Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Lebenswissen­schaftliche Fakultät - Institut für Psychologie


Overview of research objectives and projects

Occupational Health Psychology


In my research I specialized in Occupational Health Psychology (OHP), which combines the areas of work psychology, health psychology and occupational health. OHP is concerned with psychosocial characteristics of the workplace such as job demands, job control, and the social work environment and their effect on employee health and well-being. Health and well-being variables range from physical health, for example, cardiovascular disease, to mental health such as psychological distress, burnout or depression. Occupational health psychologists also look into how psychosocial work characteristics affect motivational components of employees such as job satisfaction, commitment and work engagement.


Psychosocial work characteristics, job perspectives and well-being among immigrant and low qualified employees


Research in Occupational Health Psychology (OHP) has made great advances in the last three decades. Yet, immigrant and low qualified employees have received little attention. While research in the field of public health provides burgeoning evidence for ethnic health disparities and the need to reach out to this underserved population, occupational health psychologists have hardly addressed immigrant employees as they are difficult to reach and to survey.

My research in this area focuses on (1) developing methodologies that address psychosocial work characteristics and well-being among multiethnic, multilingual, low literacy worker populations, (2) investigating psychosocial working conditions and their relation to employee health and (3) developing and evaluating interventions for reducing exposure to occupational risk factors at work.


MOVE: Spaniards on the move to Germany

Objective: The current youth unemployment rate Spain has reached shocking 40 %. In consequence, Spanish professionals are seeking employment opportunities outside of Spain. In this project with partners from Spain and the US we are exploring the motivation of Spanish professionals for labor migration along with push and pull factors, job expectations, and consequences for psychological and physical well-being.
For further information please visit the project website.

Duration: 2011–2014


EmiG: Europe meets in Germany

Objective:After the recent financial crisis the migration from Southern European countries to Germany has increased. The project EmiG sheds light on the labor market integration and health of Spanish, Italian and Greek professionals in Germany. As potential predictors, different personal and social resources are examined. Furthermore we focus on return intention as a potential outcome of poor labor market integration and health. For further information please visit the project website.

Project head: Dipl.-Psych. Maria Wassermann

Duration: 2014 - 2017


Positive interventions and resources orientation in the work setting


Recent changes in the economic, technological and social organization of work have lead to increasing demands on both organizations and their employees. Employees contribute significantly to the success of the organization, and so, it is important for organizations to enhance their strengths and meet their work-related needs. If an employee has enough resources to deal with the work requirements, s/he can better manage challenges in everyday work.
Since the 1990s, psychology researchers have been investigating the internal and contextual factors that make a person happy or enhance a person’s level of happiness. This field of psychological research, called Positive Psychology, examines factors such as well-being and satisfaction (Seligman, Steen, Park, & Peterson, 2005). It focuses on building personal resources and positive qualities in life. Occupational health psychologists have recently followed this approach in taking a more resource-oriented perspective when studying the effect of work experiences on employee well-being.


ResolUt: Ressourcen, Wohlbefinden und Unterrichtsqualität bei Lehrkräften

Reciprocal and dynamic relationships of teachers’ personal resources, work engagement, and instructional quality: A resource-oriented approach

Objective: In their daily working life, teachers are faced with high demands, which can lead to stress at work. Strengthening personal and work related ressources, may help employees to withstand those stressful situations. The aim of this DFG-funded Project is to investigate the reciprocal relationships between professional knowledge, teacher efficacy, work engagement, and instructional quality among biology and mathematics teachers. By understanding processes that build work engagement and instructional quality, we aim to identify starting points for interventions that develop teachers’ work-related wellbeing and performance. In future, our goal is to conduct a follow-up study that builds teacher efficacy through an online intervention program, that can be easily integrated into the daily work lives of teachers.

For a more detailed description of aims and scope please visit the project website.
Project head: A. Hoppe, Prof. Dr. and E. Lopper, M.Sc.
Main project partners: S.Nitz, Prof. Dr. and M. Milius, M.Ed, Universität Koblenz Landau
Duration: 01.03.2018- 01.03.2020


EngAGE: Entwicklung einer Online-Intervention zur Vermittlung von Arbeitsgestaltungs- und Gesundheitskompetenz bei selbstgestalteten Arbeitsbedingungen

Objective: Our aim in this BMBF funded project is to investigate strain and resources of persons with individualized and self-organized working conditions in order to determine required skills. As a second step tools for effective corporate as well as individual competence management will be developed. Additionally, we are interested in sustainable protection of people’s ability to work, even after a long duration of employment. The department of Work Psychology at the Humboldt University in Berlin is responsible for the design of an online intervention which modules focus on the development of health literacy with respect to personal resources. Main focus concentrates on the development of recovery skills, strengthening professional self-efficacy and self-management through daily micro interventions.

For a more detailed description of aims and scope please visit the project website.

Main project partners: J.Dettmers, Prof., Universität Hamburg, M.Janneck, Prof., Fachhochschule Lübeck, GITTA mbH & GEPRO mbH

Duration: 2014-2017


Happy and engaged at work

Objective: In this project we aim to examine the impact that a short work-related reflection can have on one’s well-being, both in work, and in one’s private life. The project is a collaboration between researchers from five universities across three countries (Germany, Ireland and Canada), and will consist of several studies.
For a more detailed description of aims and scope please visit the project website.

Project partners: A. Michel, PhD, Universität Heidelberg, D. O’Shea, PhD, Limerick University, G. Gonzalez, PhD, Guelph University, A. Steidle, PhD, Universität Stuttgart

Duration: 2010-2012



Objective: The use of emails, text messages, and newsfeeds for work and private purposes has dramatically increased in the last ten years. On the one hand this hinders working continuously on a task during work hours. On the other hand it impairs detaching from work in the eventing or during the week-end.  The Start-up Offtime has developed an Application which enables the user to better control his or her smartphone use. The project aims to investigate how using OFFTIME on a daily basis affects employees' well-being, recovery and work engagement. For further information please visit:

Project team: Alexander Steinhart, Michael Dettbarn, Marc Scharfenberg (OFFTIME)

Duration: 1.1.14 - 31.12.14