2 Postdoctoral researchers on the effects of social media use on self-esteem

Amsterdam School of Communication Research

Publication date
15 December 2017
Level of education
Salary indication
€3,475 to €4,757 gross per month
Closing date
21 January 2018
38 hours per week
Vacancy number

This Spinoza project of professor Patti Valkenburg, funded by the Dutch science foundation NWO, focuses on the effects of social media use on self-esteem and well-being among adolescents. The project is hosted at the   at the UvA and will be conducted in collaboration with Dr Loes Keijsers, Department of Developmental Psychology at Tilburg University. The postdoctoral reseachters will be located at both the UvA and University of Tilburg. The Amsterdam School of Communication Research ASCoR is the research institute in communication Science at the University of Amsterdam. It is the largest research institute of its kind in Europe and is among the largest worldwide. More than 50 senior researchers are permanently associated with ASCoR, and its English-language PhD program has more than 40 students.

Project description

The two postdoctoral researchers will participate in a three-year project that runs until March 2021. The aim of the project is to investigate the effects of social media use on adolescents’ self-esteem and well-being. In the literature, two opposite hypotheses on the relationship between social media use, self-esteem and well-being can be found. A first hypothesis predicts that some adolescent social media users may be more sensitive than others to the abundance of positive feedback in social media, which may stimulate their self-esteem and well-being. A second hypothesis states that the positivity bias on social media may enhance the tendency of some adolescents to compare themselves upwardly to other users, which, in turn, may hinder they self-esteem and well-being.

In this project, we will adopt a person-specific approach, which allows us to investigate which of the two mechanisms holds for which individual adolescent and when. We will follow adolescents between 11 and 16 for a one year period. In this period, we will administer five repeated 3-month online questionnaires and 25 two-weekly online questionnaires. In addition, we will employ two 21-day measurement bursts with daily experience sampling methods and diaries 5 times a day. This measurement-burst design will allow us to assess and visualize each adolescent’s unique sensitivity to the effects of peer interactions via social media.

Tasks of the two postdoctoral researchers:

  • collect and analyse survey and experience sampling data in the first year of the project;
  • write-up of publications on the newly collected and existing datasets;
  • work in a team together with the two PI’s of the project (Prof Valkenburg and Dr. Keijsers), and another post-doctoral researcher.


The project lasts until March 2021 (three years), with a possibility for extension. Candidates for this position should have considerable academic experience at the PhD level in working with quantitative data, as well as experience with collecting data among adolescents or young adults.

In addition, a successful candidate should have:

  • a PhD degree in communication, developmental psychology, or related discipline;
  • knowledge of and experience with survey research, experience sampling, and advanced data analysis (e.g., continuous-time models, multivariate time series, random-intercept CLPMs);
  • outstanding organizational skills, as well as flexible attitude;
  • enthusiasm to communicate with adolescents and families;
  • excellent oral and written communication skills in Dutch and English.


A detailed project description may be obtained from:

Questions about the project content should be addressed to:

Questions about the application procedure and other general questions should be addressed to:


The appointment will be on a temporary basis for a period of 36 months (March 2018-March 2021). Based on a full-time appointment (38 hours per week) the gross monthly salary will range from €3,475 to €4,757 (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 Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities is applicable. 

Job application

To apply, please submit

The deadline for applications is Sunday 21 January 2018. To process your application, please quote vacancy number 17-633 and the title of the position you are applying for in the subject-line. Please send the following documents in English by e-mail to ascor-secr-fmg@uva.nl:

  • a motivation letter. Please clearly indicate the position you apply for;
  • a curriculum vitae and publication list;
  • proof of your PhD degree. If you have not completed your degree at the time of application, please provide a statement from your supervisor confirming the expected date of completion of your degree;
  • an academic writing sample in English (e.g., journal article, PhD dissertation);
  • the names and contact addresses of two academic references from which information about the candidate may be obtained.

Please send all your documents in PDF format in one PDF file. Only complete applications will be considered. #LI-DNP

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Published by  University of Amsterdam