Research


My research seeks to understand and improve societal responses to diversity related to global challenges and their impact on health and wellbeing. Examples are mitigating conflict, tackling social stigma, eliminating inequality and promoting health in the contexts of migration, infectious diseases and political polarization. I examine how social processes influence the relations between people from diverse social and cultural backgrounds (e.g. in healthcare, education, workplace) and thereby inequities in society as well as in health and wellbeing, across the lifespan and in different cultures. My aim is to improve the lives of people stigmatized by society. 

Social stigma, health inequalities, intergroup conflict and wellbeing, social determinants of health, health promotion of disadvantaged groups, health and technology (VR).


1. Diversity and Health 

1a. Health Inequalities and Social Stigma. This line of research seeks to understand and tackle health inequalities. Understanding involves questions such as: How does stigma affect people's physical and mental health? How do psychological processes cause health inequalities? Tackling involves questions such as: How can healthcare be optimized for marginalized groups in society? How can stigmatized individuals, families and healthcare professionals be supported?

1b. Impact of Societal Threats. This line of research examines the psychological impact of and behavioral responses to infectious diseases (e.g. COVID-19 pandemic), polarized political threats (e.g. Brexit) and migration in society.


2. Diversity and Conflict

2a. Interventions to Bridge Social Divides. This line of research develops and tests theory-based interventions (such as virtual reality, contact, mental imagery, mindfulness meditation) to reduce social stigma, racism, political polarization, and social conflict. 

2b. Diversity in Social Relations. This line of research examines which factors influence relations between majority and minority groups (such as empathy, personality, alexithymia, memory biases) and through this their wellbeing.


My work contributes towards the following global Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations: