Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Faculty of Life Sciences - Department of Psychology

Occupational Health Psychology

About the field of Occupational Health Psychology

Occupational Health Psychology (OHP) is a subfield of work psychology. Work psychology deals with the analysis, evaluation and design of work activities. The aim is to design work in such a way that it maintains the health and performance of employees and opens up opportunities for learning and development.

OHP 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.

Within the framework of OHP we currently pursue the following research topics:

  • Workplace interventions

    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.


    Selected key publications:

    Clauß, E., Hoppe, A., O'Shea, D., Gonzales-Morales, G., Steidle, A. & Michel, A. (2018). Promoting Personal Resources and Reducing Exhaustion through Positive Work Reflection among Caregivers. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 23(1), 127 - 140. Doi: 10.1037/ocp000006310.1037

    Hoppe, A. & Michel, A. (2021). Positive Interventionen im Arbeitskontext: Positives Denken, positive kognitive Umbewertung, Genießen und Dankbarkeit. In: A. Michel & A. Hoppe (Hrsg.) Handbuch Gesundheitsförderung bei der Arbeit. Springer: Berlin.

    Lennefer, T., Reis, D., Lopper, E., & Hoppe, A. (2020). A step away from impaired well-being: a latent growth curve analysis of an intervention with activity trackers among employees. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 1–14,

    Michel & A. Hoppe (Hrsg.) Handbuch Gesundheitsförderung bei der Arbeit: Interventionen für Individuen, Teams und Organisationen. Springer: Berlin.

  • 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.


    Our 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.


    Selected Key Publications:

    Hoppe, A., Toker, S., Schachler, V., & Ziegler, M. (2017). The effect of change in supervisor support and job control on change in vigor: Differential relationships for immigrant and native employees in Israel. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 38 (3), 391-414.

    Hoppe, A., Fujishiro, K., & Heaney, C. (2014). Workplace racial/ethnic similarity, job satisfaction and lumbar back health among warehouse workers: Asymmetric reactions across racial/ethnic groups. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 35, 172-193.

    Hoppe, A. (2011). Psychosocial working conditions and well-being among immigrant and German low wage workers. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 16 (2), 187-201.

  • New forms of work

    Advancements in technology and societal changes have always effected the way we work. From an occupational health psychology perspective we are interested in several research questions: What changes in the way we work can we observe? What consequences for workers’ health and well-being can we expect? How can we explain these effects on health and well-being? How can we prevent negative health consequences and foster positive aspects of news ways of working?Currently we are working on several empirical studies addressing these questions. We are investigating the health consequences of extended availability for work, the health consequences of workplace tele pressure, or the effects on health and well-being of non-regular (atypical) work arrangements.


    Selected key publications:

    Janneck, M. & Hoppe, A. (Hrsg.) (2017). Gestaltungskompetenzen für gesundes Arbeiten: Arbeitsgestaltung im Zeitalter der Digitalisierung. Berlin: Springer

    Hoppe, A., Roswag, M., & Lehr, D. (2021). Digitale Interventionen in der betrieblichen Gesundheitsförderung. In: A. Michel & A. Hoppe (Hrsg.) Handbuch Gesundheitsförderung bei der Arbeit. Springer: Berlin.


Informationen on current research projects can be found here.


Information on courses in work psychology in the bachelor's and master's degree program in psychology can be found here.