General mental health under extreme stress and trauma

Project: Stress, trauma, and protective factors in rescue workers

Project Team

Project Management
Prof. Dr. Iris-Tatjana Kolassa
Dr. Roberto Rojas

Dipl.-Psych. Alexander Behnke
M.Sc. Sarah Karrasch

Dr. Roberto Rojas

Research topics

The aim of our cooperation with the German Red Cross medical recue service is to investigate the influence of work-related (psychological) stress sources as well as individual resilience and risk factors on the mental and physical health of rescue workers. Investigating cause-effect relationships will allow deriving preventive measures as well as organisational improvement possibilities in order to reduce the employees’ psychological stress and to maintain their ability to work in the long term.

Cooperation network

The project is carried out in cooperation with the following institutions:

  • Universitary Psychotherapeutic Outpatient Clinic (PHSA), Ulm University, Dr. Roberto Rojas
  • German Red Cross (DRK) Medical Rescue Service, Rettungsdienst Heidenheim-Ulm gGmbH, David Richter

Selected Publications

  • Behnke, A., Conrad, D., Kolassa, I.-T., & Rojas, R. (2019). Higher sense of coherence is associated with better mental and physical health in emergency medical services: results from investigations on the revised sense of coherence scale (SOC-R) in rescue workers. European Journal of Psychotraumatology, 10(1), 1606628. [pdf]
  • Behnke, Rojas, Conrad, & Kolassa (under review). Exposure to distressing and critical mission events increases rescue workers’ risk for severe mental and physical stress symptoms: Introducing the Rescue and Emergency Situations Questionnaire (RESQ). Frontiers in Psychology.

  • Gärtner, A., Behnke, A., Conrad, D., Kolassa, I.-T., Rojas, R. (2019). Emotion regulation in rescue workers: Differential relationship with perceived work-related stress and stress-related symptoms. Frontiers in Psychology, 9, e2744. [pdf]