Research Projects

Not straight? Sexual orientation disparities in macro and micro-processes of youth victimization and mental health (2018-present). 

PI: Dr. Laura Baams

University of Groningen

Lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) youth report poorer mental health (depression, suicidality) and are victimized more often than heterosexual youth. How can this be explained? Using survey- and daily-diary studies, I will research sexual orientation disparities, critical mechanisms, and whether a positive school climate can help improve mental health.

Funded by Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (Veni)


 Thriving under stress: Understanding what makes lesbian, gay, and bisexual adolescents susceptible and resilient to minority stress (2018-present).

PhD candidate: Wouter Kiekens; Supervisors: Prof. dr. René Veenstra, Dr. Jan Kornelis Dijkstra, & Dr. Laura Baams.

University of Groningen

In this project Wouter Kiekens investigate differences in mental health and substance use of lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) adolescents. He focuses on susceptibility and resilience to the impact of minority stress on mental health and substance use, extending knowledge on how LGB adolescents are affected by minority stress using innovative methods. Specifically, he examines (1) the association between minority stress and mental health and substance use using experience sampling; and the roles of (2) rejection sensitivity and (3) social support using vignettes and ego networks. Understanding within and between-group differences helps to provide better support for these vulnerable youth.


Preventing suicidality among Dutch Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT)
youth through a web-based intervention addressing suicidality in relation to sexual
and gender identity issues (2017-present). 

PhD candidate: Jennifer de Lange; PIs: Dr. Diana van Bergen & Dr. Laura Baams

University of Groningen

In this research project we study the efficacy of an online intervention aimed at decreasing suicidality among LGBT youth.

Funded by The Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development


The role of SOGI-focused school policies, programs, and practices on student well-being SOGI: Health & Rights Lab (2016-present)

University of Texas at Austin


Risk and protective factors for suicide among sexual minority youth SOGI: Health & Rights Lab (2016-present)

University of Texas at Austin


When being different becomes the norm (PIs: Prof. dr. Marcel van Aken en Prof. dr. Rosemarie Buikema) (2014-2016)

This research project brings together developmental psychology and gender studies and examines how individual, peer, and media-influences impact LGBT youth. We focus on 14-22 year old youth who identify across all sexual orientations. We have formulated several multi-method studies, and each addresses a specific element in the effect of microaggressions. Together, these projects form a unique combination of studies, in which microaggressions and well-being can be studied from different angles but with the same goals.

Colleagues involved in the data-collection:
Tessa Kaufman
Jasmijn van Engelen
Funded by Dynamics of Youth, Utrecht University

Project STARS (PIs: Prof. dr. Maja Dekovic, Prof. dr. Marcel van Aken, Prof. dr. Tom ter Bogt, Prof. dr. Paul van Geert) (2010-2015)

Project STARS is a large-scale, national, longitudinal research project on pubertal development, love, romantic relationships, and sexuality among adolescents. The goal of Project STARS was to investigate romantic and sexual development trajectories of adolescents in The Netherlands. The influence of individual characteristics, the proximal (nearby) social context, and the media on this development were also investigated. Data was collected from 1,200 adolescents aged 11 to 15 years, from various cultural/ethnic backgrounds and from different educational levels. Participating adolescents were followed up for 18 months, and completed four sets of questionnaires. In addition, subsamples of adolescents were invited to participate in one of the small-scale in-depth studies, such as an interview study or a diary study.
Colleagues involved in the Project STARS research:Dr. Daphne van de BongardtDr. Suzan Doornwaard, and Dr. Wieke Dalenberg
Funded by Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) and Fund for Scientific Research of Sexuality (FWOS)