Ghent Health Psychology Lab creates innovative basic and translational research using transdiagnostic constructs, aiming at advancing relevant knowledge of health psychological problems and at informing evidence-based prevention and treatment.


Vision and strategy

The research of Ghent Health Psychology lab of Ghent University focuses on the psychology of illness and health, and is firmly grounded in theory. Foundational  is the adoption of a functional, motivational perspective that is built around the organizing powers of goals and self-regulation. Our research strategy allows an analysis at different levels (neurocognitive, perceptual, cognitive, affective, behavioral, and interpersonal). Furthermore, the theories and constructs are transdiagnostic, and are  applicable to a broad range of health and clinical problems (coping with and adaptation to chronic illness, treatment adherence, healthy life style). Accordingly, research has been initiated on a diversity of illnesses,  most importantly on the experience of pain, but also on cystic fibrosis, acquired brain injury, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, chronic fatigue, cancer and  tinnitus.  A further advantage is its focus upon key clinical outcomes, such as symptom severity, disability, distress, and quality of life. Finally, our research allows a swift translation to applied settings, because of its inherent focus upon actions of individuals within contexts (e.g., goal assessment, problem solving and planning, disengagment from unattainable goals, and engagement in valued goals).

The research of Ghent Health Psychology lab is achieved by both experimental research in a laboratory setting, and applied research in daily life, clinical and occupational settings. Research is conducted in adult as well as child/adolescent populations. Often innovative (experimental) paradigms are developed for these research purposes. Our research has a profound impact upon current theorizing and practice. The importance of clinical studies has steadily increased over the years.  Individuals with chronic pain or chronic illness are recruited from different settings, most often from Ghent University Hospital and patient association groups. An interdisciplinary pain research lab has been set up in collaboration with the Multidisciplinary Pain Clinic of Ghent University Hospital. The research group intensively collaborates with colleagues from Ghent University Hospital, but also with other national and international experts.