Current Projects


COACH - Chronic Conditions in Adolescents: Implementation and Evaluation of Patient-centered Collaborative Healthcare

Supported by the BMBFLeader: Prof. Dr. Petra Warschburger Research: M. Sc. Friederike Buchallik, M. Sc. Roman von RezoriTimeline: October 2017 - September 2021

Chronic diseases come along with specific demands in everyday life. Furthermore, having a chronic disease increases the risk of psychological distress and may reduce the health-related quality of life. Chronically ill adolescents and young adults face additional challenges, because they also have to cope with age-related developmental tasks that are not always compatible with their disease, e.g., acceptance of their own body, identity development and preparation for work and family life.

Together with our colleagues from different German research groups (see below), our team at the University of Potsdam addresses resources and adaptation processes in chronically ill adolescents and young adults (diabetes, juvenile arthritis, cystic fibrosis). Following Resilience-in-Illness models and in line with the research goals of the overall project, the aim of this study is to examine adaptive developments in order to sustainably improve the treatment of this group of patients. For this purpose, we investigate the interaction between intrapersonal resilience factors and coping strategies and their influence on individual psychosocial adaptive behavior of chronically ill adolescents. The main research question focuses on the extent to which this reciprocal relation can influence coping behavior (beyond general and disease specific factors) and whether potential high-risk-groups can be identified. In this way, we intend to achieve a deeper understanding of adaptive and potentially changeable processes in this sensitive developmental stage in order to develop and tailor interventions for adolescents with chronic diseases.

Cooperation partners:
Ulm University
Universität Düsseldorf
Charité Berlin
German Rheumatism Research Center Berlin

Fachklinik Sylt
CJD Fachklinik für Kinder und Jugendliche Garz/Rügen
Fachklinikum Borkum
Median Kinder- und Jugendklinik Beelitz
Kinderfachklinik Bad Sassendorf
Evangelische Fachklinik Sonnenhöhe, Bad Elster
Spessart-Klinik, Bad Orb
Edelsteinklinik, Bruchweiler
Rehaklinik Mosbach
Rehabilitationsklinik Katharinenhöhe, Schönwald
Fachkliniken Wangen
Ostseeklinik Boltenhagen
Mutter-Kind-Klinik "Huus achtern Diek", Norden - Norddeich
SPZ St. Marien Hospital Düren
SPZ Kinderkrankenhaus St. Marien
SPZ Steglitz Zehlendorf
Klinikum Westbrandenburg, Potsdam


NutriAct - Psychological basis of food choice and the role of the family

Supported by BMBF
Leader: Prof. Dr. Petra Warschburger
Research: M. Sc. Ulrike Ruzanska
Timeline: Juni 2015 - Juni 2018

It is shown that the adults' diet strongly influences the disease risk later in life. However, the eating habits in people 50-70 years of age are often not optimal in respect to food choice, food preferences and eating behaviors. There still seems to be many obstacles preventing subjects to choose foods that as a whole and in combination with other healthy life style behaviors are the key measures to experience active and healthy aging. Yet little is known about the main factors involved in ordinary eating habits, especially in older people. In this project, we will investigate the cultural, familial and individual factors that influence food choice in adults. We will collect data from study participants of the EPIC-Potsdam study and their family members (n = 5,000), examining e.g. different facets of eating behavior or readiness to change. Furthermore, we will invite a small sample (n = 80) for further psychological testing, examining e.g. cognitive and self-control abilities. In the long run, this project will provide a better understanding of eating habits and develop the fundamentals for developing strategies for improved food choices in the adult population.




"Stop the pain" - A multicenter, randomized-controlled study of a cognitive-behavioral intervention for children with functional abdominal pain

Sponsored by DFG (WA 1143/9-1)
Leader: Prof. Dr. Petra Warschburger
Research: Dr. phil. Dipl.-Psych. Claudia Calvano, Jana Böhnke (Kaminski)
Timeline: October 2013 - December 2018

Functional abdominal pain (FAP) is not only a highly prevalent disease but also poses a considerable burden on the children and their families. Untreated, FAP is highly persistent also leading to increased risk of functional gastrointestinal and psychiatric disorders in adulthood. First results show that psychosocial factors play a significant role in symptom maintenance. Intervention studies underscore the efficacy of cognitive-behavioral treatment approaches but are limited in terms of sample size, long-term follow-up data, comparison groups and inclusion of psychosocial outcome data. This study „Stop the pain - A multicenter, randomized-controlled study of a cognitive-behavioral intervention for children with functional abdominal pain“intends to contribute to fill the above-mentioned research gaps. Previously we could already show that a cognitive-behavioral training program is effective compared to a waiting list control group. In total, 112 children aged 7-12 years who fulfill the Rome-III criteria for FAP are allocated to one of two training programs which differ in content. These groups will be compared with respect to the frequency and intensity of abdominal pain, quality of life and psychosocial well-being at four points of measurement: pre intervention, post intervention as well as 3- and 12 months post intervention. That way, long-term effects can be analyzed and compared.