PhD position in Clinical Psychology ‘TrafVic Kids: Support for bereaved children after traffic accidents' (1.0 FTE, including 0.1 FTE teaching)

Hours per week: 
40 to 40
Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences
Application deadline: 

Job description

This PhD project is embedded in the research group of Prof Paul Boelen and will be performed at the Department of Clinical Psychology, Utrecht University in close collaboration with the University of Groningen. The PhD project is funded by Fund Victim Support (Fonds Slachtofferhulp) and the grant was awarded to Postdoctoral Researcher Dr Lonneke Lenferink.

The project is part of a research programme concentrating on the consequences of, and care after, a traumatic loss (e.g. homicide, long-term disappearance, death after plane disaster MH17, and traffic accidents). The TrafVic Kids project aims to 1) develop an instrument to asses disturbed grief reactions in bereaved children, 2) examine the interplay between grief reactions of caretakers and children, 3) explore the mental health needs of bereaved families, and 4) develop and evaluate an online grief intervention for children in need of support.

Advanced statistical analyses (e.g. structural equation modelling) will be combined with qualitative research methods to gain insight into the nature, assessment, risk factors, and treatment of disturbed grief reactions in children and families after the death of a loved one due to a traffic accident.

Your core tasks will include the:

  • development and psychometric evaluation of an interview to assess disturbed grief in children;
  • collection of interview and survey data in bereaved families;
  • development and execution of interviews with stakeholders about the content of online intervention for bereaved children;
  • development and evaluation of an online intervention for bereaved children in a randomized controlled trial;
  • analysis of quantitative and qualitative data;
  • communication of results in peer-reviewed scientific journals, at (inter)national conferences, and in reports to stakeholders and the target population;
  • supervision of Bachelor's and Master's theses in clinical psychology (0.1 FTE).


We are looking for an enthusiastic candidate who has a genuine interest in psychotrauma in children, a strong motivation to conduct research in applied clinical psychology, an interest in qualitative and quantitative research methods, great social skills, and excellent writing and presenting skills in Dutch and English.
Advantages are research experience (from the Bachelor's and/or Master's thesis or research internship) with psychotrauma, an interest in working with children/youth, and/or experience with quantitative and qualitative research methods.

Our ideal candidate has:

  • a Master's degree in the field of Clinical Psychology and/or Child development and/or Pedagogical Sciences;
  • well-developed analytical skills and creativity;
  • excellent social and organizational skills;
  • excellent writing and presentation skills (Dutch and English);
  • knowledge of and experience in psychotrauma, grief, distress in families, or qualitative and quantitative clinical psychology research.


We offer a temporary position (1.0 FTE) for one year that, upon satisfactory completion, will result in an extension for an additional three years. The gross salary ranges between €2,395 (year 1) and €3,061 (year 4) (scale P according to the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities) per month for a full-time employment. Salaries are supplemented with a holiday bonus of 8% and a year-end bonus of 8.3% per year. In addition, Utrecht University offers excellent secondary conditions, including an attractive retirement scheme, (partly paid) parental leave and flexible employment conditions (multiple choice model). More information about working at Utrecht University can be found here.

About the organisation

A better future for everyone. This ambition motivates our scientists in executing their leading research and inspiring teaching. At Utrecht University, the various disciplines collaborate intensively towards major societal themes. Our focus is on Dynamics of Youth, Institutions for Open Societies, Life Sciences and Sustainability.

The Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences is one of the leading faculties in Europe providing research and academic teaching in Cultural Anthropology, Educational Sciences, Interdisciplinary Social Science, Pedagogical Sciences, Psychology, and Sociology. More than 5,600 students are enrolled in a broad range of undergraduate and graduate programmes. The Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences has about 850 faculty and staff members, all providing their individual contribution to the training and education of young talent and to the research into and finding solutions for scientific and societal issues. 

You will join the Dutch-Flemish Postgraduate School ‘Experimental Psychopathology’, which will provide additional training and facilitate networking and collaboration with other Researchers in the field of Clinical Psychology and Experimental Psychopathology.

Additional information

For additional information, please contact Dr Lonneke Lenferink, via


Everyone deserves to feel at home at our university. We welcome employees with a wide variety of backgrounds and perspectives.

Applications should include a motivation letter, a full curriculum vitae (including a copy of your Master's thesis or scientific publication), and name and contact information of one reference. You can apply online via the button below.

The first interviews will be held in August 2020 and the preferred starting date is 1 October 2020.

The application deadline is 14 August 2020.