The School for Mass Communication Research at KU Leuven in Belgium invites applications for a PhD Position in Media Effects on Adolescents’ Wellbeing in 2019.

The successful candidate will work in the School for Mass Communication Research (Faculty of Social Sciences) in collaboration with The School Psychology and Development in Context group (Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences), under the supervision of Steven Eggermont and Patricia Bijttebier. The School for Mass Communication Research is inspired by the question of how media use and (young) people’s wellbeing are interlinked. Its wide and multidisciplinary research program has contributed to state of the art insights into relations between media and adolescent development.
The School Psychology and Development in Context group is dedicated to the study of child and adolescent development within schools, family and peer systems. It seeks to gain more insight into developmental processes and the factors affecting them by conducting longitudinal research, intervention research, and experimental studies. KU Leuven is a research-oriented institution and is consistently ranked among the top research universities in Europe. Leuven is one of the oldest university towns in Europe, about 30 km from Brussels. It has a rich history and a unique friendly atmosphere.

The literature is unclear about the direction of relationships between media use and adolescents’mental wellbeing. This project introduces a dual-conditional model explaining the positive as well as the negative role of levels of media use in depressive symptoms. The main hypothesis is that this role may unfold differently depending on one’s processing style of media use, with dampening and enhancing styles as(proximate) moderators that predict how media use, and mood management through media, relate to mental well-being.

The hypotheses of this project will go through a rigorous program of studies, consisting of a longitudinal study, a diary study, and an experimental study. In its process, the project also leads to a conceptualization of moderators in a theoretical structure that distinguishes between levels of moderation. This project thus not only aims to lead to a more sophisticated understanding of associations between media use and adolescents’ wellbeing but also contribute to an improved conceptual model for explaining (differential susceptibility to) media effects.

Worth of Award

  • They offer encouraging daily guidance, excellent research facilities, conference/travel budget, and a competitive salary.
  • A PhD position is offered for an initial year, renewable for up to 4 years, and is expected to result in the completion of a PhD and relevant scholarly publications.


  • The applicant is passionate about academic research in the fields related to the project. S/he must have a Master’s degree in social or behavioural sciences, or related fields, and have excellent English communication and writing skills.
  • The position requires enrollment in the PhD-program of the Faculty of Social Sciences

How to Apply

  • For more information please contact Prof. dr. Steven Eggermont, tel.: +32 16 32 32 38, mail: [email protected] or Prof. dr. Patricia Bijttebier, tel.: +32 16 32 59 89, mail: [email protected]
  • Interested applicants can apply online, providing a motivation letter and full CV (including a detailed transcript of university study results).
Deadline: Apply no later than July 08, 2019.

Click here for more details and to apply

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