Theo van Tilburg

Short biography
Personal information: Theo van Tilburg (PhD in Social Sciences in 1988) is professor of Sociology and Social Gerontology at the Department of Sociology, academic director of the Graduate School Social Sciences, director of the research program ‘Participation in Society (PARIS): Social Context of Aging’, and board member and senior researcher of the ‘Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam’, an ongoing interdisciplinary study into aspects of aging since 1991.

Research: His research focuses on the social functioning of older adults, in particular the family; the personal network; social support, and informal help and care; and loneliness. These topics are studied from the perspectives of individual change trajectories and societal change across birth cohorts. He also studies interventions to improve one’s social living conditions. Van Tilburg published more than 250 scientific articles, book chapters, professional publications and publications aimed at the general public. His work is widely cited (H = 36 in ISI and 56 in Google Scholar). He supervised PhD theses (twenty completed and seven in progress). He received a five-year fellowship of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (1989), and various large grants from NWO and ZonMw. In that research he collaborates with researchers from various other faculties of Vrije Universiteit (e.g. epidemiology, psychiatry, health sciences) and with researchers from universities of applied sciences (HvA, HAN).

Teaching: He taught various courses, both at the bachelor and master level, and post graduate, and both in sociology and in research methods. Currently he teaches Introduction to sociology: Modern Societies, and a course on multivariate methods.

Academic service: He was multiple times member of the faculty board and served as vice-dean and in the portfolio research and portfolio education. He was external member of the approval panel of a MSc program in the UK. For research he had a variety of functions, such as: associate editor and board member of various international journals; advisor in various research projects; chair of the VENI Selection Committee MaGW; chair of the Open competition Selection Committee MaGW; chair of the Academy of Finland’s review panel Social Sciences; member of the Appeal Committee NWO/ZonMw.

Ancillary activities: He is member of the approval committee Interventions in the domain of Societal Support, Participation and Safety. He is Fellow of the Gerontological Society of America. He advised the national Coalition against loneliness, the municipality of Amsterdam, and the Minister of Health on strategies against loneliness.


Curriculum Vitae
Personal page at NARCIS:
Personal page at Vrije Universiteit:

Personal page at

Personal page at



In the news
Selected reports and interviews – magazines, (national) newspapers, TV (in Dutch flag_nl.gif)

References to all scientific and professional publications
- with abstracts (pdf) and without abstracts (pdf)
- with calculation of citation metrics based on ISI (
- with calculation of citation metrics based on Google Scholar (
- as available in Pure (
Selected scientific publications in PubMed

Supervision of PhD projects
Living arrangements and Social Networks of older adults (Leefvormen en sociale netwerken van ouderen; LSN)
Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam (LASA)
The Social Context of Aging (SoCA)

Loneliness Scale
Manual (updated from the 1999 edition)
Cut-off points for the De Jong Gierveld loneliness scale

Email and phone
email theo.van.tilburg at
phone (+31) 20 598 6870

Mailing address
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Faculty of Social Sciences (
flag_nl.gif Faculteit Sociale Wetenschappen - FSW)
Dept. of Sociology (
flag_nl.gif afdeling Sociologie)
De Boelelaan 1105, NL-1081 HV Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Visiting address
De Boelelaan 1105, Main Building, Room 2A78

Updated: 22-1-2020