PhD researcher The development of emotional dysregulation in preadolescents: Macro- and micro-level relations between parenting and emotional dysregulation as predictors psychosocial problems.

The PhD project will be conducted within the research program Development and treatment of psychosocial problems (program leaders: prof. dr. M. Deković and prof. dr. A. van Baar) at the Department of Clinical Child and Family Studies.

The project investigates how the development of emotion dysregulation (EDR) may mediate the relation between parenting and psychosocial problems in adolescents. Research has shown that patterns of EDR in children and adolescents are associated with concurrent and later psychosocial problems. In addition, it is clear that parenting is related to the EDR. However, the mechanisms underlying these relationships are largely unknown. Particularly in preadolescence, it is still unclear whether relations between parenting and EDR are caused by adolescent behaviour, by parent behaviour, or by reciprocal processes. Moreover, it is unclear whether EDR can be seen as an antecedent or a consequence of psychosocial adjustment. In addition, studies examining the relationships between parenting and EDR are usually cross-sectional or prospective studies with relatively large periods of time between assessments. Although the latter type of studies allows conclusions about the development of EDR in developmental time (macro- approach), it tells little about the transactions between parenting and EDR in real time interactions (micro approach). It might well be that meaningful differences in micro patterns of dyadic behaviours exist that are indicative or predictive of macro-developmental outcomes.

For this reason, an important aspect of the current project is that bidirectional relations between parenting and adolescent emotion (dys)regulation are assessed at the level of developmental time (macro approach, three waves one year apart), as well as during real time interactions (micro-approach) at each assessment wave.

The PhD project is part of the larger Youth cohort study that in turn is embedded within the research Consortium on Individual Development that is funded by an NWO Gravitation grant. The current PhD project uses data from the Youth adolescent cohort study. This cohort study is a large long term longitudinal study that focuses on the neurocognitive brain development involved in two core characteristics of behavioural development: social competence and behavioural control. One of the tasks of the PhD student will be to assist in collecting the data for the larger Youth cohort study.

The candidate will contribute to the collection of data in the planned waves of the Youth cohort studies in 2016 -2018. In addition, the candidate is expected to disseminate the knowledge gained from the project through publishing five research articles in international research journals, the dissertation and presenting results at international and national conferences.

The candidate will be a part of the local PhD Program of the Utrecht Centre for Child and Adolescent Studies (UC-CAS) within the Utrecht Graduate School of Social and Behavioural Sciences (UGSSBS). The candidate will also be expected to follow advanced graduate courses as deemed necessary including advanced statistics and methodology courses offered by UU-CAS training and education program. The candidate will also be expected to spend 10 % of his/her time providing teaching assistance at undergraduate level.



We are looking for a motivated candidate who has affinity with parenting and psychosocial development during adolescence.


  • A research master’s degree or equivalent in child and adolescent studies, (developmental) psychology or a related discipline in social sciences;
  • Excellent research and writing skills, experience using longitudinal statistical methodology, and knowledge of early child development;
  • A good written and oral command of the English language.



The appointment of this position will be for 0,8 FTE for five years or for 1,0 FTE for four years. The initial appointment to the position will be made for a 0,8 FTE or 1,0 FTE for one year that, with satisfactory completion, will result in an extension for an additional four or three years. It is expected that the appointee will complete all requirements for the PhD degree within this period.

The expected start date is no later than March 1, 2016 . The salary starts at € 2.146 gross per month in the first year and increases to € 2.744 gross per month in the fourth year, for a full time appointment, contingent on satisfactory performance. The salary is supplemented with an 8% holiday-allowance and an 8.3% end–of-year bonus.

We offer an enjoyable working environment, employment conditions and a stimulating research climate. For more information visit Working at Utrecht University.



Een betere toekomst voor iedereen. Die ambitie motiveert onze wetenschappers bij hun toponderzoek en het geven van inspirerend onderwijs. Bij de Universiteit Utrecht werken diverse disciplines intensief samen aan maatschappelijk belangrijke thema’s. Onze focus ligt op Dynamics of Youth, Institutions for Open Societies, Life Sciences en Sustainability.

The faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences carries out relevant scientific research of a very high quality and provides challenging academic teaching in the fields of human behaviour and society. The faculty’s research and teaching contributes to a critical reflection on society, human behaviour and their interconnection. More than 5600 students follow a broad range of undergraduate and graduate (academic and research) programs, set up by a collaboration of two departments: Behavioural Sciences and Social Sciences. As a result of the faculty’s wide variety of programs and innovative and ground breaking research, some 850 staff members have ample opportunity to benefit from each other’s knowledge and expertise.

The Utrecht Centre of Child and Adolescent Studies (UC-CAS) is a research centre of the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences in Utrecht, dedicated to the study of child and adolescent development, that focuses on one common overarching research issue: the interaction between individual characteristics and the social and cultural context in producing a variety of developmental pathways from childhood into adolescence and young adulthood. Its aim is to explain why and how particular developmental trajectories are affected by (interacting) factors at the level of the individual (neurocognitive, psychophysiological, emotional and behavioural aspects), the level of the proximal social environment (relations with parents, peers, intimate relationships, informal and formal social networks) and the level of the social and cultural environment (socioeconomic inequality, ethnic background, cultural lifestyles). To accomplish this goal, research groups originating from Psychology, Pedagogics and Interdisciplinary Social Science are participating in the Utrecht Centre of CAS.


Additionele informatie

Additional information concerning this position may be obtained by contacting dr. J. Huijding, or prof. dr. M. Dekovic, email: