Clinical Psychology for Children/Adolescents and Couples/Families

This unit of Clinical Psychology is specialized in theoretical approaches, diagnostics, research and treatments (prevention and psychotherapy) of dysfunctional couple and family relationships and on research and treatments of psychological disorders in children and adolescents.

Among others, one main research interest focuses on the role of everyday stress on couples’ functioning and their way to deal together with daily adversities and life stress (dyadic coping). Spillover effects of stress on relationship satisfaction and functioning (communication processes, sexuality, commitment, parenting etc.) as well as the likelihood for divorce are targeted in cross-sectional, longitudinal and experimental studies. Of special interest are also high-risk groups like dual earning couples, couples becoming parents or clinically distressed couples. Based on many years of basic research, we developed and evaluated a coping-oriented prevention program aiming to enhance relationship quality and stability as well as communication and dyadic coping skills (Couple Coping Enhancement Training, CCET). Based on the concept of dyadic coping also the coping-oriented couple therapy was developed. Randomized-controlled studies evaluating these interventions were conducted with hundreds of couples from community samples and within the context of depression.

Another main research area concerns the association between stress, couple’s functioning and child outcome, where mediation and moderation processes are investigated linking stress, dyadic coping, parenting, parental sensitivity, time for children and children’s well-being as well as dysfunction (conduct problems, emotional disorders).