Health Behavior Change

Understanding and promoting behavior change and maintenance is a central topic in health psychology and behavioral medicine. Health behaviors such as diet and physical activity have a significant impact on promoting health and well-being, disease prevention (e.g. obesity, COVID-19) and rehabilitation (e.g. recovery from a cardiovascular event).

At the Department of Health Psychology and Behavioral Medicine, we contribute to understanding the bio-psycho-social determinants of health behavior change and maintenance, e.g. habit, stress, and social relationships. Using theory- and evidence-based approaches, we further develop and evaluate interventions that target a variety of health behaviors, with emphasis on digital health interventions using smartphone apps. Central to our research is the understanding of the phenomena under investigation, specifically how health behavior and its determinants unfold over time, within and between persons. This translates into a methodological approach that studies people’s daily lives in their natural context, using observational and experimental intensive longitudinal methods, e.g. data collection using ecological momentary assessment (EMA) or sensors (e.g., accelerometers, mobile electrocardiography), and qualitative methods.



Dr. Corina Berli                                                                                                         

University of Bern

Institut of Psychology

Fabrikstrasse 8

3012 Bern

What is the study about?

The study is being conducted in collaboration with the PREHABIL project at the Inselspital in Bern.  As part of the PREHABIL project, patients at Inselspital are taking part in a multimodal prehabilitation programme to prepare them for their upcoming operation and the time after the operation ( The aim of the Adhere study is, on the one hand, to investigate the difficulties that arise when participating in such a programme and implementing the guidelines. On the other hand, another target is to identify factors that facilitate participation and implementation of the guidelines. The study focuses on the subjective view of the participants and how they experienced their participation in the programme. This provides helpful information on how such programmes can be designed and implemented in the future.

Who are the participants?

The participants are patients taking part in the PREHABIL project at Inselspital. Patients who are eligible to participate in the PREHABIL project and thus also in the Adhere study must have functional deficits and have planned a major visceral, urological, cardiac, vascular, orthopaedic or thoracic operation. The minimum age limit for participation is 65 years.

What does the study involve?

As part of the study, qualitative interviews will be conducted with participants about their personal experience of the prehabilitation programme. Participants will be informed about the interviews during the baseline survey of the PREHABIL project at Inselspital. After the baseline survey, they take part in the prehabilitation programme for at least 2 weeks in preparation for their upcoming operation. The interviews take place 1-2 days before admission to the Inselspital and are conducted by telephone. An interview is expected to last between 45 and 60 minutes. During the interview, questions are asked about personal experiences with the programme, challenges, resources and feedback on the programme.

What is the benefit for the participants?

By participating in this study, patients are making an important contribution to psychological research on the challenging and supportive factors involved in participating in a prehabilitation programme. The interview also gives participants another opportunity to talk about their experiences in the programme and to make any suggestions for improvement.

When does the project take place?

The study started in September 2023 and will run until around the end of 2024. The interviews will be conducted from February 2024 to April 2024.

Project team at the University of Bern

Master's students working on the project:

Ramona Thöny,

Project partners at the Inselspital Bern

PD Dr. med. Dominique Engel

Prof. Dr. med. Patrick Wüthrich

Prisca Eser, PD PhD

Thomas Vetsch, cand. PhD

Publication PREHABIL-Project

Beilstein, C. M., Krutkyte, G., Vetsch, T., Eser, P., Wilhelm, M., Stanga, Z., Bally, L., Verra, M., Huber, M., Wuethrich, P. Y., & Engel, D. (2023). Multimodal prehabilitation for major surgery in elderly patients to lower complications: Protocol of a randomised, prospective, multicentre, multidisciplinary trial (PREHABIL Trial). BMJ Open, 13(1), e070253.


Prof. Dr. Jennifer Inauen, Dr. Dario Baretta

University of Bern
Institut for Psychology
Department for Health Psychology and Behavioral Medicin

Fabrikstrasse 8
3012 Bern


Project BECCCS aims to develop, optimize, and test a behavior change intervention to promote infection prevention behavior in the short and long term. The optimal behavior change intervention will be determined using the MOST (multiphase optimization strategy). Multiple intervention components based on habit theory and the results of formative research will be developed (preparation), tested in a randomized parallel design (optimization), and then tested against a control group (evaluation) to reveal the most effective behavior change intervention to promote infection prevention behaviors. In collaboration with computer science, the intervention will be delivered through a smartphone application, which will allow high reach of the general population.


Project Team

What is this study about?   

The aim of the study is to investigate when, how and where romantic couples are physically active in their everyday lives and how this relates to their well-being and their relationship. The findings should help to better understand the role that close social relationships, such as the romantic relationship, play in physical activity. This can be used to develop more targeted interventions to promote physical activity.     

Who can take part?  

We are looking for adult romantic couples who...   

