Kiem project investigates link between violence and other health problems
‘Violence as a Population Health Problem’ is one of 33 interdisciplinary projects that have been launched thanks to a Kiem grant. The project team will analyse a large patient database to identify links between violence and other health problems. ‘Violence can also be an expression of other factors,’ says Marieke Liem.
Violence should not be considered solely from a criminological perspective; it can also be an expression of underlying social, emotional and mental problems, says Marieke Liem, Professor of Safety and Interventions. And, conversely, violence can lead to other health problems. ‘For example, previous research has shown that people exposed to violence in the home have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease or misunderstood physical complaints later in life. It’s not hard to imagine that problems might accumulate in certain households; for example, households where violence occurs might also have a high prevalence of alcohol abuse, or drug abuse, sexual violence, or teenage pregnancy.’
New database opens up opportunities for research
The Kiem project ‘Violence as a Population Health Problem’ now aims to verify these assumptions explicitly by using the ELAN database of the Health Campus The Hague. This database contains anonymous data from approximately one million patients in the The Hague-Leiden region, provided by general practitioners and hospitals, among others. This data can also be linked to data from Statistics Netherlands (CBS). ‘This detailed information will allow us to look at individuals, their household situation and signs of them being victims of violence. Hopefully, we will soon be able to understand how certain problems cluster within households and how these complex problems manifest themselves.’ The Kiem project has a modest budget. ‘The correlations we find will hopefully be a stepping stone to a larger project,’ adds Liem.
Besides Liem, a criminologist, the interdisciplinary team includes an epidemiologist, an anthropologist, several psychologists, a data scientist, social health experts and general practitioners. ‘I love working in this kind of a team with highly motivated individuals. We will all spend two days in a pressure cooker, lock ourselves away and write something great together based on the pilot data. So, even though it’s only a small amount of money, it’s fantastic that the university is giving us the opportunity to set up such an interdisciplinary initiative.’ The project is also a collaboration between two interdisciplinary research programmes at Leiden, namely the Social Resilience and Security programme and the Population Health Living Lab The Hague programme.
Photo: Marco Bianchetti / Unsplash
In July 2023, 33 Leiden University research projects each received a Kiem grant of €10,000 from the Executive Board for an interdisciplinary initiative. The Kiem grant is intended as seed money for smaller, cross-faculty projects that also involve early-stage researchers. The grant is part of a larger effort to promote interdisciplinary research at the university. There will eventually be three steps: Kiem, Groei en Bloei (Seed, Growth, and Flowering).