PhD Position Emotional Connectedness in Mental Health

Leuven, Flanders, be
Company: KU Leuven
Category: Architecture and Engineering Occupations
Published on 2021-06-20 02:07:31

(ref. BAP-2021-342)

The RE-CONNECT Interuniversity Research Consortium is currently hiring PhD candidates. RE-CONNECT is one of only 15 synergy grants nationally awarded in Flanders to top research across disciplines; it is the only one in its kind in the Behavioral Sciences (iBOF project number 21/090). RE-CONNECT pools different fields of expertise to study the dynamics of interpersonal emotional interactions in the domain of work, family, mental health, and across cultures, and to establish what healthy and productive emotional interactions look like in each domain. The work packages within the consortium focus on (1) the development of statistical methods to capture emotional connectedness in dyadic data, (2) emotional connectedness in leader-follower dyads (from different cultures), (3) emotional connectedness in couples (across cultures), and (4) emotional connectedness in relation to mental health problems. The RE-CONNECT consortium is a collaboration between five PI’s (at three Flemish universities) with different domains of expertise, who are each at the top of their field: methodology and statistics, emotion research, organizational psychology, cultural psychology, clinical psychology, and family psychology. The consortium PI team consists of: Eva Ceulemans (KULeuven), Peter Kuppens (KU Leuven), Joeri Hofmans (VUB), Batja Mesquita (KULeuven), Lesley Verhofstadt (UGent). In the run-up to this project, we have inspired and complemented each other. We very much hope that our future team members will equally enjoy, as well as benefit from, the complementarity of available expertise. PhD’s will have a principle advisor (indicated below), but will become part of the larger consortium.


Emotional connectedness in mental health (position at KULeuven; principal advisor: Peter Kuppens)

In this Phd project, we aim to study the role of interpersonal emotional processes and connectedness in the etiology, maintenance, and recovery of mood disorder. While most existing psychopathology research focuses on intrapersonal factors and mechanisms, in this Re-Connect project we strive to uncover how mood disorder and its symptoms is at least in part a function of the way emotions are exchanged and shared or not shared between people. As such, we aim to elucidate how personal well-being and symptoms of individuals suffering from mood disorder develop and manifest in close relationships. The Phd research involves the re-coding and-analyses of existing data and the collection of new (lab and daily life) data both in healthy and mood disorder diagnosed individuals and their significant others. Further information about this position can be obtained from Peter Kuppens (


The successful applicant will be collecting data by means of experience sampling and observational lab methods, and coding and analyzing (existing/newly) collected data. Hired applicants will be preparing high-quality scientific papers, and presenting research findings at (inter)national expert meetings and conferences. 

We are looking for highly motivated and enthusiastic candidates, with a degree in Behavioral Sciences, excellent statistical skills, good communication and organizational skills, excellent level of English. Candidates should be willing to work in an interuniversity team of researchers, and should be open to an interdisciplinary perspective on their research topic. Familiarity with clinical psychology, emotion research, couples or dyadic research, and speaking the Dutch language are assets.


We offer a fully funded full-time PhD position for 1 year, with expected extensions up to 4 years. Salary is competitive and in line with university standards. The successful PhD candidate will become member of a consortium of top-level researchers in emotion, relationships, work, and culture, and work with cutting edge science and methods.


Applications should consist of a motivation letter (including contact information of 2 referees) and a CV (including copies of diploma certificates and transcripts at university level). Application materials have to be submitted to the RE-CONNECT Website (in pdf format). The The deadline for applications is May 19 2021. Review of applications will start on May 19, and continue until a suitable candidate is found for each position.

You can apply for this job no later than May 19, 2021 via the online application tool

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