  • have been in a committed relationship for at least 6 months  

  • meet at least 3 times a week  

  • both have a smartphone  

  • and both speak German very well    

What does the study involve?   

After a short online screening, the participating couples are invited to an appointment at the University of Bern (max. 1 hour). The main part of the study takes place directly in the everyday lives of the participants. During the following 14 days, both partners answer a few questions on their smartphones about their physical activity and how they feel four times a day (after getting up, at 12 noon, 5 p.m. and just before going to bed). They also wear activity sensors continuously during this time and have their smartphone with them to record their location and smartphone usage. At the end of this 14-day period, participants answer a few last questions and have the opportunity to provide feedback on the study. Subsequently, they return the activity sensors to the Institute of Psychology. 

What is your benefit:  

  • As a participant in the study, you have the opportunity to better understand your own activity patterns.   

  • We will be happy to compile individual movement profiles for you on request.   

  • In addition, you will receive 2x CHF 50 Galaxus vouchers (or 3 test subject hours) for your efforts as a couple.   

  • By taking part, you are making an important contribution to psychological research on everyday health behavior in couples. Of course, we will be happy to inform you about the results of the study once the survey has been completed. 

Sounds interesting? 

Click on the following link for more information and the possibility to apply for the study: 

Project team

Master students working on the project:  

  • Tina Henz
  • Rahel Grütter
  • Lea Burch

EUCLID - Survey on the current coronavirus situation


Prof. Dr. Jennifer Inauen

University of Bern
Institut of Psychology
Department of Health Psychology and Behavioral Medicin

Fabrikstrasse 8
3012 Bern

What is this study about?

Developed in response to the ongoing public health crisis caused by the global outbreak of coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) and associated disease COVID-19, this study aims to examine public perceptions and behaviors. The survey includes questions on (1) Subjective health, (2) Perception of risk, (3) Protection motivation and behavior, (4) Expected future developments of the current outbreak.

This survey will be conducted in several countries under the direction of the University of Konstanz.

How can I participate?

Click here to access the survey:

With your participation in this study, you are making an important contribution to health psychology research on the coronavirus. In addition, you have the opportunity to participate in a raffle of five Migros shopping vouchers worth CHF 20 each.

What happens with de data?

On a website, the anonymized data (without any personal information) will be made publicly available to provide insight into the public's perception and behavior about coronavirus. The anonymized data will also be published in scientific journals.

Projektgruppe Universität Bern

Project Management of the University of Konstanz

Prof. Dr. Britta Renner, Julia Koller, Nadine Lages, Dr. Karoline Villinger, Prof. Dr. Harald Schupp (PIs)


Project partners

Prof. Dr. Efrat Neter, Department of Behavioral Sciences, Ruppin Academic Center, Israel

Prof. Dr. Pilvikki Absetz, Associate Professor of Health Promotion, University of Eastern Finland, Finland

Prof. Dr. Benicio Gutiérrez-Doña, Psychological Sciences, Universidad Estatal a Distancia, Costa Rica

EFPA - European Federation of Psychological Associations




Dr. phil. Dario Baretta, M Sc Carole Rüttimann, Prof. Dr. Jennifer Inauen

University of Bern
Institute of Psychology
Department of Health Psychology and Behavioural Medicine
Fabrikstrasse 8
3012 Bern

What is this study about?

The aim of this study is to leverage digital technology to promote pro-environmental behaviours and thereby reduce individual carbon footprints. The central focus of this investigation is the challenge of translating good intentions into actions – known as the intention-behaviour gap. The intervention focuses on psychological factors that play a crucial role in overcoming this intention-behaviour gap. The findings aim to deepen the understanding of how individual behaviour changes can contribute to mitigating climate change. Participation takes place over 5 weeks using a smartphone app called «GROW» which was specially developed for the purpose of this study.

Who can participate?

We are looking for participants who...

  • are at least 18 years old
  • have very good German language skills
  • do not have a diagnosed eating disorder
  • do not follow a vegetarian or vegan diet

What does the study involve?

After reading the study information and giving your online consent with your personal signature, you will receive access to the GROW app. In GROW, you will complete an initial questionnaire (20 minutes). Starting from the next day and throughout your participation period (35 days), you will be asked every evening to complete a short questionnaire about your daily eating behaviour and optionally your transportation behaviour (5 minutes). Additionally, you will receive a slightly longer questionnaire once a week (10 minutes) and weekly support to reduce your carbon footprint (5-20 minutes). All questionnaires can be conveniently answered via the app. The study is entirely conducted without any in-person appointments.

What are the benefits of participating?

  • All participants who successfully complete both the start and end questionnaire as well as the weekly reflections will automatically enter a draw to win one of 3x CHF 100.- vouchers for a zero-waste store.
  • By participating in the study, you contribute to important psychological research on environmental and sustainability topics.
  • You will gain insights into your diet- and transportation-related carbon footprint and have the opportunity to reduce your carbon footprint.
  • Psychology students at the University of Bern who sign up via the institute's VPN pool and follow the study instructions will receive 5 credits for their participant hours.

