Status: Postdoctoral researcher
Veerle Buffel holds a master degree in Sociology (2012, Ghent University) and has recently graduated as a phd in Sociology (31 May, 2016). The title of her dissertation is “Mental health and mental health care use of the unemployed: A multilevel study into the medicalization of unemployment in Europe”. She has investigated the relations between unemployment, precarious work, mental health and mental health care and medication use, and whether these relations vary across macroeconomic, societal, and institutional contexts. Also the impact of the economic crisis on mental health and health care use of the employed and unemployed is studied.
She is currently working as a postdoctoral researcher on her project financed by BOF. The general aim of her project is to contribute to existing literature by integrating policy research in the domain of medical sociology and the sociology of health and illness. The vast majority of research on labor-market policies and recent policy reforms (increased conditionality of benefits and activation systems) evaluates their impact on labor-market outcomes (such as changes to the duration of unemployment and to re-employment), and rarely explains variations in the relationships between unemployment and health outcomes, as well as, in the perception of and attitudes toward unemployment. Her research aims to take an institutional approach on the relation between employment status, mental health and health care use by focusing on labor market policies and characteristics of the health care system. In addition, attention is paid to gender, age and cohort differences.
Veerle Buffel collaborates with Prof. Dr. Jason Beckfield (dept. Sociology, Harvard University), who specializes in – among others –social inequalities, population health and the institutional theory. In 2014, she won the paper prize of the European Society for Health and Medical Sociology.