The foundation arose from the experience of managing biennial European Conferences on Developmental Psychology as regional conferences of the ISSBD.
At that time the European conferences took place under the auspices of ISSBD. Sandy Jackson 1984 organized the first European Conference in Groningen. After
Groningen there were: Rome, Budapest, Sterling, Seville, Bonn, Krakow, Rennes…
The scholars who promoted the new independent association were G. Butterworth and S. Jackson, respectively from the universities of Stirling and Groningen. There was a great discussion on whether it was the case to found a more local association or remaining part of the ISSBD; some scholars stressed the benefits, others the limitations of becoming too provincial. In 1997 George Butterworth succeeded in institutionalizing the European Society for Developmental Psychology as a separate autonomous organization (this happened at the end of the Rennes Conference). George Butterworth became and remained President until he passed away in 2000. His followers were Sandy Jackson, Michel Deleau, Willem Koops and Christiane Spiel. Under the presidency of his follower Maria Jose Rodrigo, the name of the Society had to be changed into European Association of Developmental Psychology. By changing the name the Association could be moved to the Netherlands and be based on Dutch law, which implies very friendly regulations for international Associations.
From the constitution act, the objective of the Association is the advancement throughout Europe of research and education into developmental psychology for the public benefit.
“In furtherance of this objective the Association aims to promote the following actions:
a) to stimulate, support or conduct research on human development in the European context;
b) to promote scholarships and appropriate publications in this field;
d) to foster links with other national and international organizations with similar aims;
e) to further the European Journal of Developmental Psychology and an internet site;
f) to create awards for valuable scholars: one for young scientists (the George Butterworth Award) and one for senior scientists (the William Thierry Preyer Award);
g) to promote excellence in developmental psychology through opportunities of peer discussion and enrichment such as the biennial European Conference on Developmental Psychology (ECDP).
In 2008, in order to promote the networking, collaboration and knowledge exchange of young scholars, president Christiane Spiel has established the EADP Early Researchers Union (ERU). This is a very lively and active part of the association which promotes networking and collaboration among different countries in Europe. The ERU mission is to develop, coordinate and facilitate learning/training opportunities for students and early researchers, specifically promoting: joint publications and collaborations in a cross-national perspective; symposia and events for students and early researchers at the biennial meeting of EADP and in other moments of the association life. Furthermore, in 2008 also the first summer school for doctoral students took place in Syros Island, organized by Frosso Motti-Stefanidi.
After its birth, the mission of the association can be described in terms of dedicating energies and efforts on relevant topics related to social changes. What are the most recent topics characterizing recent presidencies? How social changes are affecting transitions in the association?
Some recent topics of the past presidents were:
Immigrant Youth in Europe (Christiane Spiel)
Positive Parenting (Maria Jose Rodrigo)
Gene-environment (Luc Gossens)
Resilience and migration (Frosso Motti-Stefanidie)
Longitudinal studies and process transition from childhood to adolescence (Kathariina Salmela-Aro)
The aims of the current president are focused on translational research and collaboration among research, policy and practice in different areas of developmental psychology in Europe.
Some of these topics had an outcome on EJDP special issues as you can see below:
2008: Immigrant Youth in European Countries
Guest Editors: Dagmar Strohmeier & Eva Schmitt-Rodermund
2011: National Identity and Ingroup-Outgroup Attitudes with Children: The Role of Socio-Historical Settings
Guest Editors: Louis Oppenheimer & Martyn Barrett
2012: Evidence Based Parent Education Programs to promote positive parenting
Guest Editors: María José Rodrigo, Ana Almeida, Christiane Spiel & Willem Koops
2012: Cyberbullying: Development, consequences, risk and protective factors
Guest Editors: Ersilia Menesini & Christiane Spiel
2016: Resilience in Developing Systems
Guest Editors: Anne I. H. Borge, Ann S. Masten and Frosso Motti
2017: Historical Developmental Psychology
Guest Editors: Willem Koops and Frank Kessel
Another important aim is to promote international collaboration connecting EADP to other associations working in the area of developmental psychology. To this regard the ICCDP, joint initiatives (training schools, symposia… ) are relevant for us to promote collaboration and open challenging and stimulating new pathways.