The Social Development programme in the Behavioural Science Institute (BSI) at Radboud University in Nijmegen is seeking 2 PhD students for the NWO Open Competition research project ‘Conceptualising, Measuring, and Predicting Peer Relationships in Emerging Adulthood'.
Emerging adulthood (ages 18-25) is a transitional period characterised by changes in interpersonal relationships, work, and worldviews that have a major impact on subsequent development. Yet, there is no comprehensive research on peer relationship dynamics in this life stage. In this project, the peer relationships of emerging adults will be studied in detail in the context of a 20-year ongoing longitudinal study, the Nijmegen Longitudinal Study
This project aims to examine the nature and correlates of different types of peer relationships (e.g. friends and romantic partners) in emerging adulthood. Specifically, it focuses on the transactional associations between peer relationships and social functioning, health, and adjustment across development. Furthermore, social skills of emerging adults (constructive problem solving, conflict resolution, and functional flexibility) will be assessed using experimental small group observations of familiar and unfamiliar peers. The project thus combines a long-term longitudinal design with observational research methods to study various aspects of peer relationships in emerging adulthood.
Project tasks will consist of preparing and conducting two upcoming waves of the Nijmegen Longitudinal Study. This includes setting up the project, preparing the measurement instruments, recruiting participants and their peers, testing, analysing the data, and writing scientific articles and a dissertation in English. In addition to the design and questions described in the project proposal, there is room to include additional measures that address related research questions. The project proposal is available upon request.