Prof. dr. Mariek Vanden Abeele

Professor at the research group for Media, Innovation and Communication Technologies, Department of Communication Sciences, Ghent University.


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Digital Culture
Mobile Media Sociology
Media Psychology
Digital Well-being

Mariek Vanden Abeele is Associate Professor in Digital Culture at the Faculty of Political and Social Sciences of Ghent University. Mariek obtained her PhD in Communication Sciences at the University of Leuven in 2012, and started working as Assistant Professor in that same year at Tilburg University's School for Humanities and Digital Sciences. In 2015, Mariek worked as doctoral assistant at imec-mict-UGent, after which she returned to Tilburg University in 2016. In 2018, Tilburg University appointed Mariek as Associate Professor, and also awarded her with a Philip Eijlander Diversity (PED) fellowship, to recognize her accomplishments. As of February 2021, Mariek has re-joined imec-mict-UGent as Associate Professor in Digital Culture.


Mariek's research focuses on digital culture. She combines media psychological and media sociological perspectives to better understand the role that digital media use play in everyday life and society. She is especially interested in mobile media use. Her research interests include mobile communication and social relationships, problematic smartphone use and digital well-being, mobile media and childhood, and the social implications of health and fitness wearable use. Mariek is an active member of the Mobile Communication Interest Group of ICA (International Communication Association). She was the secretary of this group from 2017-2019 and has been recently elected as vice chair.


Mariek is a recipient of an 2020 ERC Starting Grant on Digital Well-being. In her ERC project, Mariek will build on her interdisciplinary background to examine individuals' relationship to anytime, anyplace connectivity using both computational and ethnograpic research approaches. In addition, Mariek works on several other (funded and unfunded) research projects with PhD students and (international) collaborators, such as a project exploring the association between smartphone use and student well-being and a project on the social impact of mobile phones on family life in Liberia. Her work has been published in leading journals in the field of Communication Sciences, such as Communication Theory, Mobile Media & Communication, New Media & Society and Media Psychology. Mariek has received various awards for both her teaching and her research output.