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Eight PhD candidates will start this spring with interdisciplinary research at the Centre for Urban Mental Health at the UvA. In their projects, they will focus on psychological problems and conditions - such as depression, anxiety and addiction - among individuals and (vulnerable) groups in the city. Complexity science will form the basis of all of their research.

People who live in the city are relatively often confronted with psychological problems and conditions such as depression, anxiety and addiction. Certain individuals and groups in the city are more vulnerable to this than others. In the interdisciplinary doctoral research projects that will take place at the Centre, special attention will be paid to those vulnerable groups.

Lotte Brinkhof, for example, will look at developing preventive interventions aimed at raising the mental and physical resilience of vulnerable senior citizens. Amber Koert, on the other hand, will be focusing on young people. Adolescents living in demanding, urban, social media-dominated environments often report high levels of stress. Koert will investigate how exercise training can help mitigate against stress, depression and anxiety. Junus van der Wal will examine how the city increases the risk of depression. He will focus on, among others, ethnic minority groups and the socio-economically disadvantaged, two groups that are particularly vulnerable to depression.

All projects

  • Lotte Brinkhof: Active and Healthy Aging: Promoting Preventive Interventions Based on Resilience Network Analysis
  • Maarten van den Ende: Computational Modelling of Psychological and Social Dynamics in Urban Mental Health Conditions: The Case of Addictive Substance Use
  • Karoline Huth: Urban Networks of Addiction and Depression
  • Amber Koert: Working Out Urban Stress
  • Alessandra Mansueto: Modelling Symptom Networks Using Ecological Momentary Assessment: From Network Analysis to Interventions
  • Priya Peters: Understanding Affective and Addictive Disorders in Adolescents with an Urban Background Using a Life-Course Complex Systems Approach
  • Junus van der Wal: Unravelling the Dynamics of Depression in High-Risk Urban Populations Using a Complex Systems Approach

Recruitment is ongoing for the eighth project, titled Understanding and Targeting Microbial Patterns among Adolescents with Depression: Using a Complex Systems Approach in an Urban Environment.

Each project will last four years. The projects are equally distributed across the three faculties involved in the Centre for Urban Mental Health: the Faculties of Science, Social & Behavioural Sciences, and Medicine. The candidates will be based at the Centre for Urban Mental Health, the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) and the faculties related to their specific project.