Alexander Behnke, PhD, Dipl.-Psych.

Alexander Behnke studied psychology as well as industrial engineering and management at the Technische Universität Dresden (TUD) from 2008 to 2015. From 2014 to 2015 he studied Italian at the Ca'Foscari Università Venezia (Italy). Since 2010 he was student research assistant at the TUD Department of Personality and Individual Differences (Prof. Alexander Strobel). From October 2012 to February 2013 he completed an internship at the Institute for Work and Health (IAG) of the German Social Accident Insurance (DGUV).
From 2009 to 2015 he was awarded with a scholarship of the German National Academic Scholarship Foundation. In December 2015, Alexander Behnke became a member of the TUD Department of Personality and Individual Differences, and in July 2016, he joined the Department of Clinical and Biological Psychology at Ulm University.
Supported by a doctoral scholarship from the German National Academic Scholarship Foundation, he dedicated his dissertation to the psychotraumatic stress of Emergency Medical Services personnel. He was awarded his PhD (Dr. rer. nat.) in May 2021.


Alexander Behnke

Alexander Behnke
☎ +49-(0)731/50 26597 (currently not available)
℻ +49-(0)731/50 26599
Π 47.2.409

Consultation hours
on appointment

Research Interests

  • Influence of traumatic stress and stressful childhood experiences on cell biology and immunological markers in the context of trauma-spectrum disorder aetiology
  • Occupational trauma in the Emergency Medical Services
  • Emotion regulation in the aetiology of trauma-spectrum disorders

Third-party funding / Awards

  • 01/22–12/22: Cell-metabolic alterations in posttraumatic stress disorder: Alteration in mitochondrial bioenergetics and their reversibility through psychotherapy (10,000 EUR start-up funding, Professional Graduate and Training Center Ulm, ProTrainU)
  • 02/20: Travel Award of the German-speaking Society for Psychotraumatology (DeGPT)
  • 04/17–04/10: Doctoral Scholarship of the German National Academic Scholarship Foundation
  • 02/09–09/15: Study Scholarship of the German National Academic Scholarship Foundation


Behnke, A., Gumpp, A. M., Rojas, R., Sänger, T., Lutz-Bonengel, S., Moser, D. A., Krumbholz, A., & Kolassa, I.-T. (in press). Circulating inflammatory markers, cell-free mitochondrial DNA, cortisol, endocannabinoids, and N-acylethanolamines in female depressed outpatients. The World Journal of Biological Psychiatry. doi: 10.1080/15622975.2022.2070666

Varadarajan, S., Behnke, A., Gumpp, A. M., Mavioglu, R. N., Fissler, P., & Kolassa, I.-T. (2022). An integrative view on the biopsychology of stress and posttraumatic stress disorder. In U. Schnyder & M. Cloitre (Eds.), Evidence Based Treatments for Trauma-Related Psychological Disorders (2nd ed.). Cham, Switzerland: Springer.

Gumpp, A. M., Behnke, A., Ramo-Fernández, L., Radermacher, P., Gündel, H., Ziegenhain, U., … Kolassa, I.-T. (2022). Investigating mitochondrial bioenergetics in peripheral blood mononuclear cells of women with childhood maltreatment from post-parturition period to one-year follow-up. Psychological Medicine, 1-12. doi: 10.1017/S0033291722000411

Rojas, R., Hickmann, M., Wolff, S., Kolassa, I.-T., & Behnke, A. (2022). Coping in the Emergency Medical Services: Associations with the personnel’s stress, self-efficacy, job satisfaction, and health. Clinical Psychology in Europe, 4(1), e6133. doi: 10.32872/cpe.6133

Rojas, R., Behnke, A., & Hautzinger, M. (2021). Stress events and changes in dysfunctional attitudes and automatic thoughts following recovery from depression in inpatient psychotherapy: Mediation analyses with longitudinal data. Cognitive Therapy and Research. doi: 10.1007/s10608-021-10280-y

Mavioglu, R. N., Mack, M., Behnke, A., & Kolassa, I. (2021, November 30). Oxygen - Mitochondrial fuel as a missing link in depressive pathophysiology. Retrieved from

Mischler, C., Hofmann, A., Behnke, A., Matits, L., Lehnung, M., Varadarajan, S., … Tumani, V. (2021). Therapists’ experiences with the effectiveness and feasibility of videoconference-based eye movement desensitization and reprocessing. Frontiers in Psychology, 12, 748712. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.748712

Behnke, A. (2021). Psychotraumatic Stress Among Emergency Medical Services Personnel: Its Psychological and Biological Correlates and Implications for Health Management (Doctoral Dissertation). Ulm University, Ulm, Germany. doi: 10.18725/OPARU-38418

