PsychoGeoinformatics

During the last decades, the epidemiological research has given indications that mental diseases including depressions and anxiety disorder can be related to socio-economic, as well as to environmental risk factors. In this project we address the relationship between the urban environment and neural social stress by the means of a high variety of geodata and smartphone Ecological Momentary Assessment. The wellbeing of children, adolescents and young adults will be addressed, since the environmental surroundings during childhood seem to be of extra importance.

In order to address the relationship between the urban environment and experienced stress, heterogeneous spatial data has to be collected from a various amount of sources. These include both public and private sources. In addition to that, also crowdsourced data can be used. Our approach is to first create a homogenous spatial data base that includes relevant socio-economic data (population density, household density, migration- and unemployment ratio etc.) and data regarding the urban environment (noise, green areas and distance to roads, among others). This will offer a solid database for the study area of the Rhine-Neckar region, Heidelberg, Mannheim and Ludwigshafen in southern Germany.

Based on the movement pattern of probands, we will be able to quantify the environmental surrounding of the persons. Following that, a possible relationship between the urban environment and stress will be addressed by correlating the environment data with data obtained from the interactive ambulatory assessment (conducted by KIT) and from magnetic resonance imaging (MRI; conducted by CIMH).

Link to project website.

Name and contact of project responsible(s):

A. Zipf (Interdisciplinary Center for Scientific Computing, Heidelberg University)
A. Meyer-Lindenberg (Central Institute of Mental Health Mannheim)

Additionally involved scientists and partners

H. Dorn (Interdisciplinary Center for Scientific Computing, Heidelberg University)
T. Törnros (Interdisciplinary Center for Scientific Computing, Heidelberg University)
U. Ebner-Priemer (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology)

Research Group Psychiatry and Psychotherapy at the Central Institute of Mental Health Mannheim