When does the project take place?

The study started in April 2024 and will continue until summer 2024.


Would you like to participate? Register here.

Do you have questions about the project? Contact us at


Project team at the University of Bern

Master thesis

BSc Céline Lüthi


Funded by the Faculty of Human Sciences from the «Humans in Digital Transformation» programme

HABIRUPT - Habit Disruption in Daily Life

The overall aim of the HABIRUPT project is to investigate habit disruption and decay in the context of health-risk behaviors.


Prof. Dr. Jennifer Inauen, Robert Edgren

University of Bern
Institut of Psychology
Department of Health Psychology and Behavioral Medicin

Fabrikstrasse 8
3012 Bern

What is the study about?

The overall aim of the HABIRUPT project is to investigate habit disruption and decay in the context of health-risk behaviors.
Addressing health-related behavioral change through habitual processes is important, as this may help us to understand how to achieve longstanding change.

The health-risk behaviors of interest are sedentary behavior (prolonged inactivity), unhealthy snacking, alcohol consumption and smoking. These behaviors have been selected because they are modifiable risk factors of chronic disease and related mortality.

Research Studies:

The HABIRUPT project consists of two intensive longitudinal studies conducted in the real-world environment. Habit decay is investigated as an idiosyncratic and dynamic process, and we aim to find out how long it takes for habits to decay. Furthermore, we aim to investigate what factors support and hinder the habit decay process.

Study 1 is an observational study focusing on all 4 risk behaviors previously stated.

Study 2 is an experimental study focusing on sedentary behavior, where participants receive smartphone app delivered interventions.

Current state of the HABIRUPT Project:

Data collection of HABIRUPT study 1 has been completed. Data analysis is currently being conducted.

Please find the preregistration of the analysis plan here: (Updated: 05/2023)


The HABIRUPT project is funded by SNSF (grant number 10001C_200895).


Project Team


Prof. Dr. Jennifer Inauen, Dr. Dario Baretta

University of Bern
Institut of Psychology
Department of Health Psychology and Behavioral Medicin

Fabrikstrasse 8
3012 Bern

What's this study about?

The goal of the HabitWalk study is to gain a deeper understanding on the process of habit formation regarding physical activity behavior. We want to investigate how physical activity habits form over time and identify the effective intervention strategies to support it. In doing so, we target brisk walking, a type of physical activity that is accessible to most people and that is associated with important health benefits. To conduct the study, we have developed a smartphone app, HabitWalk, that will guide participants in the process of establishing a daily habit in the form of a 15-minute brisk walk.

What is the status of the study?

Participant recruitment is completed and took place between mid-May 2023 and early July 2023. Data collection will be completed in early November 2023.



This study is funded by the Suzanne and Hans Biäsch Foundation.



Forschungsteam an der Universität Bern


Prof. Dr. Jennifer Inauen

University of Bern
Institut of Psychology
Department of Health Psychology and Behavioral Medicin

Fabrikstrasse 8
3012 Bern
Telefon +41 31 684 36 41

If you are interested, please send an e-mail to the following address:

What is this project about?

Stress is a widespread issue in our lives that is closely associated with health consequences. The aim of this project is to explore physiological and experienced stress and its impact on health in everyday life. One focus is to explore heart rate variability in daily life as an indicator of autonomic nervous system activity and thus stress. This should help to better understand the relationship between stress and health behaviors and thus health in daily life. Another focus is to investigate intervention options to mitigate the negative effects of stress on health behaviors and health.

What is the goal of the project?

To gain new insights from daily life about how stress affects health behaviors and health, what measurement methods for stress are appropriate for future intervention studies, and what intervention options might improve physiological and experienced stress in daily life. This will provide a critical foundation for future intervention studies in daily life to reduce negative effects of stress on health behaviors and thus health.

Structure of the project

The project includes several subprojects that explore the following key questions:

  1. What does an adaptive response to and recovery from stress in everyday life look like in relation to physiologically measured stress?
  2. How can relaxation exercises in everyday life (e.g. breathing exercises, mindfulness meditation) change physiological and experienced stress?
  3. How can changes in physiological and experienced stress predict eating behaviors, sleep hygiene, and sleep quality in daily life?
  4. How can stress in daily life be measured validly and reliably to be used in intervention studies to reduce stress in daily life?

Results to date

  1. What does adaptive response to and recovery from stress in daily life look like in relation to physiologically measured stress?

Higher heart rate variability (an indicator of parasympathetic activity and thus the absence of stress) may predict an adaptive response to subsequent stress in everyday life. This is true for both cognitive and physically stressful events. However, higher heart rate variability was not related to more adaptive recovery from stress in everyday life, contrary to theory and laboratory findings. Publikation:

When will the project take place?

