Research goals of the study

What do we want to find out with your help?

The PIER-Project examines different, relatively common problems of childhood and adolescence and their risk factors in more detail. So far, little is known about the factors that contribute to a negative or positive development of a child.

The PIER-Project includes/covers three areas of development problems:

1. Learning and achievement-related problems and disabilities 

( e.g. dyslexia or dyscalculia)

2. Internalizing and externalizing psychological disorders 

(e.g. aggressive behavior or depressive symptoms)

3. Eating and weight related problems

(For example) the following research questions will be answered:

  • Are the examined risk and protective factors specific to a single problem area?
  • Do these risk and protective factors unfold a particular effect at certain times over the course of development?
  • Do different risk factors and problem areas interact with each other?

Based on the results of our study we hope to identify development problems and high-risk groups early on, in order to plan measures for mental health promotion and prevention.

To achieve these goals, cross-sectional data collection is not sufficient. Rather, it is necessary to collect data at certain intervals in order to map changes in the development of children and adolescents.

Who participates in the PIER-Project? 

To find answers to our research questions, two large groups of children and adolescents from Potsdam and the surrounding area were recruited for the PIER-Project. The first group of about 2000 older children and adolescents is being examined for the fifth time since 2005 and is now 13 to 23 years old (as of 2016). The second group of about 1500 younger children has participated three times since spring 2012 and is currently attending grades 5-7.


Short profile of the older children and adolescents

Short profile of the older children and adolescents participating since 2005

younger children

Short profile of the younger children

Short profile of the younger children participating since 2012

Thanks to these two groups of children and adolescents, who were selected with similar criteria in mind, we are able to compare different birth cohorts. The first contact to children and parents was mediated by the participating kindergartens and schools. Afterwards the the family were contacted directly.