Connected projects

The Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (OCW) funds NSMD within its Gravity programme. In addition, the NSMD consortium seeks to fund content-related projects through other sources. Several NSMD consortium members have been successful in securing funding for subprojects within NSMD or projects that are substantively related. All projects connected to NSMD study the network approach to psychopathology.

On this page you will find an overview of projects connected to NSMD. 

Life meaning as a central factor in eating disorders and comorbid symptomatology

Researcher: Franziska Schutzeichel
Funding: Faculty of Behavioural and Social Sciences (University of Groningen)
Description: The DSM-5 classification of eating disorders (EDs) is facing issues regarding symptom overlap, both between specific ED diagnoses and between EDs and other types of disorders. The current project  focusses on (low) meaning in life as a promising yet largely ignored factor that may help improve the understanding of EDs and their comorbidities. When individuals struggle to obtain intrinsically valued goals (i.e., meaning in life), they potentially feel inadequate and worthless. This might cause them to turn towards regulating their eating and weight as a source of feeling self-worthy and in control. This idea corresponds with the meaning-making model of EDs (Marco et al., 2020): while eating- and weight-regulation are providing the individual with life meaning in the short-term, in the long-term this does not provide a positive and satisfying goal engagement. Moreover, as individuals often cannot obtain their thin-ideal or control their eating patterns successfully, their feelings of ineffectiveness and a lack of life meaning may persist or even be reinforced, which in turn might help explain the development of EDs and comorbid internalizing symptoms. The current project examines if indeed low meaning in life is a crucial factor in EDs and their comorbidities by assessing its relationship to other symptoms by means of network analyses, and will subsequently test the translational implications of (low) meaning in life as a central factor in EDs and their comorbid symptomatology.  
Duration: 2022 – 2026

WARN-D: developing an early warning system for depression in students

Researcher: Eiko Fried, PhD
Funding: European Research Council Starting Grant
Description: Experts agree that prevention is the most effective way to change depression’s global disease burden. The biggest barrier to successful prevention is to identify people at risk for depression in the near future — something that’s not possible at the moment. The team will try to solve the challenge who should receive prevention, and when, by developing the personalized early warning system WARN-D. For this, 2,000 young adults will be followed over 2 years, and emerging theoretical, measurement, and modelling approaches from different scientific fields so far unconnected will be integrated. The network approach to psychology, co-developed by Fried, is one of the pillars of the project, next to Ecological Momentary Assessment (EMA) data collection via smartphones and the use of dynamical network models. 
More info: 
Duration: 2021-2026

Understanding Overweight and Obesity: The end of Average (VICI)

Researcher: Prof. Anne Roefs
Funding: Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO)
Description: This project evolves around how predictors of overweight differ across people, and if the effectiveness of an intensive lifestyle intervention -on the short and longer term—depends on individual profiles of these predictors, including person characteristics, biological, psychological, environmental, and behavioral variables.. Moreover, the project will investigate if and how these profiles may translate to daily lifestyle behavior. Using an activity tracker physical activity throughout the day is assessed, and using a smartphone app, questions about (un)healthy eating behavior and variables that can affect these behaviors (e.g., stress) are asked multiple times per day. Does daily lifestyle behavior become healthier after the intervention and does it relate to weight change? This research takes an important step towards personalized interventions.
Duration: September 2022 – September 2027