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"Empowered for your Doctoral Studies" - Intervention Study

The stress management seminar "Empowered for your Doctoral Studies" is accompanied by a randomized intervention study to scientifically evaluate its long-term effect on doctoral researchers. Studies to date show that the long-term effects of stress management programs and their transferability to the everyday lives of doctoral researchers have been insufficiently studied.

Our goal is to implement a stress management program for doctoral researchers at the University of Bonn in the long-term. In addition, the results will be incorporated into the further development of the stress management seminar in line with requirements. Thus, the study represents an important contribution to the further development and implementation of targeted support programs for doctoral researchers within the framework of university health management at the University of Bonn.

As a doctoral researcher at the University of Bonn, we need your support! Contribute to the development of a healthy environment for doctoral researchers at the University of Bonn.

Doctoral researchers are an important target group in the university setting. In view of their established academic qualifications, doctoral researchers can be important decision-makers in society and can thus be regarded as significant multipliers of health-oriented measures (Allgöwer, 2002).

The work environment of doctoral researchers is associated with different challenges and crises in the various phases of a doctorate. In addition to the classic stress factors of the work environment, such as deadline and performance pressure, multitasking, and lack of opportunities to recover (BAuA, 2012), doctoral researchers are confronted with additional stress-producing demands. These include potential stress factors such as professional and time-related aspects as well as multiple stressors due to, for example, the compatibility of doctoral studies and work and/or family or an uncertain funding situation.

The present preventive stress management program for doctoral researchers is intended to serve as an orientation aid in the doctoral phase through its target group-specific conception, and to strengthen doctoral researchers in a healthy and productive handling of potential stress factors in the work environment and in everyday life. In previous intervention approaches of stress management programs, effects such as long-term impact and transferability into everyday life for the target group of doctoral researchers have not been sufficiently investigated (Kaluza & Chevalier, 2018).

The present study examines the long-term effectiveness of the specially developed stress management program for doctoral researchers. Thus, the developed program shall be evaluated and adapted, further developed and optimized according to the needs of the target group. Furthermore, the seminar for doctoral researchers is to be implemented at the University of Bonn in the long term. In addition, it is planned that the results will be published in international journals.

To assess the effect of the stress management program, the subjective stress load is recorded on the one hand using established psychological questionnaires. On the other hand, the influence on the heart rate variability as a parameter for the objective stress load is examined by means of a stress level analysis.

Study Design

© Hannah Shepherd
  • Registration for the seminar and the study
  • Randomization + information about belonging to the intervention or control group
  • Registration for test days

You will receive the registration for the respective test days by e-mail after your registration for the seminar and the study.

The intervention group participates in the seminar and in all three tests/measurement time points. The seminar starts after the pre-test.
The control groups also participate in all three tests/measurement points and can also attend the seminar after the end of the study (after the follow-up).

  • Execution of the pre-test: two weeks before the start of the seminar
  • Implementation of post-test: two weeks after the end of the seminar
  • Implementation follow-up: approx. 3 months after the end of the seminar

The measurements consist of answering several questionnaires, which are filled out at home (duration: approx. 45 min) and a stress level analysis, which is carried out on site (duration: approx. 30 min).

After completion of the follow-up measurement, all participants receive an expense allowance of 50 €. 

Control group
The seminar dates will start in October. Further information will follow shortly.

Target Group

Doctoral Researchers of the  University of Bonn

Project Management

Charlotte Henschen
Dr. Manuela Preuß


Information about the seminar dates can be found here.


German & English


Stesslevel analysis:
Nachtigallenweg 86
53127 Bonn-Venusberg

In advance online from home


50 € after successful participation in the study

Frequently Asked Questions

The requirement for participation in the study and seminar is a doctoral degree at the University of Bonn. The employment status is not relevant.

Exclusion criteria for study participation are

  • Mental illness (e.g. clinical depression)
  • Diagnosed cardiac rhythm disorders
  • Participation in stress management programs within one year prior to the start of this study

All participants will be informed in detail in a personal briefing about the aims, implementation and possible risks of the study. Written consent to participate in the study will also be obtained from each participant.

  • Strictly pseudonymized storage of data
  • No passing on of personal data of the test persons
  • Confidentiality of all project staff

The collection and evaluation of data is carried out in accordance with the regulations of the Data Protection Act.

Participation in the study is voluntary. Participation can be withdrawn at any time without giving reasons.

Allgöwer, A. (2002). Gesundheitsförderung an der Universität. VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften.

BAuA. (2012). Stressreport Deutschland 2012: Psychische Anforderungen, Ressourcen und Befinden (Stressreport Deutschland). Dortmund. Bundesanstalt für Arbeitsschutz und Arbeitsmedizin.

Kaluza, G. & Chevalier, A. (2018). Stressbewältigungstrainings für Erwachsene. In R. Fuchs & M. Geber (Hrsg.), Handbuch Stressregulation und Sport (S. 143–162). Springer.

You can find information about the seminar and the dates here.

Your Contact Person

Avatar Henschen

Charlotte Henschen


Coordination Gesund studieren

+49 228 73-68773

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