After graduating in Developmental Psychology from Utrecht University (The Netherlands), Geertjan Overbeek worked as a PhD student with profs. Wim Meeus, Wilma Vollebergh, and Rutger Engels. As a young scholar he performed a series of innovative longitudinal studies on how the parent-child bond predicted adolescents’ mental health, but also their “social health”: examining how well-equipped adolescents were to develop satisfying relationships with peers and romantic partners.
Geertjan was awarded for this line of research with several young scholar awards from the European Association for Research on Adolescence and the European Association for Developmental Psychology. His interest in the causes, correlates, and consequences of child and adolescent social-emotional development never left him since. From 2003 onward, he has worked tirelessly to examine how and under which circumstances, one’s early upbringing—by parents and peers—is linked to developmental risk.
Based on a series of personal grants from the Dutch Research Council (veni, vidi, and vici funding) and many other grants from DRC, ZonMw, EU and Dutch ministerial funding programs, Geertjan built a a research program on “Preventive Youth Care”, officially established at the University of Amsterdam in 2015. The main aim of this program is to study the role of parents and peers in normal and abnormal developmental trajectories, but also to study the effect of parenting and peer interventions—increasing our knowledge about how we can best stimulate a healthy and positive development of children and adolescents.
Geertjan has a great passion for mentoring and teaching, for which he received several “teacher of the year awards”—both at Utrecht University and the University of Amsterdam. He serves as academic director of research priority area Yield, and currently serves as associate editor of New Directions in Child and Adolescent Development and was one of the initiators of the recently started Dutch open access journal "Jeugd in Ontwikkeling". He is strongly committed to valorization of developmental science to practice.