Dr Anne-Laura van Harmelen

University position

Senior Research Associate

Dr Anne-Laura van Harmelen is pleased to consider applications from prospective PhD students.


Department of Psychiatry


Developmental Psychiatry



Home page

http://www.annelauravanharmelen.com (personal home page)

Research Themes

Developmental Neuroscience

Cognitive and Behavioural Neuroscience


My research aims to understand the differential mechanisms that link negative family environments where children may be emotionally abused and/or neglected (child emotional maltreatment; CEM) with later mental health disorders, or resilience from these disorders. My studies showed that CEM is associated with cognitive and neurobiological alterations that may help explain why individuals with CEM are vulnerable to develop mental health disorders. More recently, we showed that the age at which CEM occurs crucial is for its mental health consequences. This suggests that there may be developmental time-windows were children may be especially sensitive to the impact of CEM. During these sensitive time-periods, children and adolescents may similarly be sensitive to positive influences. Indeed, my recent studies showed that adolescent peer support reduces later depressive symptoms, and increases mental health resilience after CEM.

Research Focus







Clinical conditions




Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)



Tim Dalgleish

Ian Goodyer

rogier Kievit

Susanne Schweitzer

Jason Stretton


Angelique Cramer

Bernet Elzinga

Associated News Items



Dalgleish, T, Walsh, N., Mobbs, D., Schweizer, S., van Harmelen, A-L., Dunn, B.D., Dunn V., Goodyer, I., & Stretton, J. A (2017), “Social pain and social gain in the adolescent brain: A common neural circuitry underlying both positive and negative evaluation.” Scientific Reports doi:10.1038/srep42010

Van Schie, C., van Harmelen A-L., Hauber, K., Boon, A., Crone E.A.M., & Elzinga, B.M (2017), “The neural correlates of childhood maltreatment and the ability to understand mental states of others.” European Journal of Psychotraumatology /doi/full/10.1080/20008198.2016.1272788


van Harmelen, A.-L., Gibson, J.L., St.Clair, M., Owens, M., Brodbeck, J., Dunn, V., Lewis, G., Croudace, T.J., Jones, P.B., Kievit, R.A., & Goodyer, I.G. (2016), “Friendships and Family Support Reduce Subsequent Depressive Symptoms in At-risk Adolescents. ” Plos One http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0153715


Harpur, L., Polek, E., & van Harmelen, A.-L. (2015), “The Role of Timing of Maltreatment and Child Intelligence in Pathways to Low Symptoms of Depression and Anxiety in Adolescence” Child Abuse and Neglect, 47, 24-37


van Harmelen AL, Hauber K, Gunther Moor B, Spinhoven P, Boon AE, Crone EA, Elzinga BM (2014), “Childhood emotional maltreatment severity is associated with dorsal medial prefrontal cortex responsivity to social exclusion in young adults.” PLoS One 9(1):e85107 Details

van Harmelen AL, van Tol MJ, Dalgleish T, van der Wee NJ, Veltman DJ, Aleman A, Spinhoven P, Penninx BW, Elzinga BM (2014), “Hypoactive medial Prefrontal Cortex functioning in adults reporting Childhood Emotional Maltreatment.” Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci Details

Walsh ND, Dalgleish T, Lombardo MV, Dunn VJ, Van Harmelen AL, Ban M, Goodyer IM (2014), “General and specific effects of early-life psychosocial adversities on adolescent grey matter volume.” Neuroimage Clin 4:308-18 Details


Moors A, De Houwer J, Hermans D, Wanmaker S, van Schie K, Van Harmelen AL, De Schryver M, De Winne J, Brysbaert M (2013), “Norms of valence, arousal, dominance, and age of acquisition for 4,300 Dutch words.” Behav Res Methods 45(1):169-77 Details

van Harmelen AL, van Tol MJ, Demenescu LR, van der Wee NJ, Veltman DJ, Aleman A, van Buchem MA, Spinhoven P, Penninx BW, Elzinga BM (2013), “Enhanced amygdala reactivity to emotional faces in adults reporting childhood emotional maltreatment.” Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci 8(4):362-9 Details


Anne-Laura van Harmelen (2011), “The cognitive and neurobiological scars of childhood emotional maltreatment” Newsletter for the International Society for Interpersonal Acceptance and Rejection 5, 2, 1-­‐8

Anne-Laura van Harmelen (2011), “Review of MacDonald, G. & Jensen-­‐ Campbell, L. A. (Eds.). (2011). Social Pain: Neuropsychological and Health Implications of Loss and Exclusion. Washington, DC: APA Books.” Newsletter for the International Society for Interpersonal Acceptance and Rejection 5, 3, 4-7

van Harmelen AL, Elzinga BM, Kievit RA, Spinhoven P (2011), “Intrusions of autobiographical memories in individuals reporting childhood emotional maltreatment.” Eur J Psychotraumatol 2 Details


van Harmelen AL, de Jong PJ, Glashouwer KA, Spinhoven P, Penninx BW, Elzinga BM (2010), “Child abuse and negative explicit and automatic self-associations: the cognitive scars of emotional maltreatment.” Behav Res Ther 48(6):486-94 Details

van Harmelen AL, van Tol MJ, van der Wee NJ, Veltman DJ, Aleman A, Spinhoven P, van Buchem MA, Zitman FG, Penninx BW, Elzinga BM (2010), “Reduced medial prefrontal cortex volume in adults reporting childhood emotional maltreatment.” Biol Psychiatry 68(9):832-8 Details


Talsma, D., A.L. van Harmelen (2009), “Procedures and strategies for optimizing the Signal to noise ratio in event related potential data” Brain Signal Analysis, Cambridge, MIT press 205-­‐ 224