CONTEXT aims to advance scientific knowledge regarding psychological responses to trauma across varying populations and contexts. To achieve this objective, CONTEXT contains three interconnected research programmes, each of which contains four research projects focused on a distinct trauma-exposed population: 



Asylum Seekers and Refugees

The number of people forced to flee their homes because of conflict has reached 60million, with over 1million refugees entering the EU in 2015 alone. Assessments conducted amongst new arrivals to Germany indicate high levels of trauma disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Lifetime prevalence rates of PTSD among refugees is high (13-25%), with females more susceptible. 

The objective of this research programme is to develop better prevention, assessment, and training methods for the treatment of negative psychological responses to trauma among refugees and asylum-seekers via a suite of complementary and interlinked research projects.


Emergency-service personnel and Humanitarian first-responders

First responders and front-line emergency personnel in humanitarian crises are exposed to traumas in intense and prolonged ways, and their PTSD levels often mirror those observed among direct survivors. Despite the frequency with which trauma-related psychological distress occurs amongst first responders to humanitarian crises, identifying the risk-factors for, and protective-factors against, trauma-related psychological distress remains an important gap, with personal, cultural and contextual factors likely interacting to determine what interventions are most effective.

The objective of this research programme is to provide insight into the mechanisms by which vicarious trauma occurs among first-responders and humanitarian volunteers, and develop innovative preventative solutions to reduce staff burnout and increase resilience and retention.


survivors and perpetrators of childhood and gender-based violence

National epidemiological research findings have established a strong causal relationship between childhood trauma and development of all forms of psychiatric disorders. Furthermore, exposure to childhood trauma increases risk of engagement in violence during later life, particularly gender-based and child-directed violence.

The objective of this research programme is to identify factors that explain differences in risk for exposure to childhood trauma, subsequent development of trauma-related psychological distress, and to thereafter make recommendations to prevent the perpetration of childhood- and gender-based violence.