Behnke, A., Gumpp, A. M., Krumbholz, A., Bach, A. M., Schelling, G., Kolassa, I.-T., & Rojas, R. (2021). Hair-based biomarkers in women with major depressive disorder: Glucocorticoids, endocannabinoids, N-acylethanolamines, and testosterone. Comprehensive Psychoneuroendocrinology, 7, 100068. doi: 10.1016/j.cpnec.2021.100068
Gumpp, A. M., Behnke, A., Bach, A. M., Piller, S., Boeck, C., Rojas, R., & Kolassa, I.-T. (2021). Mitochondrial bioenergetics in leukocytes and oxidative stress in blood serum of mild to moderately depressed women. Mitochondrion, 58, 14–23. doi: 10.1016/j.mito.2020.12.009

Behnke, A., Rojas, R., & Kolassa, I.-T. (2021). Stressbelastungen im Rettungsdienst: Widerstandsfähigkeit und Anfälligkeit für berufsbedingte Psychotraumata. NeuroTransmitter, 32(3), 36–41. doi: 10.1007/s15016-021-9072-2

Behnke, A., Rojas, R., & Gärtner, A. (2021). Emotionsregulation im Rettungsdienst: Zusammenhänge mit beruflichem Stress, Belastungssymptomatik und Arbeitszufriedenheit von Beschäftigten im Rettungsdienst. Prävention Und Gesundheitsförderung, 16(3), 188–192. doi: 10.1007/s11553-021-00836-x

Behnke, A., Karabatsiakis, A., Krumbholz, A., Karrasch, S., Schelling, G., Kolassa, I.-T., & Rojas, R. (2020). Associating Emergency Medical Services personnel’s workload, trauma exposure, and health with the cortisol, endocannabinoid, and N-acylethanolamine concentrations in their hair. Scientific Reports, 10(1), 22403. doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-79859-x

Gumpp, A. M., Boeck, C., Behnke, A., Bach, A. M., Ramo-Fernández, L., Welz, T., … Karabatsiakis, A. (2020). Childhood maltreatment is associated with changes in mitochondrial bioenergetics in maternal, but not in neonatal immune cells. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 117(40), 24778–24784. doi: 10.1073/pnas.2005885117

Karrasch, S., Hitzler, M., Behnke, A., Tumani, V., Kolassa, I.-T., & Rojas, R. (2020). Chronic and traumatic stress among Emergency Medical Services personnel: A narrative review on vulnerability factors, resilience, and intervention. Zeitschrift für Klinische Psychologie und Psychotherapie, 49(4), 204–217. doi: 10.1026/1616-3443/a000600

Behnke*, A., Armbruster*, D., & Strobel, A. (2020). The needs of the many: Influence of personality on third-party judgments of utilitarian rule violations [Preprint]. PsyArXiv. doi: 10.31234/

Zeller, A. C., Conrad, D., Schneider, A., Behnke, A., Pfeiffer, A., Blum, G. F., Wilker, S., Elbert, T., & Kolassa, I. (2020). A combination of combat experience, early abduction, and severe traumatization fuels appetitive aggression and violence among abductees of rebel war in Northern Uganda. Aggressive Behavior, 1–11. doi: 10.1002/ab.21914

Karabatsiakis, A., Woike, K., Behnke, A., Kolassa, I.-T., Schönfeldt-Lecuona, C., Kiefer, M., & Sim, E. (2020). Testing the reversibility of impaired mitochondrial bioenergetic functioning in peripheral blood mononuclear cells from depressed patients by clinical-routine antidepressant treatment. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 133, 110086. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychores.2020.110086

Behnke, A., Rojas, R., Karabatsiakis, A., & Kolassa, I.-T. (2020). Childhood maltreatment compromises resilience against occupational trauma exposure: A retrospective study among emergency medical service personnel. Child Abuse & Neglect, 99, 104248. doi: 10.1016/j.chiabu.2019.104248

Behnke, A., Strobel, A., & Armbruster, D. (2020). When the killing has been done: Exploring associations of personality with third-party judgment and punishment of homicides in moral dilemma scenarios. PLOS ONE, 15(6), e0235253. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0235253

Behnke*, A., Rojas*, R., Karrasch, S., Hitzler, M., & Kolassa, I.-T. (2019). Deconstructing traumatic mission experiences: Identifying critical incidents and their relevance for the mental and physical health among emergency medical service personnel. Frontiers in Psychology, 10, 2305. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.02305

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]

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]

Strobel*, A., Behnke*, A., Gärtner, A., & Strobel, A. (2019). The interplay of intelligence and need for cognition in predicting school grades: A retrospective study. Personality and Individual Differences, 144, 147–152.

Enge, S., Behnke, A., Fleischhauer, M., Küttler, L., Kliegel, M., & Strobel, A. (2014). No evidence for true training and transfer effects after inhibitory control training in young healthy adults. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 40(4), 987-1001.

* geteilte Erstautorschaft / shared first authorship


  • Winter term 21/22: Chronic and traumatic stress and its consequences across the lifespan (seminar)
  • Summer term 21: Traumatic stress and stress coping among employees in Emergency Medical Services and fire brigades (project seminar)
  • Summer term 20/21: Biomolecular Clinical Psychology (seminar, with Dr. Matthias Mack)