Anna Dekker

Hogeschool Leiden


Anna Dekker MSc became involved with Peer van der Helm’s living group climate research during the bachelor degree program Educational Sciences (University of Amsterdam). After being introduced to forensic youth care when conducting interviews and questionnaires, she opted to follow a master’s program in remedial education. Within the context of a research internship Anna and then fellow student, now colleague, Veronique van Miert set up the work climate research. After graduating in 2012, Anna continued to be involved in the current research projects and since 2013 has been employed at Leiden University of Applied Science. In the context of Sia-Raak ‘Ik ga weer naar school’ (I’m going back to school), Anna coordinates the research into the learning and work climate in schools for special secondary education. In addition, she coordinates different work and living group climate research projects at institutions in the field that are part of our knowledge network and she teaches research methodology Social Sciences and supervises students in the final stage of their degree program.

In her doctoral research, Anna addresses work motivation and motives of staff in high-risk work environments in relation to the work climate research and living group climate research


Staff (social workers) in residential (forensic) (youth) institutions play a key role in creating and upholding an open living group climate in the living group group / department. The duties of these employees (often social workers) however have particularly complex characteristics and are not without safety risks. Taking everything into account it can be said that they work in a high-risk working environment about which not very much is known. For the wellbeing of the individual employees, the functioning of the team and the living group climate it is essential for staff not only to be properly educated but that they have a specific conviction, commitment and intrinsic work motivation. From Anna’s master’s dissertation (2012) it emerged that the factors that motivate staff often lie in the contact with the target group while demotivating factors can be found in the work climate (e.g. perceived leadership, functioning of the team, the physical environment and the quality of the psychological contract with the employer). The objective of the research is to contribute to our knowledge about what works in ‘high risk’ work environments by researching how work motivation (incl. work motives) influenced by the work climate affect the living group climate. Topics include. The thesis will be defended at the VU University of Amsterdam (organisational psychology). Supervisor: Prof. Paul Jansen.
Assistant supervisors: Brian Spisak, Peer van der Helm. Prof. Geert Jan Stams (University of Amsterdam) is also involved in the research because of his rich knowledge in the field of forensic remedial education.


  • De Valk, S., Dekker, A. L., Beld, M. H. M., & Van der Helm, G.H.P. (2015). Is punishment in institutions effective? Forensic Care Festival. Utrecht: Fabrique. 27 January 2015.
  • Van der Helm, G.H.P., Beld, M.H.M., Van Tol, N., Van der Meer, T., Dekker, A.L., & Van Miert, V.S.L.  (2014) Dat zal ze leren. Does punishment help in practice. Annual congress of Association of Universities of Applied Science. Den Bosch: Congress centre Brabanthallen. 17 April 2014.
  • Van der Helm, G.H.P., Beld, M.H.M., Schaftenaar, P., De Swart, J.J.M., Dekker, A.L., & Van Miert, V.S.L. (2014). Psychopathology, learning and rehabilitation in a residential forensic climate: scientific research in progress. XIV Annual Conference of the International Association of Forensic Mental Health Services (IAFMHS). Trauma, violence and recovery: risk and resilience across the lifespan. June 19 th – 22th, 2014. Toronto Sheraton Centre.
  • Van der Helm, G.H.P., Schaftenaar, P., Van der Linden, J., & Dekker, A.L. (2014). New steps towards an open treatment climate. Forensic Care Festival. Utrecht: Fabrique. 28 January 2014. Dekker, A.L., Van Miert, V.S.L., & Blekkink, B. (2012). Workshop Working on an open living group climate, it’s in your own hands! The congress living group climate in Secure Juvenile Institutions. Utrecht. 12 November 2012.