The research group “Biopsychological mechanisms of psychotherapeutic interventions” investigates the interactions between psychological and biological mechanisms during effective psychotherapeutic treatment.
We are especially interested in inspecting alterations in various biological systems, such as the HPA axis, the autonomic nervous system or the oxytocin system, as correlates of the development and maintenance of mental disorders, and in further investigating whether these alterations normalise in response to successful psychotherapeutic treatment. Additionally, we are interested if these alterations predict treatment response.
Therefore, we include markers of biological systems (e.g., cortisol, α-amylase, oxytocin) into psychotherapeutic treatment studies by using multi-methodological approaches (saliva-, blood- or hair-based markers). By the parallel investigation of various biological systems, we aim to pursue a multi-dimensional approach in our studies, allowing us to understand the interplay between these systems.
Another focus of our investigations are female sex-related specificities of mental health. For instance, we are addressing the influence of hormones, mood, and stress regulation in different menstrual cycle phases.
Next to empirical studies, we conduct systematic reviews and meta-analyses on the above-mentioned topics.
Head: Dr. Sarah Schumacher
DoktorandInnen: M.Sc. Sinha Engel, M. Sc. Hannah Klusmann, M.Sc. Sebastian Laufer
Engel, S., Laufer, S., Knaevelsrud, C., & Schumacher, S. (2019). The endogenous oxytocin system in depressive disorders: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 101, 138-149. doi:10.1016/j.psyneuen.2018.11.011
Schumacher, S.*, Niemeyer, H.*, Engel, S., Cwik, J.C., Laufer, S., Klusmann, H. & Knaevelsrud, C. (in press). HPA axis regulation in posttraumatic stress disorder: A meta-analysis focusing on potential moderators. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews.
* shared first authorship
Laufer, S., Engel, S., Knaevelsrud, C., & Schumacher, S. (2018). Cortisol and alpha-amylase assessment in psychotherapeutic intervention studies: A systematic review. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, 95, 235-262. doi:10.1016/j.neubiorev.2018.09.023