Research Interests and Projects

In our research, we are interested in the topics happiness/well-being, loneliness and personality: How are these aspects related to other characteristics? How do they develop over the lifespan and how do they develop in relation to life events? On this page, we provide information about our current and completed projects as well as our publications.

Open Science: In our lab, we actively contribute to more transparency and reliability in psychological science. Whenever possible, we preregister our studies and provide open material, open data and reproducible code.

Reserach interests
Overview of our research interests

Current Projects

Loneliness describes the unpleasant feeling that people experience when they feel that their social contacts and relationships are inadequate. The point at which a person feels lonely varies from person to person and depends on individual expectations and needs. Numerous health problems, such as sleep and anxiety disorders, as well as cardiovascular diseases, are linked to the experience of loneliness. For a long time, loneliness was mainly associated with people in old age. However, loneliness can occur at any age, which has become particularly clear during the COVID-19 pandemic. Young adults under the age of 30 in particular appear to have been significantly affected by loneliness during and after the pandemic. Why the effects of the pandemic are so strong in this age group in particular has not yet been sufficiently researched. For this reason, the study Loneliness among young people in NRW after the pandemic: An evaluation, which was requested by the State Chancellery of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), focuses on adolescents and young adults from the federal state of NRW. The study focuses on the following questions:

  • How high is the current proportion of teenagers and young adults in NRW who feel lonely?
  • What risk and protective factors contribute to loneliness among adolescents and young adults in NRW?
  • How do adolescents and young adults in NRW deal with experiences of loneliness and how do they assess the effectiveness of these coping strategies?

In order to answer these questions, data from two independent surveys will be integrated, which represent a representative sample of adolescents and young adults from NRW. Subsequently, the prevalence of loneliness will be estimated, risk and protective factors identified and applied coping strategies explored. The aim is to be able to make concrete recommendations for action to prevent and combat loneliness among adolescents and young adults in NRW.

This study examines how the well-being of young people changes and what the underlying causes of these changes are. The aim is to identify the areas that can be addressed in order to keep the fragile well-being stable during this critical phase of life. Past studies have shown that well-being tends to decline during this life stage. In order to be able to look at these changes appropriately, the happiness study is designed as a longitudinal study. Young people in the eighth grade from the Ruhr region are followed over a period of one year and take part in a total of three surveys, which take place at regular intervals. The various facets of well-being and possible significant causes will be assessed. These quantitative surveys are also preceded by a qualitative study in which the young people report on what makes them happy from their own personal perspective. The resulting data will then be analyzed using various statistical methods in order to draw conclusions about protective and risk factors for the well-being of young people.

With the PER-SENSE study, we explore how personality traits manifest themselves in daily life. To do this, we use smartphones to repeatedly collect data in everyday situations. The PER-SENSE study is conducted online and with the smartphone and lasts a total of 8 days, each with several short questionnaires. In these questionnaires, we ask about everyday activities, behaviors, and feeling. Vouchers with a total value of 500€ will be raffled among the participants of the study. Students of psychology can alternatively receive up to 11.5 research participation hours.

More information on the study (German only): click here.

Completed Projects

With the HYPE-Study (Hypothetical and Experienced Events) we would like to examine how young adults perceive major life events. The HYPE-Study is a longitudinal online-study with three measurement occasions spread over nine months. We are currently looking for young adults who would like to participate in our study.

More information on the study: click here.

The purpose of the study "Studie zur Wahrnehmung von Lebensereignissen" is to examine how major life events like the death of a loved one or the breakup of a romantic relationship are perceived. For this purpose, we are currently looking for participants that expierences one of the following major life events within the last five weeks: death of a loved one, breakup of a romantic relationship, involuntary end of employment, failure to pass an important exam, and end of a close friendship.

More information on the study: click here

The Bochum Berlin Covid-19 longitudinal study has been continuously looking at the personal, social, and societal consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic in Germany since March 2020. Participation in this online study is possible. Participants can receive individual feedback on their personality as well as on changes in their mood and feelings of loneliness over the study period. More information on the study: click here (German only)

The study "What's NEXT? Your life in a new phase" examined the changes and events that young people experience at the beginning of a new phase in their lives (e.g., after leaving school or university) and how their social relationships and personality develop during such times.

Well-being is not just an interesting outcome, but also an important predictor variable. A number of recent studies have shown that well-being is prospectively associated with better health, higher income, career success and better social relationships. A possible explanations for these findings is that these life events are induced by individuals in order to improve their poor life satisfaction. To better understand these processes, we developed a theoretical model of the motivational consequences of life satisfaction, that is currently tested empirically with a grant from the German Science Foundation.

In this project, we investigated how lay people define happiness for themselves and what they do to invest in their happiness in everyday life. Together with philosophers, we worked on an interdisciplinary that was funded by the Happiness and Well-Being Project of the Templeton Foundation and St. Louis University.

The main question of this project was whether the successful pursuit of happiness depends on how people define happiness for themselfes.  Our study results confirmed this question: people who defined happiness in a multifaceted way (i.e., endorsing several definitions of happiness simultaneously) were more successful in achieving a high level of well-being through self-chosen activities in everyday life. On the other hand, people who defined happiness in a unilateral way (i.e., who endorsed only one or few definitions of happiness) reported a lower level of well-being as a result of everyday activities.

If you have any questions or suggestions, please contact the study lead Dr. Julia Krasko.



The following research articles have been produced based on data from the study: