History of the European Society for Developmental Psychology

The process  of foundation

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 regional European conference under the auspicies of ISSBD in Groningen. The first conference under the auspicies of EADP was held 1997 in Rennes organized by Michel Delau.


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. It was during the period 1994-95 that Georges Butterworth and Sandy jackson filed the by-laws and regulations in the framework of British « Charities ». They also opened a bank account. This happened at the time of the Krakow Conference in 1995. 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 1995). George Butterworth became and remained president until he passed away in 2000.  His followers were 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.

Defining the mission and assuming a structure

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.

Recent developments

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.


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.

Furthermore, EADP has been collaboration in EJDP special issues:

The full list of special issues can be found here: Special issues from European Journal of Developmental Psychology (tandfonline.com)

2004: Social Cognition in Adolescence

Guest Editors: Harke A Bosma & Willem Koops

2006: Social Cognition during Infancy

Guest Editors: Vincent Reid, Tricia Striano & Willem Koops
2008: Immigrant Youth in European Countries
Guest Editors: Dagmar Strohmeier & Eva Schmitt-Rodermund

2008: Developmental Co-Construction of Cognition

Guest Editor: Christine Sorsana

2010: Theory of Mind: Specialized Capacity or Emergent Property?

Guest Editors: Elisabeth H. M. Sterck & Sander Begeer
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

2012: Social Cognition

Guest Editors: Paul Lansley Harris, Carolien Rieffe & Marcel van Aken

2012: Jean Jacques Rousseau 300th Birthday Anniversary Commemoration Supplement

Guest Editor: Willem Koops

2013: Innovative Methods for the Study of Change and Development

Guest Editor: Matthias Reitzle

2013: Meaning, Measurement, and Correlates of Moral Development

Guest Editors: Daniel Brugman, Monika Keller & Bryan Sokol

2014: Fathers in Families

Guest Editors: Dorothea E. Dette-Hagenmeyer, Andrea B. Erzinger & Barbara Reichle

2015: Romantic Relationships and Sexuality in Adolescence and Young Adulthood: The Role of Parents, Peers, and PartnersGuest Editors: Daphne van de Bongardt, Rongqin Yu, Maja Deković & Wim H. J. Meeus

2015: Developmental Psychology and Recapitulation Theory

Guest Editors: Willem Koops & Frank Kessel

2016: Resilience in Developing Systems
Guest Editors: Anne I. H. Borge, Ann S. Masten and Frosso Motti

2016: Bildung-Psychology: Theory and practice of use inspired basic research

Guest Editors: Dagmar Strohmeier, Petra Wagner, & Barbara Schober

2017: Historical Developmental Psychology
Guest Editors: Willem Koops and Frank Kessel

2018: Identity behind the Iron Curtain

Guest Editors: Seth J. Schwartz & Mariya Petrova

2018: European Citizens

Guest Editors: Frosso Motti-Stefanidi & Elvira Cicognani

2018 The Scientific Legacy of Carolyn Ingrid Saarni

Guest Editors: Pamela M. Cole

2020: Prevention and Social-Emotional Development

Guest Editors: Moshe Israelashvili, Ersilia Menesini & Michal Al-Yagon

2021: Teachers’ responses to bullying and victimization: (how) can they make a difference?

Guest Editors: Hilde Colpin, Sheri Bauman & Ersilia Menesini

2023:  Human Development in Times of the COVID-19 Pandemic (special section)

Guest Editors: Dagmar Strohmeier & Susan Branje 

European Conferences (from 1984  to 1997  ISSBD regional conferences; from 1997 onwards EADP Conferences)



Local organizer



Sandy Jackson



Grazia Attili



Magda Kalmar



George Butterwotrh



Jesus Palacios



Georg Rudinger



Adam Niemczynski



Michel Deleau



Elias Besevegis



Berit Hagekull



Paola di Blasio



Maria-José Rodrigo



Rainer K. Silbereisen



Rita Zukauskiene



Bente Wold



Blaise Pierrehumbert & Christiane Moro



Ana Almeida



Susan Branje



Spyridon Tantaros


European summer tour
(Austria, Poland, Norway)

Dagmar Strohmeier, Beata Krzywosz-Rynkiewicz, Katarzyna Markiewicz and Simona C.S. Caravita



Christina Salmivalli

EADP Presidents


Presidents of EADP


George Butterworth


Michel Deleau


Willem Koops


Willem Koops


Christiane Spiel


Maria Josè Rodrigo


Luc Goossens


Frosso Motti Stefanidi


Katariina Salmela Aro


Ersilia Menesini


Marcel van Aken


Dagmar Strohmeier


Spyridon Tantaros

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