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Prevention and intervention programs in families: development and implementation


NB Language spoken is English unless only Dutch-speaking students participate


The objective of this course is to gain insight into the theoretical background, design, content and application of intervention and prevention programs relevant to the field of child and family studies. Preventing and reducing child psychopathology and promoting healthy child development is an important task for health care workers. To be able to effectively perform this task, it is important to learn how to build prevention and intervention programs that focus on families and how to evaluate their effectiveness. During this course students will be introduced to a technique called Intervention Mapping, a highly systematic method of designing prevention and intervention programs. This method is widely used in the field of Health Psychology and relevant for the field of Education and Child Studies as well. Applying this method, students will learn which family processes foster or threaten healthy child development, and how to motivate families to change their behavior for the better. In addition to the theoretical underpinnings of behavior change, students will be introduced to and gain experience with numerous techniques that are often used in these programs (e.g., motivational interviewing, goal setting, implementation intentions, video-feedback, cognitive and behavioral exercises). The course will also discuss the theoretical background and content of existing interventions for (the prevention of) psychopathology in children and parenting problems. We will discuss effectiveness studies for these programs and critically evaluate the content of these programs from an Intervention Mapping perspective. Finally, students receive a first introduction in how the VIPP program (Video-feedback Intervention to promote Positive Parenting) can be used in practice.

Course objectives

  • To gain knowledge on the mechanisms underlying the influence of different family processes on child development and child psychopathology;

  • to gain insight in the theoretical backgrounds and practical applications of preventive parenting intervention programs, including the translation of theory into (clinical) programs;

  • to gain experience with how to develop a prevention or intervention program in the field of child and family studies using the Intervention Mapping method;

  • to be introduced to and gain experience with different methods of intervening in families with children and/or parents at risk;

  • to gain experience with how to implement the Video-feedback Intervention to promote Positive Parenting (VIPP) program;

  • to learn to critically evaluate how preventive intervention programs may be designed, evaluated and tested;

  • to acquire experience with the interpretation and judgment of empirical papers in this field;

  • to learn to process scientific literature and use it to form opinions and new ideas.


Lectures Exam

Mode of instruction

Lectures and assignments.

Assessment method

  • Written closed book exam (40%)

  • Paper (40%)

  • Oral assignment (20%)

  • Research Master students make all their written assignments and their written exam in English. They will also receive an extra written assignment.


During this course Blackboard will be used.

Reading list

  • Juffer, F., Bakermans-Kranenburg, M.J., en Van IJzendoorn, M.H. (eds.) (2008). Promoting positive parenting. An attachment-based intervention. Lawrence Erlbaum, Mahwah NJ. Attention: the paperback is much cheaper than the hardcover. There is only one version of the book: the 2007 version is the same as the 2008 version.

  • Articles: will be announced on Blackboard.

Book at the bookstore. Literature can be studied during the course (not necessary to read it before the course).



Students need to register for lectures in uSis. It is not possible to take a course without a valid registration.


Students are not automatically registered for exams. They can register themselves in uSis until 10 calendar days before the exam date at the latest. Students who are not registered will not be permitted to take the exam.

Please consult the course and exam registration website for information on registration periods and further instructions.

Contact information

Co-ordinator of this course is Shelley van der Veek