Ongoing Projects

Recruitment of a diverse student population in higher education (since 2019): 

Funded by a Students4Students grant awarded by ECHO, this project aims to investigate how different aspects of the recruitment materials and procedures used by Leiden University College (LUC) in The Hague are evaluated by groups of students with backgrounds that are currently underrepresented at the College. LUC aims to incorporate suggestions from this analysis to make its recruitment materials more attractive and accessible to a more diverse population. Coordinated by Judi Mesman and Marleen Groeneveld. Junior researcher: Tijmen Lamers.


Attitudes toward 'free-range parenting' in the Netherlands, the USA, and Portugal (since 2019): 

Free-range parenting is characterized by a degree of freedom for children to explore the world without adult supervision that has led to controversy in the USA and has even been suggested to be neglectful parenting. Interestingly, this style of parenting was the norm for many years in the Netherlands, and seems to have only recently been marginalized in favor of more 'helicopter' parenting strategies. In Portugal the norm appears to be somewhat in between those of the USA and the Netherlands, but research into the underlying parenting values of free-range parenting or other forms of autonomy encouragement is rare.  In this qualitative study, we examine mothers' attitudes and values regarding these issues in three countries. Conducted by Cheyenne Garcia, Carolina Toscano, and Anneloes Slappendel. Supervised by Judi Mesman.


Identity and Relational Changes in LGBTQ+ Adults and Their Family Members  (since 2019): 

A mixed-methods research project conducted by PhD student Mariya Shcherbinina, examining identity and relationship development during and beyond the coming out process for LGBTQ+ people and their family members. How does the relationship narrative of the LGBTQ+ person and their family change after coming out? How does the identity of the family in relation to the larger community change after coming out to their LGBTQ+ family member? Supervised by Judi Mesman, Ann Wilson, and Rens Huffmeijer.


Gender and ethnic representation and stereotypes in books for children (since 2018):

In this project, we investigate the representation and stereotyping of male and female characters and of characters from different ethnic groups in books for children, including school book as well as children's literature. Two reports have been written about these issues in school books used for the subjects of Dutch and Math in the first grade of secondary school in the Netherlands. In addition, we are working on several analyses of children's literature in terms of diversity themes and messages. Conducted by PhD students Tessa van den Rozenberg and Daudi van Veen, Supervised by Judi Mesman and Marleen Groeneveld.


The Parenting Origins of Prejudice (since 2017):

Funded by an NWO Vici Grant, awarded to Judi Mesman, the team investigates how socialization processes within the family shape the ways in which children think about their own ethnic identity, those of others, and interethnic relations. The study includes ethnically Dutch families, Afro-Dutch families, Turkish families, and Chinese families living in the Netherlands. PhD students: Ymke de Bruijn, Daudi van Veen, Fadime Pektas, and Yiran Yang. Supervision by Judi Mesman and Rosanneke Emmen.


Parenting in rural Peru (since 2017):

In this study we examine parenting in rural Peru, testing hypotheses based on a pilot study that showed very high levels of sensitive responsiveness among mothers in communities in the Andes and the Amazon. Factors such as networks of caregivers, the practice of multitasking, and the lack of daily routines dictated by the clock are examined as predictors of sensitivity in these families. Extensive video observations of more than 60 families have been obtained. PhD student: Katherine Fourment. Supervised by Judi Mesman. 


Gendered Pathways in  Parenting and Education (since 2017):

Funded by an ERC Consolidator Grant awarded to Judi Mesman, the team examines family and school factors that predict gendered educational pathways, i.e., boys choosing science subjects and girls choosing alpha/gamma profiles. Methods include longitudinal observation, experiments, and secondary data analyses. PhD students: Antoinette Kroes, Astrid Jehle, Stefanie Esveld, Tessa van den Rozenberg, Laura Doornkamp. Supervision by Judi Mesman, Sandra Groeneveld, Marleen Groeneveld, and Lotte van der Pol.


Parenting and Child Development in Slums in Yemen and Indonesia (since 2015):

This study aims to uncover predictors of variations in parenting quality of mothers in Yemen and Indonesia who reside in slums, looking at cultural factors, maternal history of abuse, current social relations, and parenting in relation to child developmental outcomes. PhD students: Rahma and Khadija Alsarhi. Supervised by Judi Mesman, Lenneke Alink and Marielle Prevoo.


Tomboys and Pansies: Fathers' and Mothers' Gender Messages from a Cross-Cultural Perspective (since 2015):

The aim of this study is co contribute to a culturally-informed understanding of the link between the messages that children receive from their fathers and mothers regarding gender (non)conformity and children's own gender norms. PhD student Else de Vries. Supervision by Judi Mesman, Harriet Vermeer, Marleen Groeneveld, and Lotte van der Pol.


The What and How of Weaning  (since 2015):

This study tests the effectiveness of interventions aimed at increasing young children's vegetable intake from the time they are being weaned, using a randomized control design, comparing (a) an intervention aimed at the 'what' of weaning, focused on food intake recommendations; to (b) an intervention aimed at the 'how' of weaning, focused on increasing sensitive and supportive feeding practices in parents; to (c) an intervention aimed at both the whata nd the how of weaning; to (d) a control condition.  PhD student Merel van Vliet. Supervision by Judi Mesman and Shelley van der Veek.


Sensitive Parenting in Cultural Context (since 2014):

A multi-faceted collaborative project with researchers who study different aspects of young children’s development in non-Western urban and rural samples, and focused on analyzing observational data of caregiver-child interactions to uncover different culture-specific manifestations of sensitive parenting. Countries include Peru, Kenya, Brazil, Iran, South Africa, Yemen, and Indonesia. Project leader Judi Mesman.


Risky Beginnings (since 2014):

This study examines trajectories from maternal and paternal characteristics from before the birth of a child to the quality of parent-child interactions in early life in relation to child cognitive development in toddlerhood. The study is funded by an NWO-ORA grant and is carried out as a collaborative project with New York University (PI Clancy Blair) and Cambridge University (PI Claire Hughes). The study currently includes families in the UK, the US, the Netherlands, China, and Turkey. PhD students Mi-lan Woudstra, Marjolein Branger, and Wei Li. Supervision by Judi Mesman, Lenneke Alink, and Rosanneke Emmen.


Hostile Attributions and Risk for Harsh Parenting (since 2012):

A study on predictors of mothers’ and fathers’ hostile attribution and their relation with harsh parenting practices in a socioeconomically diverse sample. This study also focuses on triadic interactions in which mothers and fathers interact with the child at the same time.


Maternal Beliefs about Sensitivity and Maltreatment across the Globe (since 2011):

In this project we collaborate with research teams from many countries across the globe to investigate differences and similarities in mothers’ beliefs about sensitive parenting and maltreatment in early childhood. Participating countries include, among others, Chile, China, Israel, Turkey, USA, and Zambia.