Our research group in Geriatric Psychiatry is dedicated to redefining the diagnostic landscape and treatment approaches for older adults suffering from the most common mental disorders in later life, i.e., depressive, anxiety and somatic symptom disorders.

To improve their quality of life, we focus on vulnerabilities that significantly interfere with their diagnostics, treatment, and prognosis, including longstanding vulnerabilities like maladaptive personality features as well as newly emerging vulnerabilities in later life like physical aging (frailty, multimorbidity), cognitive ageing, and a changing social context. Our team is driven to understand how these vulnerabilities interfere with late-life mental disorders with the ultimate aim to develop age-specific treatment strategies.


How our research benefits to society

Depressive-, anxiety-, and somatic symptom disorders are the most prevalent mental disorders in later life with prevalence rates between 5 – 10% for each of these groups of disorders. They significantly decrease a person’s quality of life, worsens prognosis of comorbid somatic diseases, and increases health care use. Moreover, comorbidity between these disorders is the rule rather than the exception and adds exponentially to its disease burden.
If treated successfully, negative sequelae decrease parallel with the symptomatic improvement of these disorders. Unfortunately, treatment strategies largely rely on evidence from RCTs conducted in younger age samples and effectiveness of most interventions decreases with increasing age of the patient. This may be explained by physical ageing, cognitive ageing, a changing social context, and finally ageism or therapeutic nihilism to change longstanding psychological vulnerabilities in older people.
Since studies in geriatric psychiatry are often limited to the “younger old”, we particularly focus on the most frail and oldest-old patients to address the need of an increasingly ageing society.


Jantina Douglas-Hoving (secretary)
+31 50 361 23 67
[email protected]

Rob van den Brink (network coordinator Geriatric Psychiatry RGOc)
+31 50 361 20 79
[email protected]

UMCG Groningen
Rob Giel Onderzoekscentrum (RGOc).
Huispostcode CC72
Postbus 30.001
9700 RB  Groningen

Visiting Address
​​​​​​​UMCG Groningen
Rob Giel Onderzoekscentrum (RGOc).
9700 RB  Groningen