Iris Arends has a background in work and organisational psychology and works as a senior researcher on the topic of Work & Mental Health at the Department of Health Sciences, Community and Occupational Medicine, University of Groningen/University Medical Center Groningen. She holds a Ph.D. degree (2013) from the same university. Her research focuses on workplace mental health; i.e., how to maintain and improve mental health at work, how to prevent mental health problems among workers and how to support workers with mental health problems at work.
The past years, she conducted research specifically on young adults’ working lives and mental health. She investigated how young adults’ experience working life, what makes work meaningful to them, the role of work in their lives and how these aspects relate to mental health. Furthermore, she investigated the role of early life psychosocial factors (e.g. adolescent mental health) affecting later working life experiences.
Iris also holds a position as Director of Academic Research at Arbo Unie, one of the largest Occupational Health Services in the Netherlands, catering to over 12.000 employers and covering over 1.25 million workers. Here, she directs research on the topic of Work and Health which is performed by occupational health care professionals, with research degrees, in collaboration with various universities across the Netherlands.
Iris collaborates internationally with researchers from e.g., Denmark, the UK, Canada and the US. She has also worked as a policy analyst for the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, in Paris, evaluating country policies to stimulate the labour market participation of people with mental health problems.