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E.M. (Esther) Mesman, PhD

Healthcare psychologist and postdoctoral researcher

  • Department
  • Child psychiatry
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I am a dedicated healthcare psychologist and researcher. I am an expert in high risk populations for bipolar disorder, depression and psychosis. In my work as clinician I have seen the devastating effects of chronic severe mental illness. Often, patients report a diagnostic delay, as the early trajectories are poorly understood. It is my mission to contribute to a better understanding of the developmental trajectories in order to improve early detection and intervention strategies. As a student I was always intrigued by longitudinal studies as these studies allow us to investigate the developmental trajectories and determinants of mental illness in the best possible way. I was fortunate to become involved in the Dutch Bipolar Offspring Study as a PhD student. In this project I was responsible for the implementation of the 12-year follow-up. This study is one of the few prospective offspring studies worldwide, international collaborations are important to put findings in perspective. I organized and participated in several international symposia at conferences and published with two international partners. The project revealed important insights for the scientific field and clinicians, however the work is incomplete. So far, my career has made me more eager to continue my work along this topic. It is my ambition to continue this line of research and explore new innovative techniques and investigate its potential in terms of prevention, delay of onset and promote a positive development in high risk populations.

Education and career

I completed a PhD thesis 'At risk for bipolar disorder. Bipolar offspring followed from adolescence into adulthood' at the University of Groningen.
I received a postdoctoral training as healthcare psychologist (BIG-registered). 


A Risk Calculator for Bipolar Spectrum Disorder in Youth at Familial Risk. 
Esther Mesman, Manon H J Hillegers. (2017). JAMA Psychiatry. 2017 Aug 1;74(8):847-848.

Baseline dimensional psychopathology and future mood disorder onset: findings from the Dutch Bipolar Offspring Study.
E. Mesman, W.A. Nolen, L.Keijsers & M.H.J. Hillegers (2017). Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 136(2), 201-209. 2.

The validation of the Seven up Seven Down (7U7D) in bipolar offspring: screening and prediction of mood disorders. Findings from the Dutch Bipolar Offspring Study.
E. Mesman, E. Youngström, N.K. Juliana, W.A. Nolen & M.H.J. Hillegers (2017). Acta Psychiatr Scand. 2017 Aug;136(2):201-209.

At risk for bipolar disorder: Bipolar offspring followed from adolescence into adulthood.
Mesman, E. (2015). [Groningen]: University of Groningen

The role of life events and psychological factors in the onset of first and recurrent mood episodes in bipolar offspring: results from the Dutch Bipolar Offspring Study.
Kemner SM, Mesman E, Nolen WA, Eijckemans MJ, Hillegers MH. (2015). Psychol Med. 2015;45(12):2571-81.

The Dutch bipolar offspring study; 12-year follow-up.
E. Mesman, W.A. Nolen, C.G. Reichart, M. Wals & M.H.J. Hillegers. (2013). Am J Psychiatry. 2013 May;170(5):542-9.