PhD Student in Psychology, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands

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The Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG) is the largest educational and research institution in the social sciences in the Netherlands. The Faculty serves 7,500 students in numerous Bachelor’s and Master’s programmes in Political Science, Sociology, Anthropology, Communication Science, Psychology, Social Geography, Planning and International Development Studies, and Educational Sciences. The academic staff is employed in education as well as research. There are over 1,100 employees at the Faculty, which resides in a number of buildings in the centre of Amsterdam.

The Psychology Department is one of six departments within the FMG. Departmental teaching and research activities are organised within six programme groups: Clinical Psychology, Developmental Psychology, Brain and cognition, Social Cognition, Emotion and Identity, Validity of Empirical Research in Psychology, and Work and Organizational Psychology.

The Psychology Department currently has an opening for a

PhD student - Increasing emotional resilience in adolescents by training cognitive processes to prevent anxiety and depression

“Always look on the bright side of life” - Increasing emotional resilience in adolescents by training cognitive processes to prevent anxiety and depression.

Adolescent anxiety and depression are associated with three cognitive processes; the tendency to direct attention towards negative information; to interpret ambiguous information in a negative way, and low self-regulatory capacities to control behaviour and emotions. Recent studies have shown that training these identified processes by means of computerized cognitive tasks can be successfully applied to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. The aim of the project is to develop and test an on-line prevention program designed to reduce anxiety and depressive symptoms and prevent clinical diagnosis of anxiety and depression in adolescents by training each of these three processes in two RCT’s.

The PhD project will be embedded in the Dutch Flemish Research School ‘Experimental Psychopathology’ ( This school organizes a yearly program of courses and symposia. The PhD student will also have the opportunity to attend conferences. The project will be supervised by Dr. Elske Salemink. Prof. R. Wiers and Prof. P. Prins will be involved as promotores.

The PhD student will be responsible for conducting two online RCTs in a school context. He/she will write at least five papers on these data, resulting in a PhD thesis, which is to be completed within four years. About 15% of the time will be devoted to teaching, which includes supervision of BA and MA level theses on the same topic.


  • (Research) Master’s degree in Psychology or Pedagogy;
  • Experience with experimental psychology research;
  • Interest in anxiety and depression research;
  • Good command of English;
  • Fluent in Dutch;
  • Highly motivated.


  • Experience with working with adolescents;
  • Experience with scientific publishing;
  • Experience with RCTs.

Further information
Please contact Prof. Reinout Wiers ( for more information about the position and the project.

The position is initially for a period of one year; depending on the PhD student’s performance, it may be extended by a maximum of a further three years (i.e. to total of four years). The gross monthly salary will be €2,042 in the first year and increases to €2,612 in the fourth year, based on a full-time appointment (collective employment agreement (CAO) of Dutch universities). The starting date is 01-01-2012 or earlier.

Job application
Please refer to the vacancy number W11-179 in your application and include (i) a motivation letter, (ii) a detailed CV, (iii) list of relevant courses and grades, and (iv) names and email addresses of two academics, who may be contacted for references. Please submit applications before October 20, 2011 via email to Ms J. Verduijn (


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