Action project on Emgo website

Action on Emgo

13.05.2014 - Start of FP7 project ACTION: a study into the complex gene-environment interplay of children with externalizing behavior problems.

On June 1, the FP7 project ACTION (Aggression in Children: Unraveling gene-environment interplay to inform Treatment and Intervention Strategies) will start. The VU Department of Biological Psychology (prof. dr. Dorret Boomsma and prof. dr. Meike Bartels) and VU Department of Orthopedagogy (prof. dr. Catrin Finkenauer) have established a consortium together with nine academic partners and two SMEs, from Europe, Australia and the USA, in order to map out the causes of differences in externalizing behavior problems in children, including aggression.

Externalizing behavior problems are common and often occur in early childhood. Children themselves suffer from this problem: they are excluded, punished and have problems at school. But also their victims and family environment (parents, siblings) and the wider environment such as classmates and teachers have to deal with this behavior. Only a small number of children respond well to current prevention and intervention methods.

Within ACTION longitudinal data from 7 major European studies among children and adolescents will be integrated to map out the conduct and causes of the differences. Existing data will be complemented by epigenetic and metabolic profiles. With a budget of about 6 million for the next 5 years, the researchers will provide insight in the complex interplay of genes and environment. By bringing together the interdisciplinary results, an overarching theoretical model of risk and protective factors will be constructed. This model is then used to develop a new risk-assessment system to support targeted interventions with greater attention to the differences between children.

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