Michel Walrave

Health Narratives


Michel Walrave

Department of Communication Studies
University of Antwerp


Michel Walrave is a professor at the Department of Communication Studies of the University of Antwerp. He is head of the research group MIOS.

He obtained his master’s degree in Communication Studies, a master in Information Science and a PhD in Social Sciences at the KU Leuven. His PhD research focussed on consumers’ responses to direct marketing and related privacy issues.

Subsequently, he worked at the KU Leuven and the Open University, before joining the University of Antwerp in 2003.

At the University of Antwerp, Michel Walrave lectures on marketing communications (Advertising, Sponsoring & PR; Direct Marketing & e-Marketing) and teaches one course on Public & Social Profit Communication.

Michel Walrave is also involved in several national and international research networks, amongst others, the Flemish Knowledge Center on Media Literacy and the World Internet Project. For the Internet Rights Observatory he collaborated in drafting an advice and book on cyberbullying and on minors and online marketing.


Since the nineties Michel Walrave conducts research that centers around one central theme:  (online) self-disclosure and privacy.

His research concentrates on individuals’ self-disclosure and privacy in interpersonal online communication, particularly on social network sites. Together with his colleagues, he investigates individuals’ motives of online self-disclosure, but also related opportunities (e.g. in terms of social capital) and risks (e.g. misuse of personal data, cyberbullying). Moreover, how intimate, and sometimes sensitive, disclosures (e.g. sexting) and their consequences can be understood, is one of the topics of his research.

Besides, he investigates and collaborates in projects on the reasons why internet users entrust personal data to businesses and how consumers deal with new forms of interactive marketing. He focusses on how young people respond to hybrid forms of online marketing that integrate marketing and entertainment and often use or induce personal data disclosures (e.g. advergames, social media marketing).


Privacy, online self-disclosure, social network sites, online marketing, online risks, sexting

Some publications
  • Van Ouytsel, J., Van Gool, E., Walrave, M., Ponnet, K., & Peeters, E. (2016). Exploring the role of social networking sites within adolescent romantic relationships and dating experiences. Computers in human behavior, 55, p. 76-86
  • Van Ouytsel, J., Ponnet, K., & Walrave, M. (2016). Cyber dating abuse victimization among secondary school students from a lifestyle-routine activities theory perspective. Journal of interpersonal violence, p. 1-10.
  • Vanwesenbeeck, I., Walrave, M., & Ponnet, K. (2016). Young adolescents and advertising on social network games : a structural equation model of perceived parental media mediation, advertising literacy, and behavioral intention. 
    The journal of advertising, p. 1-15
  • Walrave, M., Ponnet, K., Van Ouytsel, J., Van Gool, E., Heirman, W., & Verbeek, A. (2015). Whether or not to engage in sexting : explaining adolescent sexting behaviour by applying the prototype willingness model. Telematics and Informatics. 32(4), p. 796-808.
  • Heirman, W., Walrave, M., & Ponnet, K. (2013). Predicting adolescents’ disclosure of personal information in exchange for commercial incentives: An application of an extended theory of planned behavior. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 16, 81-87.
  • Walrave, M. & Heirman, W. (2013). Adolescents, Online Marketing and Privacy: Predicting Adolescents’ Willingness to Disclose Personal Information for Marketing Purposes. Children & Society. The International Journal of Childhood and Children’s Services,  27(6), 434–447.
  • Walrave, M., Vanwesenbeeck, I., & Heirman, W. (2012). Connecting and protecting? Comparing predictors of self-disclosure and privacy-settings between adolescents and adults. Cyberpsychology: journal of psychosocial research on cyberpspace, 6(1), article 3.

For other publications, see also my page at University of Antwerp