This page addresses the research pillar Belonging, its related research projects and the researchers who are involved.


One of the key developmental tasks for young people is the development of a personal and social identity – to have the experience of belonging to a group. Successful completion of this developmental task is associated with optimal civic engagement as well as individual well-being.

The task of developing a clear identity can be especially challenging for youth from minority groups.

Globalization, de-contextualization, and migration result in more diverse societies. This will result in less traditional moral and behavioural guidelines. The task of developing a clear identity can be especially challenging for youth from minority groups, such as ethnic or sexual minorities or youth with specific handicaps or gifts.

How do relations, society and culture affect the sense of belonging?

The focus of this research pillar is how relational, societal and cultural contexts affect the sense of belonging in development and subsequent positive civic engagement

Key questions

This pillar exists of several related subthemes, thereby addressing several contemporary scientific and societal challenges and questions:

  • How does having a specific label (resulting from an illness, diagnostic label, minority status, giftedness etc.) affect identity development?
  • How can socializers such as parents and teachers promote successful societal participation of youth?
  • How can neighbourhoods and communities promote development of norms and values and successful participation of youth?
  • How do aggressive behaviours (e.g. bullying) affect personal identity, and how does youth collective identity result in civic engagement in youth groups?
  • How do inter-ethnical and intercultural relationships affect identity development (ethnic and personal identity) of minority and majority youth?
  • What is the role of intercultural contact between peers in identity formation? How do youth balance between integration and their cultural/religious/language heritage?
  • How is language used to construe personal and group identity, for example in narratives?
  • And how can we understand and prevent radicalization?
  • How does the use of (new) media and participation in youth sports affect identity development of youth?


These research projects are currently running within the research pillar of Belonging:

Principal investigators

These principal investigators are currently working on the research pillar of Belonging:


For every faculty, these are the researchers that are involved in the research pillar of Belonging (apart from the principal investigators).