PhD Functional recovery and resilience after late-life depression

PhD Functional recovery and resilience after late-life depression

Published Deadline Location
3 Jun 17 Jun Amsterdam

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Do you have an affinity with the elderly and mental health, and do you find it a challenge to analyze complex data? In that case, we are looking for you!

Job description

Sooner or later, most older adults experience functional decline in one or more areas, including mobility, self-care and social interaction. Although many older adults manage to maintain their well-being despite functional decline, this is far from true for everyone.

Annually, 8 to 16% of older adults experience clinically significant depressive symptoms, and these more often remain chronic than in younger populations. The relationship between mental health and daily functioning is complicated: functional decline is one of the causes of depression, but conversely, depression can also accelerate functional decline, creating a vicious cycle of decline in mental health and functioning.

This research project focuses on how to break such vicious circles: which resources make older adults resilient and stimulate functional recovery after depression?

As a PhD student, you generate scientific and clinically relevant knowledge that can help older people respond resiliently to functional limitations and mental health challenges. For this, you use longitudinal data from, among other sources, the Netherlands Study of Depression in Older persons (NESDO) and the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam (LASA). Using additional datasets from abroad and visiting a foreign research group are also possibilities.

You work on:
  • Preparing and conducting advanced statistical analyses on longitudinal data;
  • Publishing analyses in international and national (scientific) journals and presenting them to relevant stakeholders, and presenting them at national and international conferences;
  • Translating and communicating results into recommendations for practice, such as mental health care and geriatricians.

You actively participate in research groups within and outside the department, including the Aging & Longitudinal Modelling section, Amsterdam Public Health institute, and the academic workplace for geriatric psychiatry, which is a collaboration between the psychiatry department of Amsterdam UMC and the mental health care institution GGZ inGeest. The PhD track offers plenty of opportunities to take courses in areas such as epidemiology and statistics.


Amsterdam UMC


  • You hold an MSc in clinical (neuro)psychology, health sciences, sociology or related discipline;
  • You have demonstrable strong quantitative analysis skills in SPSS or Stata, and preferably also in R, or are willing to learn R;
  • You preferably have knowledge of longitudinal data analysis methods;
  • You have good communication skills, both written and oral, in English;
  • You are self-disciplined and can work in a multi-disciplinary environment.

Conditions of employment

The PhD track is supervised by a dedicated team consisting of researchers with expertise in psychiatry, epidemiology and psychological methods. The track offers plenty of opportunities to:
  • Work with internationally renowned, high-quality data on aging and mental health;
  • Take courses to develop crucial research skills in areas such as epidemiology and statistics;
  • Access to a large interdisciplinary network including researchers and healthcare professionals;

Jointly, these elements will provide you with a solid basis for your further (academic) career.

The position entails:
  • A contract for one year for 36 hours/week, to be extended with three years, after a successful evaluation in the first year. A contract for 32 hours/week is negotiable.
  • Your salary will be in salary scale € 3.017 gross per month in the first year to € 3.824 gross per month in the final (4th) year based on a full-time employment of 36 hours/week.
  • In addition to a good basic salary, you will also receive an 8.3% year-end bonus and an 8% holiday allowance. Calculate your net salary here.


Amsterdam UMC

You are embedded in the section 'Aging & Longitudinal Modelling' with about twenty junior and senior researchers, data managers and field workers, most of whom are affiliated with the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam (LASA), a large Dutch cohort study which started in 1992 and is still ongoing. The group is part of the department of Epidemiology & Data Science, which includes five other groups with expertise on, for example, analyzing big data, on chronic disease epidemiology, and clinical measurement. You will be supervised by dr. Almar Kok, prof. Martijn Huisman and prof. Aartjan Beekman.

LASA is located at the VUmc location of Amsterdam UMC, in the Medical Faculty, and closely collaborates with researchers from many other departments at Amsterdam UMC and the Vrije Universiteit, such as Psychiatry, Geriatrics, General Practice (Amsterdam UMC), Sociology, and Health Sciences (VU). Being embedded in the LASA group offers ample opportunities for meeting and exchanging experiences with other PhD students, senior researchers, and people working in relevant areas of healthcare or health policy. In later years of the PhD track you can also supervise Bachelor or Master students.


  • PhD
  • Health
  • max. 36 hours per week
  • €3017—€3824 per month
  • Doctorate
  • 11702



De Boelelaan 1117, 1081HV, Amsterdam

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