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Psychopathological basic research

This research unit focuses on the study of factors involved in the development and maintenance of mental disorders, in particular unipolar depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. In our projects we investigate cognitive-affective, developmental-psychological as well as social factors using a multi-method approach. Experimental paradigms from basic social and cognitive psychology research are used to investigate emotional and self-regulatory mechanisms in depressive disorders. Our goal is to model the underlying mechanisms of decision difficulties and intuition deficits in depressed people in behavioral experiments. In addition, we investigate the influence of intuitive versus analytical decisions on the well-being and behavior of people "in the field" in online-based longitudinal studies.

In order to investigate the relevance of social factors for the development and maintenance of mental disorders, we use an interdisciplinary approach and derive hypotheses also from sociological theories. One focus lies on the investigation of associations between socio-economic status and negative as well as positive mental health in order to develop a better understanding of social inequality in the prevalence rates of mental disorders. We aim at identifying potential mediating mechanisms by means of cross-sectional and longitudinal studies using samples that are representative for the German adult population. Hypotheses are derived from health sociology as well as sociological theories of society. A second focus lies on the investigation of potential influences of the socio-economic status of patients seeking for psychotherapeutic treatment on treatment processes . In addition to investigating social inequality, the study also analyses relationships between personal values, depression and the efficacy of psychotherapeutic treatment.