In this website you will find more information about current research and publications of Michel Walrave, professor at the Department of Communication Studies of the University of Antwerp. 

Since the nineties, Michel Walrave conducts research that centers around one central theme: 

(online) self-disclosure and privacy.

His research concentrates on individuals’ self-disclosure and privacy in interpersonal online communication, particularly on social network sites. Together with his colleagues, he investigates individuals’ motives of online self-disclosure, but also related opportunities (e.g. in terms of social capital) and risks (e.g. misuse of personal data, cyberbullying). Moreover, how intimate, and sometimes sensitive, disclosures (e.g. sexting) and their consequences can be understood, is one of the topics of his research. 

Besides, he investigates and collaborates in projects on the reasons why internet users entrust personal data to businesses and how consumers deal with new forms of interactive marketing. He focusses on how young people respond to hybrid forms of online marketing that integrate marketing and entertainment and often use or induce personal data disclosures (e.g. advergames, social media marketing). 

Michel Walrave is responsible for the research group MIOS. At the University of Antwerp, he teaches two courses on marketing communications (Advertising, Sponsoring & PR; Direct Marketing & e-Marketing) and one course on public and social profit communication.

He is also involved in several national and international research networks, amongst others, the Flemish Knowledge Center on Media Literacy, the Healthnar network and the World Internet Project. For the Internet Rights Observatory he collaborated in drafting an advice and book on cyberbullying and one book on minors and online marketing. He is an associate editor of Cyberpsychology and served as a guest-editor of a special issue on privacy. 

Michel Walrave holds a master's degree in Communication Studies, a master in Media and Information Sciences and a PhD in Social Sciences (KU Leuven).

Hereafter you'll find more information about recent publications. In this website, also more information about other publications and current research projects, can be consulted.

For information about the research group MIOS, please check our team's website

Featured publications:

Online marketing: 

Like or dislike? Adolescents’ responses to personalized social network site advertising​.

Michel Walrave, Karolien Poels, Marjolijn L. Antheunis , Evert Van den Broeck, Guda van Noort

Increasingly, personal data posted by users of social network sites (SNSs) can be used to personalize advertising. The present study investigates how adolescents respond to personalized ads in terms of attitude toward the ad, brand engagement and intention to forward, and whether privacy concerns moderate their responses.

According to pretest results, a medium level of personalization was expected to be optimal in terms of advertising effectiveness. A within-subjects experiment involving 40 participants aged 14–18 years was performed. Three conditions of personalized advertising were designed with, respectively, low, medium, and high levels of personalization.

The study found that the highest personalization condition generated the most positive response and that privacy concerns did not moderate the effects of personalization. The privacy paradox is discussed as an alternative explanation, along with other implications of the results.

Check the article online or you can send an e-mail for more information.

Interpersonal communication:

Whether or not to engage in sexting: Explaining adolescent sexting behaviour by applying the prototype willingness model.

Michel Walrave , Koen Ponnet, Joris Van Ouytsel, Ellen Van Gool, Wannes Heirman, Anouk Verbeek

Sexting has received increasing scholarly and media attention. Especially, minors’ engagement in this behaviour is a source of concern. As adolescents are highly sensitive about their image among peers and prone to peer influence, the present study implemented the prototype willingness model in order to assess how perceptions of peers engaging in sexting possibly influence adolescents’ willingness to send sexting messages.

A survey was conducted among 217 15- to 19-year-olds. A total of 18% of respondents had engaged in sexting in the 2 months preceding the study. Analyses further revealed that the subjective norm was the strongest predictor of sexting intention, followed by behavioural willingness and attitude towards sexting. Additionally, the more favourable young people evaluated the prototype of a person engaging in sexting and the higher they assessed their similarity with this prototype, the more they were willing to send sexting messages. Differences were also found based on gender, relationship status and need for popularity.

Check the article online or you can send an e-mail for more information.

Online safety:

Mediawijs Online. Jongeren en sociale media.

Michel Walrave and Joris Van Ouytsel co-authored a book for parents, teachers and other adults involved in the education of young people.

This book includes a review of the scientific knowledge on several online behaviours and related opportunities and risks (self-disclosure, privacy, sexting, cyberbullying, online marketing, ...). 

Each chapter ends with concrete advice for parents, teachers and young people. The book is published in Dutch. 

Please send an e-mail for more information or you can check the following website (in Dutch). 

More information on other publications