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Researchers examine the role of work in the development of lifestyle diseases

Industrial psychologist Prof. Dr. Hannes Zacher from the University of Leipzig and his team want to use an interdisciplinary approach to investigate the role of work in the development of lifestyle diseases such as obesity, cardiovascular diseases and depression. So far, work and organizational psychology have neglected this problem, says Zacher. The Volkswagen Foundation supports his project with a "Momentum" grant over the next six years with up to 831.800 euros. In this way, scientists are supported in an early phase after starting their first life professorship in order to give them opportunities to further develop their professorship in terms of content and strategy.

Psychological theories and methods - especially those that focus on work - are currently not sufficiently used with regard to understanding diseases of civilization as a central societal challenge," emphasizes Zacher. Reducing premature mortality from lifestyle diseases by a third by 2030, through prevention and treatment, is one of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The development program he has applied for is intended to contribute to overcoming this major social challenge.

With his concept, Zacher, who conducts research at the Institute of Psychology at the University of Leipzig, is pursuing a transdisciplinary and multidimensional approach that integrates research, teaching and transfer. He wants to achieve five goals by the end of the funding period. First, he will develop theories to better understand connections between the work context and health-related experiences, behaviors and outcomes. Second, he wants to conduct empirical studies that examine these relationships. Third, Zacher will incorporate several innovations into his teaching program, such as flipped classroom methods, to communicate the important role of work in the prevention, occurrence and development of lifestyle diseases and to improve student learning and knowledge transfer into practice .

In addition, he and his team want to develop a new type of system for arranging internships. This is intended to strategically place bachelor's and master's students in companies and public organizations that deal with the topic of work and health. "Fifth, I will strategically invest in public engagement and research transfer activities, for example public lectures, workshops or social media, to communicate the research results of ours and other groups to the public, professionals in organizations and policy makers," reports the 40- year olds.

Its program is in line with the strategic research area "Sustainable Principles for Life and Health" and the associated research profile "Diseases of Civilization" at the University of Leipzig. It aims to better understand the mechanisms that lead to lifestyle diseases and to develop innovative and effective prevention, support and treatment programs.

Further information:
Prof. Dr. Hannes Zacher

Institute of Psychology

Phone: +49 341 97-35932



Source: Press release from the University of Leipzig from June 20.04.2020th, XNUMX


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