About the programme

Social resilience and security has never been more important. Over the last 2 years, the COVID-19 pandemic has created a considerable disturbance to our personal and social lives. As a result, the general population reports more stress, loneliness and decreased quality of life. At the same time, there has been a sharp increase in suicidality and violence.

Our research programme brings together key expertise across differential social research disciplines and key societal stakeholders. We team up with researchers from law, archaeology and humanities as well as with youth panels and public sectors. We believe that this inclusive way of doing research contributes to greater social resilience and a safer society for all.

On this website you will find information about the interdisciplinary programme, the research projects we are developing, our team and our contact details. Please also see our webpage at Leiden University and our twitter!


Anne-Laura will give her inaugural lecture ‘There is no such thing as Resilience’ (in Dutch) on Monday 27 June. In her inaugural lecture she will explain the facts and myths about resilience after childhood adversity. Register now.

Our former outreach team Jonge Wetenschappers developed two podcasts (in Dutch) about the online life of today’s youth and the related social challenges that adolescents face. You can now listen to episode 1 ‘Cyberpesten and episode 2 ‘Sexting.

In the academic year 2022-2023 we will offer a new minor for students who are interested in studying interpersonal violence: Violence Studies. Those who are entering the third year of their Bachelor’s degree can register now.

NWO funds Consortium for research programme ‘Getting a grip on juvenile crime’. Lenneke and Marieke are part of the researchteam.

In Selin’s blog (published on Leidenpsychologyblog.nl) you read how people with anxiety experience the uncertainties of everyday life.

Marieke releases ‘Hotel met tralies’ on Dutch national broadcaster NPO Radio 1. Listen to the podcast here.

In Dutch magazine Elsevier,
Marieke explains the issues with using the term ‘troubled person‘ in reports on homocide. Click here for the press article from Leiden University or read the Elsevier article directly.

Marieke and Jolien discuss homicide trends in the Netherlands in their recent contribution to the blog of the Institute of Security and Global Affairs.

How can we support young people in building resilience? Maxi and Anne-Laura give some insight in their recent blog.

Take a look at this article in the New York Times that discusses an article by Maikel and a colleague, studying the emergence of money systems in ancient societies. If you prefer to read the academic publication, you can do so here.

Join Anne-Laura to learn more about Resilience in this podcast produced by the Association of Child and Adolescent Mental Health.

Our projects

Our programme seeks to improve social resilience and security through a focus the following topics: Adolescent Resilience, Uncertainty and Violence in Society

Adolescent Resilience

Resilience has never been more important. In the past 20 years, the world has seen severe threats to society in the form of war, inequality, and terrorist attacks. At the same time climate disaster has ravished the world through wildfires, droughts and floodings. And for the past two years, the world population has suffered the consequences of a global pandemic. Such adversity can negatively impact individuals in a myriad of ways, and has particularly strong effects on those growing up.

Childhood adversity, such as trauma, abuse, bullying but also poverty and parental mental illness is one of the strongest predictors of problems in later life, including (mental) health problems, lower educational attainment, behavioural problems, crime and suicide. In response to the pandemic, there has been a sharp increase in mental health problems, such as depression and anxiety in young people, and suicide is a leading cause of death among young people. To create healthy future societies, the Adolescent Resilience stream aims to improve our understanding as to how resilience can be achieved in young people.

Current projects in the group focus on examining what resilient stress responses look like (RAISE & Thrive projects); how adolescents with adversity responded to the Pandemic (REACT studies), and by examining the mechanisms of suicidality in adolescence (HOPES project).

Team: Anne-Laura van Harmelen, Maximilian Scheuplein (Thrive), Maria Dauvermann (Hopes), Laura Moreno Lopez (Raise & React).


Not knowing what to expect may make us insecure, anxious, and even feel threatened. However, uncertainty is also one of the few certainties we have. Embracing uncertainty, rather than fearing or avoiding it, may sometimes be the optimal strategy and bring us important new insights.

How do individuals deal with unpredictability and how much uncertainty do they tolerate? How may these factors affect resilience, mental health and well-being from a clinical, neurocognitive, and developmental perspective? Through the Uncertainty research stream, we aim to study the processes related to uncertainty from the perspective of psychology, law, as well as from a philosophical perspective and a governance and global affairs perspective.

In doing so, we aim to take a broad approach. In our experiments we measure, for example, how people manage stress responses in various settings: in the laboratory, in real online environments such as Twitter, and in response to the global pandemic. This way of doing research eventually helps to promote individual well-being and societal resilience. Also, the wide-ranging approach allows us to develop a state-of-the-art comprehensive view of how uncertainty shapes individuals and societies throughout history.

