch: Taakspel) which has previously been found to be effective in targeting child emotional and behavioral problems. Our respondents are currently 13 and 14 years of age, and throughout the years their emotional, social, and (neuro)cognitive development has been stringently followed by the research team of project Spelregels.

Using these large scale longitudinal and experimental data I aim to unravel how peer relations, cognitive and neuropsychological development become intertwined in explaining psychopathological development in childhood and adolescence.

Data collection since Spring 2011
In the current data collection (which started in spring 2011) we aim to investigate current child emotional and behavioral problems (from parent and child reports) as well as the child personal factors (such as DNA and neurocognitive functioning) that might have contributed to the development of these problems. In cooperation with the research teams of Prof. Reinout Wiers, PhD. (University of Amsterdam) and Prof. Eveline Crone, PhD. (Leiden University) we aim to study child neurocognitive and neurological functioning (working memory, inhibition, cognitive flexibility, risk taking/sensation seeking and implicit cognitions) with various computer tasks and simulations as well as with fMRI. With these data we hope to demonstrate the long-term effects of the Good Behavior Game intervention, as well as to unravel the conditions under which the program became effective.


- Juvenile Delinquency and Antisocial Development 2010/2011
- Juvenile Delinquency and Antisocial Development 2011/2010




Past Activities

I have graduated at Leiden University in November 2010, as a research master student, specialized in developmental psychopathology and clinical child and adolescent studies. My master thesis entitled 'Cognitive and Behavioral Antecedents of Psychosis: a Follow-up Study of a Juvenile Psychiatric Cohort‘ was focused on the juvenile (neuro)cognitive and behavioral deficits that lead to future psychosis. During my two-year research master I have assisted Prof. P. Vedder, PhD. (Youth Welfare and Juvenile Behavioral Problems) and S.S.S.A. Fagel, MSc. (Clinical Child and Adolescent Studies) at research and teaching activities.

Tutor: Selene Fagel, MSc. (PhD-student Clinical Child and Adolescent Studies, Leiden University).  Supervisor: Prof. H. Swaab, PhD. (Professor of Clinical Child and Adolescent Studies, Neuropsychology of Developmental Disorders).
Second-reader: S. van Rijn, PhD. (Assistant Professor Clinical Child and Adolescent Studies, Leiden University)