Elke Schoneveld

About Elke Schoneveld

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Elke Schoneveld was born in a small village nearby Deventer, and did her bachelor in Psychology at the Radboud University in Nijmegen. In addition to the regular program, she took some courses during a semester at Glasgow University, Scotland. After her bachelor, she did the Research Master Behavioural Science in Nijmegen, specializing in social development and investigating the socialization of prosocial behavior by best friends of adolescents. To bridge the gap between science and practice, she also took the courses of the clinical master Health Psychology in Nijmegen during her Research Master. After finishing the Research Master, Elke did her clinical internship at Radboud Ambulatorium Youth and started to work as a PhD-student at the department of Developmental Psychopathology. Her project focuses on the prevention effect of the videogame MindLight on anxiety symptoms in children. In her spare time, she likes to play board games and to go cycle racing and running in the beautiful nature around Nijmegen.

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Biography and Research Interests

Anxiety is a normative and adaptive experience in childhood and most children outgrow their anxiety whey they mature. A large group of children, however, do not outgrow it and experience elevated levels of anxiety. Without treatment, anxiety symptoms have negative consequences for the psychosocial development of these children. Hence, it is important to intervene early, before a full-blown anxiety disorder develops. Existing prevention programs are mostly based on cognitive behavior therapy. Despite the effectiveness of these prevention program, they are subject to some limitations: the effect sizes are only small to moderate,  the effects may not be maintained over time, they have limited reach, and they are highly didactic and hence boring. We propose that videogames can address those limitations and can be applied as prevention program.  Together with clinicians and professional game developers, we developed the videogame MindLight. It incorporates several evidence-based strategies including exposure and attention bias modification methods that together produce an immersive game world through which children learn to manage and overcome anxiety symptoms. The project aims to investigate the prevention effect of Mindlight comparing it in randomized controlled trials with a commercial game and with the effective prevention program Coping Cat. Furthermore, we investigate the mechanisms through which effects might occur.