Vera Verhage obtains her PhD on youth care system for children and adolescents with psychosocial problems
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Vera Verhage obtained her PhD with her thesis on the youth care system for children and adolescents with psychosocial problems. Verhage works as a researcher at Applied Health Research and coordinator of the Science Shop Medicine and Public Health. Verhage has been involved with C4Youth from almost the beginning, first as a supporter of fieldwork and communication, later as a PhD student.

The research shows that recently graduated youth care workers working in residential youth care would have liked more practical training, especially in dealing with serious problem behaviour such as aggression. Besides, the youth care workers reported to struggle with the way in which psychosocial care for children and adolescents is organised.

Regarding the outcomes of psychosocial care, we found that, overall, children and adolescents with psychosocial problems who received care had improved outcomes at follow-up. However, increased provision of care does not automatically lead to reduction of problems, and although overall psychosocial problems are reduced, a substantial subgroup had longer lasting problems.

We then investigated how adolescents themselves felt how they function in four life domains three years after the start of psychosocial care, namely: at school, in friendships, home life and in leisure activities. Adolescents who received care showed improved functioning in all domains. What is new here is that the functioning of adolescents apparently improves more than their problems decrease. This is a hopeful message because it indicates that psychosocial care helps them to deal with their problems.

Read her entire thesis here