Heidi Vandebosch

Health Narratives



Heidi Vandebosch

Associate Professor
Universiteit van Antwerpen


Heidi Vandebosch (1971) is an Associate Professor at the Department of Communication Studies at the University of Antwerp (Belgium), specialising in media sociology and health communication. She has an MA in Communication Studies (K.U.Leuven) and a PhD in Social Sciences (K.U.Leuven).

Heidi Vandebosch teaches the following courses: Introduction to Communication Science, Media: Audiences and Effects, and Health Communication. Her research focuses on media/ICT uses and effects.

She has published internationally about: cyberbullying amongst youngsters, TV use and obesity among pre-school children; TV and ICT use of elderly; media consumption patterns among prisoners; TV game show viewers; effects of mass media on namegiving and weather and lunar effects on television viewing. Heidi Vandebosch is specialised in both quantitative and qualitative research methods and techniques (e.g. surveys, in-depth interviews, focus groups…)


Most of Heidi’s current research is focused on cyberbullying amongst youngsters. She is the promotor of several large scale projects on this topic. Some of the aspects addressed in these projects are: the definition and prevalence of cyberbullying, the profiles of bullies and victims, the (health) impact of cyberbullying, the role of bystanders in cyberbullying incidents, media reports on cyberbullying, the role of schools and the police, and the potential of technologies (serious games, automatic monitoring) to tackle the problem. For more information on the latter, see: www.friendlyattac.be and www.amicaproject.be.


Cyberbullying, children and adolescents, ICT, health communication, games for health

Key publications

Van Cleemput, K.; Vandebosch, H.; Pabian, S. (accepted) Personal characteristics and contextual factors that determine ‘helping’, ‘joining in’ and ‘doing nothing’ when witnessing cyberbullying. Aggressive Behavior.

Pabian, S. & Vandebosch, H. (2013) Using the Theory of Planned Behavior to Understand Cyberbullying: The Importance of Beliefs for Developing Interventions. European Journal of Developmental Psychology. 1-15.

Bastiaensens, S.; Vandebosch, H. ; Poels, K. ; Van Cleemput, K. ; DeSmet, A. & De Bourdeaudhuij, I. (2014) Cyberbullying on social network sites. An experimental study into bystanders’ behavioural intentions to help the victim or reinforce the bully. Computers in Human Behavior, 31, 259-271.

De Smet, A., Veldeman, C., Bastiaensens, S., Van Cleemput, K. ; Poels, K., Vandebosch, H. & De Bourdeaudhuij, I. (in print). Determinants of Self-Reported Bystander Behavior in Cyberbullying Incidents amongst Adolescents. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking.

Vandebosch, H. & Van Cleemput, K. (2009) Cyber bullying among youngsters: prevalence and profile of bullies and victims. New Media & Society, 11(8), 1–23.

Vandebosch, H.; Beirens, L.; D’haese, W.; Wegge, D. & Pabian, S. (2012) Police actions with regard to cyberbullying: the Belgian case./ Acciones policiales relacionadas con cyberbullying: el caso belga. Psicothema, 24(4), 646-652.

Vandebosch, H. & Van Cleemput, K. (2008) Cyber bullying: A qualitative research into the perceptions of youngsters. Cyber Psychology & Behavior, 11(4), 499-503.

Smits, T. ; Vandebosch, H. (2012) The Effects of Using Non-Celebrity versus Celebrity Spokes Characters to Promote Healthy and Unhealthy Food to Children. Communications. The European Journal of Communication Research, 37(4), 371-391.

Vandebosch, H. & Van Cleemput, K. (2007) Television Viewing and Obesity among Pre-school Children: the Role of Parents. Communications. The European Journal of Communication Research, 32(4), 417-44

Other activities

Heidi was member of the Management Committee of COST action “I‪S0801Cyberbullying: coping with negative and enhancing positive uses of new technologies, in relationships in educational settings”. She is also part of the NeFCA Board (co-chairing the Health Communication Division), and Book Review Editor of “Communications. The European Journal of Communication Research” (http://www.communicationsonline.eu/).