Sara Bastiaensens

Health Narratives


Sara Bastiaensens

PhD student
University of Antwerp


In 2011 Sara Bastiaensens graduated from the University of Antwerp as Master in Communication Studies: Strategic Communication. Since February 2012, Sara has been working as a researcher/PhD student for the IWT-SBO Friendly ATTAC project, under supervision of Prof. Dr. Heidi Vandebosch and Prof. Dr. Karolien Poels (University of Antwerp).

The project is a cooperation between the University of Antwerp (MIOS), the University of Ghent (research group Physical Activity, Fitness and Health, ELIT), the Free University of Brussels (WISE) and University College West Flanders (ELIT). It aims to create a serious game against cyberbullying, using adaptive virtual scenarios. The development of this game will be based on scientific knowledge on behavioural determinants of cyberbullying and methods and techniques that can influence these determinants. Afterwards, the game will be tested in a laboratory setting.

More information on the project: →


Within the scope of the Friendly ATTAC project and her own PhD research, Sara is conducting research on bystander behaviour in cases of cyberbullying on social network sites. Furthermore, she investigates how serious games can be employed to induce change in behaviour and behavioural determinants of cyberbullying bystanders.


Cyberbullying; online harassment; social network sites; adolescents; bystanders; serious games; behaviour change

Key publications

De Smet, Ann, Bastiaensens, Sara, Van Cleemput, Katrien, Poels Karolien, Vandebosch, Heidi, & De Bourdeaudhuij, Ilse (2012). Mobilizing bystanders of cyberbullying : an exploratory study into behavioural determinants of defending the victim. Annual review of cybertherapy and telemedicine 2012 : advanced technologies in the behavioral, social and neurosciences / Wiederhold, Brenda K. e.a. Amsterdam, IOS Press

De Smet, Ann, Veldeman, Charlene, Poels, Karolien, Bastiaensens, Sara, Van Cleemput, Katrien, Vandebosch, Heidi, & De Bourdeaudhuij, Ilse (2013). Determinants of self-reported bystander behavior in cyberbullying incidents amongst adolescents. Cyberpsychology, behavior, and social networking – issn 2152-2715- (2013), pp. 1-9

Bastiaensens, Sara, Vandebosch, Heidi, Poels, Karolien, Van Cleemput, Katrien, DeSmet, Ann, & De Bourdeaudhuij Ilse (2014). Cyberbullying on social network sites : an experimental study into bystanders’ behavioral intentions to help the victim or reinforce the bully. Computers in human behavior, 259-271