Health Psychology and Behavioural Medicine

Group leader
Sonia Slippke
Health Psychology and Behavioral Medicine
Specific themes and goals

Sonia Lippke and her group engage in self-regulation research and patient safety focusing on self-efficacy, motivation, behavior, loneliness, and communication. They have published on a wide range of health-related research topics, such as prevention and rehabilitation, long-COVID and aging, e-health, and co-creation. The results have received a great deal of interest in terms of citations, media response and invitations to give presentations and workshops. A core goal of research in Health Psychology and Behavioural Medicine is to help people cope with crises such as the Covid pandemic, mobilize professional and social support, and help people to age healthily. We are using the lessons learned to assist rehabilitation patients. 

We produced a brochure outlining key results and achievements in the BICC project, which we completed in 2021. We also contributed to a science truck to disseminate findings and contribute to the Bundesteilhabebericht and the Altenbericht by the German Government. Our research was disseminated to different target groups such as the general public at the Vegesacker Bürgerhaus and the Haus der Wissenschaften in Bremen City, experts such as peers and medical doctors (Ärztefortbildungen) besides colleagues at regular scientific conferences, online and in person.

Highlights and impact

Besides the research projects in which we work on the planned milestones, deliverables and publications, we have talented students illuminating psychological processes in different contexts.

  • Two Masters theses provided evidence on how to design prevention and treatments — in the school setting to prevent absenteeism and in medical rehabilitation: School Absenteeism from a Multiprofessional Perspective. A qualitative account of perceptions, intervention options, and the subjectively perceived influences of the corona pandemic on school absenteeism. Christin Hensel (MSc in Psy, 2022) and Group Therapy Sessions in the Age of COVID-19: A Mixed-Method Study on Digital Group Therapy Offers in Medical Rehabilitation. Florence Maggs (MSc in Psy, 2022).
  • In addition, many bachelor students researched societally relevant aspects. In one study “Associations of sleep deprivation and mental health among undergraduate students.” (Edin Isljami, BA in Psy, 2022), we concluded that some Constructor University students only sleep four hours per night, but most students sleep recommended hours. Another study — “A study of the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic on the physical and mental health of the population in Germany versus China” (Octavian Tropin, BSc in BCCB, minor in Psychology, 2022) — suggest different Covid-pandemic outcomes in China and Germany. Moreover, a previous graduate published her bachelor thesis in a peer reviewed journal with us.
  • We also had a number of findings from doctoral theses. For example, one thesis found that physical activity intervention is effective in helping older people to remain and become sufficiently active. Another project determined that patient safety could be measured by a questionnaire and that rehab patients were more satisfied with healthcare communication than the general population. Many people from the general population did not feel sufficiently catered for and understood by healthcare professionals during the pandemic. 
  • Also, Prof. Lippke is the past president of Div. 8: Health Psychology/ Int. Association of Applied Psychology and is co-editing a special issue (Loneliness and health: Understanding and overcoming challenges in times of crisis and beyond; in AP:HW 2023).
Group composition & projects/funding

Our research group consists of four guest-researchers (Postdocs), six PhD students, and one student intern. Our research is currently supported by the DFG and the EU (Marie Skłodowska Curie Innovative Training Networks project funded by the European Union, H2020 MSCA ITN), and was funded during the last years also by the Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF), the Bundesministerium für Gesundheit (BMG) and Bayrischen Staatsministerium für Gesundheit und Pflege.

Selected publications
  • Lippke, S., & Derksen, C. (2023). Gesundheitskompetenz lehren und lernen: Trainingsprogramm für Sozial-und Gesundheitsberufe [Teaching and learning health literacy: training program for social and health professions]. Hogrefe AG. 
  • Lippke, S., & Warner, L. M. (2023). Understanding and overcoming challenges in times of personal or global crisis – Editorial on the Special Issue on Loneliness and Health. Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being, 15(1), 3-23. 
  • Keller, F. M., Derksen, C., Kötting, L., Dahmen, A., & Lippke, S. (2023). Distress, loneliness, and mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic: Test of the extension of the Evolutionary Theory of Loneliness. Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being, 15(1), 24-48. 
  • Rinn, R., Gao, L., Schoeneich, S., Dahmen, A., Anand Kumar, V., Becker, P., & Lippke, S. (2023). Digital Interventions for Treating Post-COVID or Long-COVID Symptoms: Scoping Review. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 25, e45711.