Research Interests and Projects

Stability and variability of well-being and loneliness

Most of us believe that our well-being depends on our life circumstances. If we have a good job and lots of friends, we should be happy and definitely not lonely. Research, however, shows that our life circumstances have only temporary effects on our well-being. But why is this the case?

In this research focus, we study how and why well-being and loneliness change over the lifespan. For this purpose, we integrate theories and empirical findings from various psychological disciplines (e.g., developmental psychology, social psychology, personality development). We are particularly interested in the effects of life events on well-being and loneliness as well as in the mechanisms of adaptation to life events.

 

Motivational consequences of life satisfaction

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.

 

The pursuit of happiness

What do lay people view as the main happiness factors, and what do they do in everyday life to influence their well-being? These questions are currently addressed in an interdisciplinary project with philosophers from the University of Cologne funded by the Happiness and Well-Being Project by the Templeton Foundation and St. Louis University.