Body and mind are one. Mental problems, such as fear and depression, are closely linked to physical and biological factors. That is the basis for the research of the Interdisciplinary Center Psychopathology and Emotion regulation (ICPE), bringing together researchers who link mood disorders and biological factors connecting body and mind.

We perform high-quality interdisciplinary research on psychobiological processes involved in the onset and course of mood-related problems, in order to develop effective personalized interventions to improve social-emotional functioning.

Our major objectives are:

  • To better understand which factors contribute to the onset and course of mood-related problems, and how these factors vary across individuals;
  • To use this knowledge to develop effective personalized interventions to prevent and treat emotional dysregulation.

We complement large longitudinal epidemiological surveys like TRAILS, NESDA, LifeLines with more in-depth studies in smaller groups, including neuroimaging, psychophysiological, and intensive time-series studies, thereby enabling the elucidation of underlying endophenotypes and temporal patterns. Our study designs are both observational and experimental, and involve a variety of (neuro)psychological, social and biological measures.

Relevance

On the road to personal lifestyle advice

Depression is a rapidly increasing health problem. Some 121 million people suffer from this disease around the globe. Various underlying factors influence the course and the severity of a depression. These factors are not always the same for each individual under all circumstances.

The most common research method in psychiatric epidemiology is cross-sectional research taking measurements in large groups of people. This method gives insight into the connections between variables on a group level. However, the results in the case of depression are most probably hardly relevant for the individual.

In our MOOVD, Mood and Movement in Daily Life, study we use a method aimed at the individual to gain insight into the aetiology and course of the mood problem. Mood is an example of the kind of projects we are involved in.

  • Participants, both with and without depression, use diaries and saliva samples and wear an accelerometer three times a day for thirty days in a row. This gives detailed information on thoughts, behaviour and depression related physiological markers.

    Using time sequence analyses we then test which variables influence the day to day mood and vice versa, how strong the connections are between the variables and on what time scale they exert their influence. We take into account that there can be other mutual connections for each individual and that there may be complex interactions between various factors.

    Beside gathering knowledge on the cause and course of mood problems, we also hope to provide each participant with a tailor-made (lifestyle) advice to improve their day-to-day mood. This way we hope to create a bridge between research and practice.