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General information about the PEZ study

This study explores long-and short-term interactions between personality, genetic and epigenetic factors, environmental conditions and mental health and well-being in children, adolescents and adults. Scientific research has clearly demonstrated that current environmental conditions have a long-term impact on the mental health and well-being, and can permanently change the genetic information. A high importance for mental health in this regard is attributed to the sensitive periods in childhood. In vulnerable people or people with a genetically predisposition experienced stress due to everyday burden or environmental conditions significantly increases the risk for the occurrence of mental illness much later in life. The reasons for these findings are not yet clarified, since the mechanisms of action have proven to be highly complex.

Currently it is discussed that the extent (therefore the amount and intensity) of stressors from the individual everyday-life (commonly referred to as stress) is being reflected in epigenetic changes in the genetic information. Thus, the vulnerability (the probability of the occurrence of mental illness) increases. On the other hand, these stressors (eustress, which means positive stress; and distress, which means negative stress) interact with the personality traits of a person.

The result may be that some people become resilient and others become more vulnerable to certain mental illnesses in the long run. In this context the short-term interactions of mood, movement and whereabouts in everyday life are examined. Previous studies have demonstrated a positive effect of daily physical activity on mood. Equally, there are studies that show a relationship between the current location and mood. However, it remains unclear which environmental parameters (e.g. noise, population density, vegetation) produce these effects. The recording of the whereabouts of the participants allow us to calculate the corresponding environmental parameters and lead us forward to explain this important effect on mood.

Zentralinstitut für Seelische Gesundheit (ZI) - https://www.zi-mannheim.de