During the last decades, the epidemiological research has given indications that mental diseases can be related to socio-economic, as well as to environmental risk factors. In cooperation between the newly founded Psychiatric-Epidemiological Centrum (PEZ) at the Central Institute of Mental Health in Mannheim, the GIScience Research Group (Heidelberg University) and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT; Germany) an ongoing longitudinal study investigates the interaction between individual-related factors, environmental factors as well as the well-being and mental health. The aim is to reveal the impact of environmental driven stress on epigenetics.
The GIScience Research Group is responsible for the work package “PsychoGeography” in which we collect and process spatial data from various sources (private, public, crowdsourced) to establish a solid database for the Rhine-Neckar region, Heidelberg, Mannheim and Ludwigshafen in southern Germany. The overall project aim is to address the relationship between mental stress and urban characteristics. Therefore, study participants report their mood and well-being by using a smartphone app which also obtains the time and location of the participant. Ongoing research investigates if the timing of the smartphone questionnaire can be improved by incorporating environmental parameters.
With the topic “Stadtmensch gleich Stressmensch?” the German television channel hr-fernsehen report from the project in the show “Alles Wissen” (in German only).