PhD position ‘Examining and treating prolonged grief in daily life’

PhD position ‘Examining and treating prolonged grief in daily life’

Published Deadline Location
6 Mar 1 May Enschede

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Job description

Prolonged grief disorder is a debilitating condition, affecting 10% of bereaved people. To date, studies evaluating treatments for prolonged grief have focused on symptom change on a group-level, ignoring individual variability in grief responses.

Personalized prolonged grief treatment may enhance treatment outcomes. An assumption underlying personalized care is that people respond differently to treatment. In part 1 of this project, you will test this assumption by examining distinct trajectories in treatment responses, and correlates thereof, using a novel data-archive. This data-archive consists of existing individual patient data of randomized controlled trials evaluating the effects of cognitive behavioral therapy for prolonged grief disorder (PGD).

Moreover, in order to personalize PGD treatment we need to know to what specific intervention might be helpful for this particular person in what certain moment. A precondition for this personalized treatment approach is that the topic of interest is dynamic and context-dependent. While theoretical and anecdotal work supports that this is the case for PGD, you will be the first to provide an empirical base supporting these claims in part 2 of the project, using experience sampling methodology (ESM). In part 3 of the project, you will create, together with experts and bereaved people, an ESM-based personalized intervention for treatment of PGD using qualitative research methods. In a pilot-study you will evaluate the feasibility, acceptability, and potential effectiveness of this ESM-based personalized PGD intervention.

As a result of this project, you will contribute in three ways to personalized treatment for prolonged grief, by:
  • improving the understanding of differences in responses to treatment for prolonged grief;
  • gaining novel insights in how grief unfolds in daily life;
  • offering dynamic support in daily life to treat prolonged grief.
You will harmonize and then analyze existing data from randomized controlled trials using latent variable modelling (part 1). Together with master-students you will collect ESM-data (part 2), which you will analyze using multi-level modelling. In close collaboration with scientist-practitioners and bereaved people you will co-create and evaluate a smart-phone app to reduce PGD using qualitative and quantitative research methods (part 3). You will report your findings in academic peer-reviewed journals as well as media outlets for non-academic audiences and you will present your work at (inter)national conferences. Collaborations with national and international colleagues are part of this project. You will be a member of existing research groups that focus on grief and ESM that organize regular meetings to exchange experiences/knowledge in an informal setting with peers.


University of Twente (UT)


  • You have a completed master's degree in psychology or a related field at the preferred start date and you have affinity with clinical psychology and technology
  • You have experience and affinity with both quantitative and qualitative research methods and analytical thinking is one of your core strengths
  • You are proactive, have great people skills, and have a 'getting things done' mentality
  • You have a good team spirit and like to work in an interdisciplinary and internationally oriented environment
  • You are proficient in English. Possessing good Dutch language skills is an advantage, because study materials are in Dutch

Conditions of employment

  • A full-time position for four years, with a qualifier in the first year, and the flexibility to work (partially) from home
  • You will receive a gross monthly salary ranging from € 2.541 (first year) to € 3.247,- (fourth year)
  • There are excellent benefits including a holiday allowance of 8% of the gross annual salary, an end-of-year bonus of 8.3%, and a solid pension scheme
  • A minimum of 232 leave hours in case of full-time employment based on a formal workweek of 38 hours. A full-time employment in practice means 40 hours a week, therefore resulting in 96 extra leave hours on an annual basis
  • Free access to sports facilities on campus
  • A family-friendly institution that offers parental leave (both paid and unpaid)
  • You will have a training programme as part of the Twente Graduate School where you and your supervisors will determine a plan for a suitable education and supervision
  • The University offers a dynamic ecosystem with enthusiastic colleagues
  • We encourage a high degree of responsibility and independence, but also stimulate interaction and discussion with colleagues


  • PhD
  • Behaviour and society
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • max. €2541 per month
  • University graduate
  • 1113


University of Twente (UT)

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Drienerlolaan 5, 7522NB, Enschede

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