Team: Ellen de Bruijn, Anna van Duijvenvoorde, Henk van Steenbergen

Violence in society

Over the past two decades, knowledge about transgressive behaviours threatening our security have greatly increased, with direct applications in education, law, conflict, and cooperation. At the same time, transgressive behaviours have been studied in relative isolation, from separate disciplinary angles. Transgressive behaviours affect individuals and institutions across the world, regardless of demographic, ethnic, or socio-economic background. As such, there is a need to study these behaviours, and resilience against such behaviours, using multidisciplinary, or even interdisciplinary approaches. 

With the Violence in society research stream of the Social Resilience and Security programme, we seek to provide a broad and deep understanding of the dimensions and aetiology of transgressive behaviours, the effects of interventions, and resilience against such behaviours. This could include determinants of, for example, violent behaviour and resulting prevention initiatives. But it also concerns the effects of social (individual) interventions, the aims and objectives of legal interventions and the effects of policy interventions.  

Team: Marieke Liem, Jolien van Breen, Arnaldo Rabolini


The Social Resilience and Security programme is brand new! The conceptual development of the programme is progressing by two different methods, which are outlined briefly below. To get a flavour of related research projects from our group, please see the section Affiliated Projects.


To generate the research questions that will guide our programme, we are using the Delphi-method. The Delphi-method is designed specifically to extract and collate insight from a panel of experts and make optimal use of the variety of expertise represented (Elmer et al., 2009).


The second initiative designed to contribute to the conceptual development of the programme is a 5-day seminar on the topic of Online Transgressive Behaviour. We hope that the workshop can take place in the summer of 2021. If it goes ahead, you will of course read about it in the News section. 

Affiliated projects

Brain, Safety, and Resilience

Resilience After Individual Stress Exposure (RAISE)

The interface between homicide and the internet

25 years of lethal violence research


Project Leaders

Anne-Laura van Harmelen

Faculty: Social and Behavioural Sciences

My research aims to understand how we can increase resilience in young people. My work helps to inform prevention and intervention strategies aimed at reducing mental health and behavioural problems in at-risk young people. By understanding and improving social resilience, my research aims to increase social safety. 

You can find me on

Marieke Liem

Faculty: Governance and Global Affairs

My research focuses on interpersonal violence. I study this type of transgressive behaviour from a background in forensic psychology and criminology. I believe the interdisciplinary programme gives us a unique opportunity to structurally bring together interdisciplinary insights to answer questions regarding violence and interventions.

You can find me on:


Anna van Duijvenvoorde

Faculty: Social and Behavioural sciences

I am trained in both cognitive neuroscience and developmental psychology. In my work I study how brain development relates to adolescent’s decision-making and learning. My motto is that science is better together.

You can find me on:

Arnaldo Rabolini

Faculty: Governance & Global Affairs

Arnaldo started his PhD within the programme in September 2021, under the supervision of Marieke, Anne-Laura and Jolien.

You can find me on:

David Fontijn

Faculty: Archaeology

I study the social evolution of society in periods long before people were writing down their own histories. It is my conviction that archaeology has an unrivalled potential to inform us on the constitution of society by allowing us to reconstruct histories lasting thousands of years. In particular, I see one of its unique strengths to inform us on how things have shaped society and vice versa.

You can find me on:

Ellen de Bruijn

Faculty: Social and Behavioural sciences

I study the cognitive and neural mechanisms of action-control processes that are necessary to interact successfully with the environment and with other humans. I investigate modulations of these processes in healthy volunteers and in clinical populations from a social neurocognitive perspective. I make use of various approaches and methods, such as behavioural experiments, EEG, and fMRI techniques, as well as psychopharmacological manipulations.

You can find me on:

Henk van Steenbergen

Faculty: Social and Behavioural Sciences

In my Affect, Motivation & Action lab, we use a multi-method approach to investigate the fascinating relationship between emotion and cognition in humans. My most recent work investigates the role of the endogenous opioid system beyond pain relief. In particular, I study how our body’s own opioids modulate cognition, and how they mediate positive experiences and resilience.

You can find me on:

Jan Sleutels

Faculty: Humanities

In my research I concentrate on problems of mental content in contemporary philosophy of mind and in epistemology. Which factors are responsible for determining the contents of our thoughts, perceptions, desires, and other mental states? It may be argued that the human mind is subject to substantial change: the model of mind that applies to earlier stages of technological development may be substantially different from current models of mind.

You can find me on:

Jeroen ten Voorde

Faculty: Law

My expertise lies in the domain of substantive criminal law, criminal law theory and philosophy of law. My research concentrates on the question to what extent there exists space in (substantive) criminal law to allow for cultural differences.

