Dr. Liesbeth Mercken



In September 2004, Liesbeth started her PhD project at the department of Health Promotion, Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences as Maastricht University. Four years later she moved to Wales and worked as a research associate for the Cardiff Institute of Society, Health, and Ethics, part of the Faculty of Social Sciences, Cardiff University. November 20th 2009 she defended her PhD Cum Laude and in 2012 she received a VENI grant from the Dutch Organization for Scientific Research.

Research interest

During her PhD project she studied social influence (where individuals adapt their behavior to that of their friends) and selection processes (where individuals choose and change friends, in part because of the behavior of themselves and their peers) in the context of smoking behavior among adolescents.
In her current research supported by the Dutch Organization for Scientific Research, she is applying social network methodology to a broader field of health behaviors and focuses on a variety of multilevel network contexts adolescents can belong to or be influenced by.

Since 2010 she collaborates closely with University of Arizona and Mayo Clinic Phoenix on the NIH funded KIQNIC project (Knowledge Integration in Quitlines: Networks that Improve Cessation) and NATOCAP project (Networks Among Tribal Organizations for Clean Air Policies). KIQNIC is designed to better understand network and communication mechanisms by which stakeholders in an existing and well-defined tobacco control network - the North American Quitline Consortium (NAQC) – interact, share new knowledge, make decisions, and adopt evidence-based practices to improve quitline outcomes. NATOCAP focuses on network ties between tribal organizations in Navajo Nation that work intensively to get clean air policies implemented in their sovereign nation. For both projects she is the lead on longitudinal network analyses.