PhD defence C.C. (Chantie) Luijten

Adolescent Mental Health from a Psychosocial Perspective: Well-Being, Internalizing Problems, and Relationships with Parents and Friends
Prof.dr. A.P. Nieboer
Dr. D. van de Bongardt
Thursday 22 Dec 2022, 10:30 - 12:00
PhD defence
Senate Hall
Erasmus Building
Campus Woudestein
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C.C. Luijten will defend her PhD dissertation on Thursday 22 December 2022, entitled: ’Adolescent Mental Health from a Psychosocial Perspective: Well-Being, Internalizing Problems, and Relationships with Parents and Friends‘.


Adolescent mental health is prioritized in research, clinical and educational practice, and public health policy development, due to observed declines in adolescents’ well-being and increases in internalizing problems. Together, the five empirical studies described in this dissertation support the value of applying a psychosocial theoretical perspective for a better understanding of mental health in adolescents. The findings confirmed the importance of addressing both well-being and internalizing problems when considering adolescent mental health. In addition, the quality of adolescent boys’ and girls’ proximal social relationships (with mothers, fathers, and close friends) was found to be associated with well-being and internalizing problems in several ways, demonstrating particular importance of adolescents’ friendships. For boys, higher-quality friendships were directly related to well-being over time. For girls, whose mental health appeared to be particularly at risk, higher-quality friendships were indirectly related to well-being over time, via their global self-esteem. Overall, this dissertation research contributed to the existing literature about adolescent mental health through 1) conceptualizing mental health to encompass both well-being and internalizing problems, 2) distinguishing between the unique roles of mother– and father–adolescent relationships, 3) studying adolescents’ relationships with close friends, and 4) assessing differences and similarities between girls and boys in these findings. The findings provide relevant implications for evidence-based mental health protection and promotion efforts (e.g., a holistic and gender-tailored approach, including a focus on friendships). It is recommended that future research examines the effectiveness of such efforts to gain insight into which methods work best for different individual adolescents.

More information

The public defence will begin exactly at 10.30 hrs. The doors will be closed once the public defence starts, latecomers may be able to watch on the screen outside. There is no possibility of entrance during the first part of the ceremony. Due to the solemn nature of the ceremony, we recommend that you do not take children under the age of 6 to the first part of the ceremony.

A live stream link has been provided to the candidate.

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