Universiteit Leiden

nl en

Juriena de Vries

Assistant Professor

Dr. J.D. de Vries
+31 71 527 2727

Juriena de Vries conducts research on the psychology of physical activity.

More information about Juriena de Vries

Juriena de Vries conducts research on the psychology of physical activity.

Mission and Vision

Research on the psychology of physical activity

Despite the overwhelming evidence that physical activity benefits health, many people are still insufficiently active, which leads to a multitude of lifestyle-related diseases. In her research De Vries takes a psychological perspective on physical activity to better understand why and under which circumstances physical activity leads to favorable psychological outcomes, i.e., increased well-being and better performance. The point of departure is that focusing on achieving these psychological outcomes is more motivating for people to engage in physical activity than health outcomes that are far in the future. Eventually she aims to contribute to the better utilisation of physical activity for individuals who want to become or remain physically active, or for whom it is extra important to engage in sufficient physical activity.

The research of De Vries focuses on three central themes:

  1. Optimising the design of physical activity to predict well-being and performance. In her research, De Vries shows that it matters how physical activity is designed whether it leads to favorable well-being and performance outcomes. The starting point of her work is that physical activity should be designed as a rewarding experience (e.g., related to positive thoughts and emotions) in order to favour well-being and performance. More recently, she has particular interest in the design of physical activity for at-risk populations. Especially individuals who need regular physical activity the most for their health (e.g., people experiencing chronic diseases, who are obese, experience persistent fatigue), find it challenging to engage in sufficient physical activity (Bakker & De Vries, 2021). Paradoxically, individuals who are already physically active a lot (i.e., at work; blue collar workers) are at risk as well, as too demanding physical activity can cause health problems too (see De Vries and Bakker, 2022). To provide better advice and build interventions that are effective for these at-risk populations, we need to improve our understanding how we design physical activity as a rewarding experience for them.
  2. Understanding the link between physical activity on well-being and performance. Despite the well-known benefits of physical activity on well-being and performance, it is rarely integrated into policies, interventions, and therapies for people with impaired well-being (e.g., depressive symptoms) or in high-performing settings (i.e., the workplace). To achieve better integration of physical activity into (clinical) practice and ensure more people benefit from its favorable effects, stronger scientific evidence is needed. In her research, De Vries is therefore interested in temporality (the effect has to occur after the cause; an important aspect of causation) and the psychological mechanisms underlying the effect of physical activity on well-being and performance. She uses both studies in the lab and applied settings to study these questions (e.g., De Vries et al, 2016).
  3. The complex interplay between work and physical activity. A large part of De Vries’ research is focused on physical activity in the workplace and what it can mean for employees. In her work, she has an innovative view on physical activity and combines insights from occupational health psychology, sport and exercise psychology and movement sciences. She is interested in which work aspects are positively influenced by physical activity. For instance, she shows that complex cognitive tasks that mimic work tasks were experienced as less demanding after employees took part in a six-week physical activity intervention (De Vries et al., 2017). On the other hand, based on the ideas that work impacts employees’ self-regulation and stress levels, she also studies which work characteristics predict employees’ physical activity level. As students’ tasks show similarities with those of employees because their tasks are structured, goal-directed and compulsory as well, she also applies the obtained insights to students (see e.g., De Vries et al., 2016).   


De Vries teaches in various courses of the Master specialization Occupational Health and the Master Health Psychology. Furthermore, she supervises bachelor and master theses and coordinates the second-year Psychology Course ‘Stress and Health’.

Short CV

De Vries received my PhD (2017) about ‘exercsie as a remedy against burnout’ at Radboud University Nijmegen. After that, she worked as an Assistant Professor in Work and Organizational Psychology at Erasmus University Rotterdam (2018-2021).

Assistant Professor

  • Faculteit der Sociale Wetenschappen
  • Instituut Psychologie
  • Gezondheids, Medische- Neuropsychologie

Work address

Pieter de la Court
Wassenaarseweg 52
2333 AK Leiden
Room number 2A13



  • No relevant ancillary activities
This website uses cookies.  More information.