Postdoctoral Researchers on the Effects of Social Media Use on Well-being

Postdoctoral Researchers on the Effects of Social Media Use on Well-being

Published Deadline Location
29 Nov 10 Jan Amsterdam

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Job description

We are looking for two post-doctoral researchers on the effects of social media use on well-being.

A pressing question in society is how social media affect adolescents’ well-being. Project AWeSome – short for Adolescents, Well-being and Social media – aims to understand this question. The project started in September 2018 and is funded by an NWO Spinoza Prize awarded to Professor Patti Valkenburg. The project is hosted at the Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR) at the University of Amsterdam. ASCoR is the largest communication research institute of its kind in Europe and is among the largest worldwide. More than 80 senior researchers are permanently associated with ASCoR, and its English-language PhD program has more than 25 students.

Project AWeSome involves an interdisciplinary team of junior and senior researchers and is led by Professor Patti Valkenburg, in collaboration with Professor Loes Keijsers (Erasmus School of Behavioural and Social Sciences at Erasmus University Rotterdam.) The goal of the project is to unravel individual differences in the effects of social media use on the well-being of adolescents and adults. The project incorporates theoretical approaches from the fields of communication science and developmental psychology and relies on intensive longitudinal data collection methods, including experience sampling methods, digital trace data, and data donations.

What are you going to do

In previous years, we from Team AWeSome have obtained insights into the heterogeneity of media effects, demonstrating that some adolescents benefit from social media use whereas others don’t. In a next step, we aim to better understand how the content and context of social media may explain why and how individuals differ in their susceptibility to the effects of social media use. To further extend the project, we are looking for two new colleagues to join the team for the next three years. The expected start date is between February and June 2022.

Together with the existing team, the two new postdocs will design a three-week experience sampling study among adolescents and their parents. Moreover, they will use data donation and mobile sensing methods to access and assess the content of adolescents’ and parents’ social media platforms. To analyze this large-scale data, computational methods will be used, such as deep learning based on manually coded training data. The team will derive both visual and textual data from users’ platforms with the help of algorithms that are applicable to our sample. The team will create and implement a database that efficiently links the collected social media content data with the experience sampling data.

You will:                                                 

  • design the experience sampling study, and prepare the data donation and mobile sensing methods, in collaboration with other members of the team;
  • collect the data from families and supervise the data-collection team of (junior) researchers;
  • analyse the data using advanced data-analytical tools, such as Dynamic Structural Equation Modelling (postdoc 1) and computational methods (postdoc 2);
  • write up publications based on newly collected and existing datasets;
  • share knowledge and expertise with the other team members.

Project AWeSome offers:

  • an inspiring and supportive interdisciplinary team, characterized by open communication and a wish to learn from each other and excel together;
  • a training ground for theories and advanced methods in social and behavioural sciences;
  • an innovative and creative academic environment, with state-of-the-art datasets, data collection tools, and top-notch analytical methods;
  • peer-to-peer skill building and support to help you develop your own talents and flourish as young researcher;
  • a strong steppingstone towards becoming a high-profile independent researcher.


University of Amsterdam (UvA)


What do we require of you

The project lasts three years, with a possibility for extension. Successful candidates should have:

  • a PhD degree in communication, developmental psychology, computational science, or any related discipline;
  • knowledge into adolescent development, social media use, and families is a pre;
  • outstanding organizational skills, as well as flexible attitude;
  • enthusiasm to communicate with adolescents and families;
  • a demonstrated willingness and ability to learn and grow, both in terms of theories and methods;
  • excellent oral and written communication skills in Dutch and English;
  • being (or willingness to become) leading in open science practices.

Specifically for Postdoc A:

    • experience with and knowledge of experience sampling methods;
    • advanced quantitative data analysis and modelling skills (e.g., continuous-time models, multivariate time series, multilevel modelling, (Dynamic) Structural Equation Modeling);
    • demonstrated expertise with R and/or Mplus, preferably, also with Python;
    • knowledge or demonstrated interest in data donation methods.

Specifically for Postdoc B:

    • demonstrated experience with computational social science methods, especially with the automated processing and classification of texts and images;
    • experience with Natural Language Processing techniques (desirable: expertise in NLP techniques as applied to the dutch language);
    • demonstrated expertise in (supervised, unsupervised and other) machine learning techniques applied to social media data;
    • expertise in content analysis and in methods to assess the reliability and accuracy of automated classifications of texts and images;
    • data management and multi-modal analysis skills;
    • demonstrated expertise with Python and, preferably, also with R.

Conditions of employment

Our offer

The appointment will be on a temporary basis for a period of 36 months (Feb/June 2022 - Feb/June 2025). Based on a full-time appointment (38 hours per week) the gross monthly salary will range from  €3,807 to €5,211 (salary scale 11) depending on expertise and previous experience. The salary is supplemented with a holiday allowance of 8% and an end-of-year bonus of 8.3%. The Collective Labor Agreement of the Dutch Universities is applicable.


University of Amsterdam - Social and Behavioral Sciences

A challenging work environment with a variety of duties and ample scope for individual initiative and development within an inspiring organization. The social and behavioral sciences play a leading role in addressing the major societal challenges faced by the world, the Netherlands and Amsterdam, now and in the future.

To work at the University of Amsterdam is to work in a discerning, independent, creative, innovative and international climate characterized by an open atmosphere and a genuine engagement with the city of Amsterdam and society. Here you can read more about working at the University of Amsterdam.


  • Postdoc
  • Behaviour and society
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • €3807—€5911 per month
  • Doctorate
  • 21-7672


University of Amsterdam (UvA)

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