Gill ten Hoor, PhD

Human Biology/Work and Social Psychology
Maastricht University
Visiting address: UNS40, 4.755
P.O. Box 616, 6200 MD Maastricht, the Netherlands


Health Psychology in the Netherlands is wide spread all over the country, and (research) master programs are available at various Dutch universities (see 3. Education). Besides being generally available, each university research group has its own, specific focus (see 4 Research). Health Psychology in the Netherlands is strongly attached to the EHPS, which was founded in the Netherlands in 1986. A first international expert conference on Health Psychology took place in Tilburg that year, and two years later another international meeting on life styles and health was organized in Utrecht (1988). In 2000 the annual EHPS conference, entitled: ‘Models of Health and Illness Behaviour’, took place in Leiden, and the annual EHPS conference on ‘Health Psychology and Society’ in 2007 was being organized in Maastricht, the Netherlands. In 1993 a short EHPS training course in health psychology for European postgraduate students which was funded by the EU ERASMUS program, was held in Leiden.

National Associations:

  1. ARPH: Association for Researchers in Psychology and Health
    The Dutch (& Belgium) Association for Researchers in Psychology and Health: ARPH, was founded in April 2011 and aims to stimulate and coordinate the academic study and application of psychological approaches to health and illness within Belgium and The Netherlands. The Association’s mission is to stimulate and coordinate the academic study of psychological approaches to health and illness by providing a platform for researchers to exchange knowledge and research initiatives on the study of health promotion, prevention of illness, and rehabilitation, to direct the development of new theoretical and methodological approaches to the study of psychology and health, and to initiate regular meetings between institutes and persons involved in the scientific study of psychology and health. Several board members of the ARPH, including the President of ARPH, prof dr Mariët Hagendoorn, are a member of the EHPS. In 2017 prof Hagendoorn will be the chair of the scientific EHPS conference committee.

Activities of the ARPH
An annual ARPH conference is being held for ARPH members and other researchers in the field of psychology and health. The official language used at this meeting is English. The next conference will be held on the 2th and 3th of February 2017 in Leiden ( Further, ARPH co-finances symposia that are being organized by ARPH members, and sends out newsletters on a regular basis about recent developments in the academic field of psychology and health.

Link to the ARPH webpage: One can follow ARPH on twitter (@ARPHhealthpsych) and LinkedIn too.
2. NBMF: National Behavioral Medicine Federation
The NBMF [Nederlandse Bahavioral Medicine Federatie] was founded in 1989, and can best be described as a gathering of organizations, like the Dutch organization for Medical Psychologists [In Dutch: Landelijke Vereniging voor Medisch Psychologen] who’s 250 members all are associated to the NBMF, and individuals who have an interest in behavioral medicine. The aim is to connect researchers and health care professionals.

Activities of the NBMF
The publishing of the Dutch Journal of Behavioral Medicine [Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Behavioral Medicine] twice a year; the organization of at least one annual members meeting; the organization of national, multidisciplinary conferences, e.g. on ‘pain, quality of life and chronical illness’, ‘diabetes and behavior’, ‘Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI)’, etc.

Link to the webpage:

Education, training and professionalisation:

The specialty of Health Psychology is offered at four Dutch universities, usually on top of a BA Psychology program. Official master programs that lead to the title of Master (MA) in Health Psychology can be found in Leiden at the University of Leiden ( ), in Enschede/ Hengelo at the University of Twente (, in Utrecht at Utrecht University (UU) (;, in Maastricht at the Maastricht University (, and at the Open University (OU) (a virtual university, not located in a specific place) of the Netherlands (

In the Netherlands, the title of psychologist, or health psychologist is not officially protected, and thus can be used by anyone who likes to. The title of MA in (health) psychology can only be used by those who officially graduated as such. People who want to work in healthcare as a (clinical/ healthcare) psychologist need additional training in order to obtain the obligatory registration in the Dutch registry of psychologists as a ‘NIP register-psychologist’, which is protected.


There are various Health Psychology Research Groups in the Netherlands:

  1. University of Amsterdam:

Amsterdam School of Communication Research (, led by prof dr Jochen Peters.One of the focuses of this research group, amongst others, is on persuasive communication.
Another researchgroup that focuses on persuasive communication at this university is ‘Persuasive Communication’ (, led by prof dr Julia van Weert.
Further, prof dr Julia van Weert leads the Amsterdam Center for Health Communication ( Lifestyle Communication, eHealth & Technology, and Patient-Provider interaction are important topics of interest to this group.

  1. Medical Communication at the University of Amsterdam/ Academic Medical Center (AMC)(, led by prof dr Ellen Smets. This research group aims to enhancing knowledge about the effectiveness of medical communication and to further establish evidence based medical communication.
  2. 3. Health Psychology, Health Psychology Research, and Research Institute SHARE at the University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG)( dr Mariët Hagendoorn, prof dr Robbert Sanderman and prof dr Adelita Ranchor, are leading this research group that focuses on (adjustment to) chronic disorder, somatic illness, dyadic coping and psychosocial interventions.
  3. Dept of Health Medical and Neuropsychology at Leiden University (, led by prof dr Andrea Evers. The focus is on self-management, stress, eHealth, placebo effects, medically unexplained symptoms, healthy lifestyle and chronic disorder
  4. Maastricht University
  • Departmentof Work and Social Psychology, section of Applied Social Psychology at Maastricht University ( Neuroscience/Theme/Research/DepWorkAndSocialPsychology). Prof dr Rob Ruiter is in charge of this group that focuses on psychological theories of behavior and behavior change. Risk-Communication, Emotion Regulation, Stigmatization and Prejudice are special topics of interest
  • Department of Health Promotion ( The department participates within the research institute CAPHRI. The full range of strategies and topics for health promotion is covered. Health topics vary from tobacco and health, alcohol abuse and dependency, HIV/AIDS, physical activity, nutrition, mental health, inequity in health to inter-sectoral policies for health promotion. There is a large group of persons working on health communication strategies, with a special focus on e-health and computer tailoring of health messages
  1. Center of Research on Psychological and Somatic Disorders (CoRPS), ( and dept of Medical and Clinical Psychology at Tilburg University, led by prof dr Johan Denollet
  2. Center for eHealth and Wellbeing Research, dept of Psychology, Health and Technology at the University of Twente (UT)(, which is led by prof dr Ernst Bohlmeijer. The Health Psychology group in that Department is led by prof dr Robbert Sanderman.  The research focus in this center is on persuasive health technology, positive health & technology, and self management & health assessment.
  3. The Self Regulation Lab ( and the section of Health Psychology, dept of Social, Health and Organizational Psychology at Utrecht University.Prof dr Denise de Ridder is the principal investigator of this lab and Health Psychology researchsection that focuses on self-regulation, nudging, temptation and health behavior, emotion and self-regulation and resource depletion
  4. Health Psychology Research at the Open University of the Netherlands( This researchgroup is led by prof dr Lilian Lechner and focusses on eHealth, tailoring interventions, and quit smoking behavior.