Helmer Bøving Larsen
Helmer Bøving Larsen


Research fields

  • Child abuse: prevention, assessment, and treatment
  • Treatment of childhood obsessive-compulsive disorders
  • Treatment of childhood anxiety disorders
  • Childhood traumas and chronic adversities
  • Developmental psychopathology

Research group memberships

  • Center of Sexuality, Language, and Gender (Dept. of Psychology)
  • PreVail (University of Toronto, Canada)

Research: brief description

Helmer Bøving Larsen is associate professor in clinical child psychology at the Department of Psychology, University of Copenhagen. He is authorized clinical psychologist and accredited specialist and supervisor in psychotherapy by the Danish Psychological Association.

His research focuses on various types of child abuse and neglect and their effect on children. Earlier, physical child abuse was viewed as rare and not something that needed to be routinely considered in clinical referrals. His own two large (and other) epidemiological studies have made clear that the rate of physical abuse is probably in the order of 5-10% but there is a large overlap between physical abuse and emotional neglect. The rate of sexual abuse was viewed as equally rare but it is now evident that its frequency is at least as high of that of physical abuse. In addition, although girls are at a greater risk, it is evident that boys are sexually abused as well.

Every second year since 2003 he has organized an international conference on child abuse (the Hindsgavl meetings).

Current research projects

  • Resilience among sexually abused children
  • Polyvictimization


Teaching and supervision at BA, KA, and Ph.D. levels in:

  •  Bachelor’s theses
  •  Master’s theses
  •  Clinical psychology
  •  Research methods in clinical psychology

Selected publications

Helweg-Larsen, K; Schütt, N; Larsen, HB. Predictors and protective factors for adolescent Internet victimization : Results from a 2008 nationwide Danish youth survey. Acta Paediatrica, Vol. 101, No. 5, 15.05.2012, p. 533-539. 

Wathen, C, MacGregor, JCD; Hammerton, J, Coben, JH, Herrman, H, Stewart, DE, MacMillan, HL; PreVAiL Research Network, Larsen, HB. Priorities for research in child maltreatment, intimate partner violence and resilience to violence exposures : results of an international Delphi consensus development process. B M C Public Health, 2012, 12,  p. 1-12

Ellonen, N, Kääriäinen, J, Sariola, H, Helweg-Larsen, K,  Larsen, HB. Adolescents'       Experiences of Parental Violence in Danish and Finnish Families : A Comparative Perspective.  Journal of Scandinavian Studies in Criminology and Crime Prevention, Vol. 12, No. 2, 2011, p. 173 – 197.Published

Helweg-Larsen K, Schütt NM, Larsen HB. [Youth 2008 in Denmark. Results of a survey among 9th grade school children focusing upon child sexual abuse and violence in childhood and early adolescence]. Unges trivsel år 2008. En undersøgelse med fokus på seksuelle overgreb og vold i barndom og tidlig ungdom. Copenhagen: Statens Institut for Folkesundhed, Syddansk Universitet; 2009

Frederiksen ML, Helweg-Larsen K, Larsen HB. Self-reported violence amongst adolescents in Denmark: is alcohol a serious risk factor? Acta Paediatrica 2008;97: 636-640

Helweg-Larsen K, Larsen HB. The prevalence of unwanted and unlawful sexual experiences reported by Danish adolescents: results from a national youth survey in 2002. Acta Paediatrica 2006;95: 1270-1276

Curtis T, Larsen HB, Helweg-Larsen K, et al. [Youth in Greenland. Results of a survey among 9th grade school children focusing upon child sexual abuse]. Unges Trivsel i Grønland. Nuuk: Atuagkat; 2006

Helweg-Larsen K, Larsen HB. A critical review of available data on sexual abuse of children in Denmark. Child Abuse & Neglect 2005;29: 715-724

Helweg-Larsen K, Sundaram V, Curtis T, Larsen H.B.. The Danish Youth Survey 2002: asking young people about sensitive issues. International Journal of Circumpolar Health 2004; 63 Suppl 2: 147-152

Helweg-Larsen K, Larsen H. B. Ethical issues in youth surveys: potentials for conducting a national questionnaire study on adolescent schoolchildren's sexual experiences with adults. American Journal of Public Health 2003;93: 1878-1882

Helweg-Larsen K, Larsen HB. [Results of a survey among 9th grade school children focusing upon child sexual abuse and violence in childhood and early adolescence]. Unges trivsel år 2002. En undersøgelse med fokus på seksuelle overgreb i barndommen. København: Statens Institut for Folkesundhed; 2002

Larsen HB. [Clinical child psychology and children with conduct problems]. Klinisk børnepsykologi og de adfærdsvanskelige børn. In: Hermansen M, Poulsen A, eds. [Society's children]. Samfundets børn. Aarhus: Klim; 2002:267-311

Larsen HB. [How to ask children questions - from a developmental perspective]. Spørgsmålsformuleringer til børn - set fra et udviklingspsykologisk perspektiv. In: Andersen D, Ottosen MH, eds. [Children as respondents. On children's participation in surveys]. Børn som respondenter. Om børns medvirken i survey. København: Socialforskningsinstituttet; 2002:99-119

Larsen HB, Leth I, Maher BA. Obscene telephone calls to children: a retrospective field study. Journal of Clinical Child Psychology 2000;29: 626-632

Larsen HB, Leth I. [Child sexual abuse. Psychological sequelae and treatment]. Seksuelle overgreb mod børn: Psykiske skadevirkninger og psykologisk behandling. Psyke & Logos 1999;20: 470-491

Larsen HB, Hutchings B. Psychometric properties of a Danish translation of the Rutter Scale B in a community sample of seven-year-old children. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology 1998;39: 249-256

Larsen HB. [Early secondary prevention in the ordinary school]. Forebyggende psykologisk behandling ved skolestarten. Nordisk Psykologi 1994;46: 170-190

Primary fields of research

Developmental psychopathology
Anxiety in childhood
Child sexual abuse
Conduct disorders

Current research

Member of the Copenhagen Child Anxiety Project - CCAP, a treatment- and research project regarding anxiety disorders in children. The CCAP consists of both clinical and experimental research projects. The aim is to create new theoretical and empirical knowledge regarding anxiety disorders in childhood. Also the process and treatment effect of case-formulation based cognitive behaviour therapy with children and their parents are investigated as well as the effect of parental involvement in the treatment. heoretically knowledge from the attachment research and models from developmental psychopathology are integreted with existing knowledge on the development of anxiety disorders derived from cognitive and learning theories. Empirically the specificity of a number of factors involving families with anxious children are investigated. The results are compared with two control groups, one with a different psychiatric disturbance and one from a community sample. The experimental research project aims at investigating the physiological processes of selfregulation in anxious, ADHD and community children.

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