You can find me on:

Jolien van Breen

Faculty: Governance & Global Affairs

I am a Social Psychologist, I obtained my PhD from the University of Groningen in 2017. My expertise is in the field of empowerment and resilience amongst those who experience prejudice or discrimination. I joined the Social Resilience and Security programme in September 2020.

You can find me on:

Faculty: Social and Behavioural Sciences

I am a Developmental Psychologist with a PhD in Education and Child Studies. My research focuses on children and families where growing up safely is not self-evident. I am interested in underlying processes that explain parent- and child behavior in these circumstances. 

You can find me on:

Maikel Kuijpers

Faculty: Archaeology

I hold a Ph.D. in archaeology and anthropology from Cambridge University. I specialize in the Bronze Age – my work concerns the formulation of knowledge over time, cognitive archaeology, craftsmanship, and skill. What is knowledge, how is it produced, and why is it valuable?

You can find me on:

Maximilian Scheuplein

Faculty: Social and Behavioural sciences

I am a PhD student in the Brain, Safety and Resilience programme, where I study the social and neurobiological risk and resilience mechanisms through which adverse early-life experiences impact individuals’ psychosocial functioning. Previously, I worked at New York University and the University of Oxford. I completed my MSc in Cognitive Neuroscience at University College London and my BSc in Psychology at Goethe University Frankfurt.

You can find me on:

Sara Perlstein

Faculty: Governance and Global Affairs

I am a PhD candidate at the Institute of Security and Global Affairs under the research groups ‘Crisis Governance’ and ‘Physical Violence and Public Order’. My research focuses on risk perception in relation to pandemics and terrorism.

I have a background in cultural sociology with an emphasis on quantitative methods. In addition to disaster research, my main research interests include the topics of trust and authority as well as digitalization.

You can find me on:

Selin Topel

Faculty: Social and Behavioural sciences

My PhD project is supervised by Prof. Ellen de Bruijn, Dr. Anna van Duijvenvoorde, and Dr. Henk van Steenbergen, and will focus on the relationship between resilience, uncertainty, and cognitive flexibility.

Before starting my PhD I conducted research at the Developmental Electrophysiology Lab at Yale Child Study Center examining electrophysiological responses to social evaluative feedback in relation to social anxiety.

You can find me on:

Gijs Hoogendoorn

Faculty: Social and Behavioural sciences

I am a master student in the Brain, Safety and Resilience programme. With our research group we study transgressive online behaviour in young adults, such as cyberbullying and sexting. We study mechanisms such as personality, child maltreatment and social media use. Beside writing my master thesis, education is my passion. I work at a school for special education in the Hague.

Programme Development and Support

Caroline de Ruijter

My strong suit is connecting and motivating people, and strengthening relationships – both within the programme and with external partners. I advise on improvements and sometimes I also execute the implementation of these improvements. I also focus on development of the programme’s long-term strategy.

Jessica Muda

I am the project coordinator for the Interdisciplinary programme ‘Social Resilience and Security’. I coordinate the Youth panel, the SRS minor, and the other intiatives within the programme. I previously worked at the University of Utrecht as a project coordinator and a research and education assistant.

Outreach Team

Our outreach team coordinate the programme’s community engagement, and lead the development of the Youth Panel.

Janine Walhout

Faculty: Social and behavioural sciences

I am a MSc student in remedial education. My work focuses on the developmental disturbances for children and their environment. My aim for the outreach team is to give a voice to the youth who are the subject of online transgressive behaviour, by creating a youth panel and relevant content on social media channels.

Melanie Venema

Faculty: Social and behavioural sciences

I am a Master’s working on developmental disturbance, and learning and behavioural disorders of children and their environment. As contribution to the outreach team I will establish a youth panel and create social media content for the subject ‘online transgressive behaviour’

Rick van den Eijkel

Faculty: Social and behavioural sciences

Since I began working with people with learning disabilities, I have been amazed by the obstacles some individuals are able to overcome. This is why I chose to join this consortium. I am part of the outreach team – I am particularly concerned with the communication with organisations and creation of content (e.g. podcast).

Lili Pondman

Faculty: Social and behavioural sciences

I am a MSc student of Forensic Family Science. My work focuses on the potential negative consequences of child abuse and neglect for children’s socio-emotional, cognitive and somatic development. My aim for the outreach team is to establish a youth panel by creating substantial content to launch the discussion of online positive and negative behaviour. 


Please don’t hesitate to get in touch! You can email the project manager at veerkrachtenveiligheid[at]leidenuniv.nl.

You can also fill in the contact form below!