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Bianca Suanet is an Associate Professor in Sociology at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. She has a bachelor’s and research master’s in Sociology (with honours/cum laude, obtained in 2007 and 2009 respectively) and received a PhD in Sociology at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam in 2013. She is currently the research manager of the Department of Sociology’s research program “Participation in Society” (PARIS). She also serves as a board member of the Dutch Gerontological Society NVG-KNOWS and the Journal for the Social Sciences Mens en Maatschappij published by the Amsterdam University Press (AUP).
Suanet’s research focuses on the impact of large scale societal changes such as individualization, digitalization, and welfare state changes, on the structures, functions (e.g. social support and care) and consequences (e.g. loneliness and well-being) of social relationships and social networks. In her work she aims to integrate sociological theories on societal changes and individual or dyadic level theories on social relationships. Her work has been published in a wide range of journals in the field of gerontology, sociology, psychology and health sciences, including: Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences, Journal of Marriage and Family, Psychology & Aging, Ageing & Society, European Journal of Ageing, Journal of Social and Personal Relationships and Journal of Aging & Health. Her PhD dissertation entitled “Societal dynamics and older adults social functioning” received the Prof. Dr. Schreuder Prize for the best dissertation in gerontology from the Dutch Gerontological Society in 2015. From 2015 to 2019 Bianca worked on a research project funded through a VENI grant of the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO): “Informal networks and care in a participation society: changes, mechanisms and consequences”. In this project she studied which people are particularly vulnerable in contemporary society in terms of their social networks, social support and informal and formal care use by employing cohort comparative designs. At the current moment, she is involved in a project looking at socio-economic status inequalities in care use (IN-CARE), financed by NWO within the ORA scheme. For much of her work, Bianca uses data from the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam (LASA), a longitudinal and cohort-sequential study with over 30 years of information on the physical, cognitive, social and emotional functioning of Dutch older adults. LASA involves a long-standing cooperation of researchers from various disciplines such as epidemiology, psychology, psychiatry, health sciences and sociology (https://www.lasa-vu.nl) and is based in both the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and Amsterdam University Medical Center, location VU Medical Center. She is the group head of the LASA Social theme group since 2017.