The project will take place between 2019-2026.

Project Team

Master students working on the project

  • Johanna Rink
  •  Evelyne Oesch
  •  Laura Trinkler
  •  Alyssa Hadorn

Cooperation partners:

  • Prof. Dr. Andreas Schwerdtfeger (Universität Graz)
  • Prof. Dr. Daryl O’Connor (University of Leeds)


Prof. Dr. Jennifer Inauen

University of Bern
Institut of Psychology
Fabrikstrasse 8 
3012 Bern 

+41 31 684 34 08  


What is this study about?

This study examines how stress and other factors influence whether people with obesity can continue to maintain learned eating habits after weight loss. The findings will help develop support services in the future and prevent weight regain.

What does the participation include?

Participation mainly takes place in the everyday life of the participants. Participants wear a mobile electrocardiogram (ECG) sensor, which is attached to their upper body by means of adhesive electrodes, for one week and complete short surveys on their smartphone in everyday life. Before and after this everyday phase, a short appointment (about 30 minutes each) takes place in the laboratory of health psychology and behavioral medicine at the University of Bern.

Who can participate?

Participation is open to persons who are 

  • Are 18 years of age or older, 
  • Had a body mass index of ≥ 30kg/m2 prior to weight loss. 
  • Have a goal of maintaining the lost weight 
  • Currently report difficulty maintaining a balanced diet: Report of at least 2 deviations from the balanced diet in the past week ("slips"). 

Individuals are excluded from participation if they 

  • Do not own a smartphone or do not want to use the study-specific apps and sensors, 
  • Have insufficient knowledge of German to participate in the study, 
  • Did not consent to participate, and did not sign this document.  
  • Have had bariatric surgery (i.e., surgical alteration of the stomach, intestines, or both, with the goal of weight loss), 
  • Have diabetes, cardiovascular disease, or a sleep disorder  
  • or who are currently undergoing psychotherapeutic treatment.

Why should I participate?

By participating in the study, you will have the opportunity to understand your behavior in more detail. For this purpose, you will also receive an overview with your personal data (exercise, sleep, heart rate variability) at the end of the study.  
Furthermore, you will make a valuable contribution to research in the area of maintaining a balanced diet after weight loss. The results can be important for other people who want to maintain a healthy body weight. For your effort you will receive a compensation of CHF 100.

How has the pandemic affected you and your community? Do you want to get vaccinated against Covid-19 or not?

Registered international multi-method trial: DARVID - Distress, Anxiety and Resilience of Health Care Professionals during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Beverage Study
Study of the intraindividual effects of goals to reduce sugary beverage consumption.

The purpose of this study is to examine effects of creativity exercises on stress experience.

Study to increase physical activity.

As part of its ROCO project, the University of Bern is investigating an online self-help program for people who feel psychologically stressed due to the situation surrounding Covid-19.

SelFIT - Get fit again yourself after an accident
As part of its SelFIT project, the University of Bern is investigating an online self-help program for people who have experienced an accident and have problems coping with the consequences of this accident. The SelFIT program offers support to overcome these adjustment problems.

Study to increase physical activity among seniors.

Study of health and well-being of people 65 and older during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Study on self-control in the use of cannabis
In collaboration with the Directorate of Education, Social Affairs and Sports of the City of Bern, the Institute of Psychology of the University of Bern is launching a study on "Self-Regulation of Cannabis Use".
The results of the study can be found here

Registered RCT on the effectiveness of a web-based learning tool on the topic of "learning to learn".


Global and Environmental Health

Global health refers to the study and practice of improving health outcomes and achieving health equity on a global scale. Environmental health includes the study of the effects of the environment on people, and vice versa. The topics of global health and environmental health are often intertwined. For example, the health of residents of the global South is often disproportionately affected by environmental risks. At the Department of Health Psychology and Behavioral Medicine, we study the health-related behavioral adaptation to environmental risks, focusing on understanding the psychological and social determinants of health behaviors and the development and evaluation of interventions based on these insights.

This inter- and transdisciplinary line of research involves establishing meaningful collaborations with community leaders, organizations, and stakeholders and their active engagement in planning and conducting research and aims at sustained improvements in community health beyond the specific research project (community-based, participatory research). We use quantitative (observational and experimental) and qualitative field research methods that allow us to address challenges such as low literacy rates. As researchers at a Swiss university collaborating with colleagues in the global South, we are committed to critically examine historical and structural power imbalances between the global South and North.

Consequences of heavy carrying and prevention of uterine prolapse- support and behavior change for women's health in Nepal.

Consequences of heavy carrying and prevention of uterine prolapse- support and behavior change for women's health in NepalIn collaboration with researchers and practitioners from Kathmandu University Hospital and Eawag: The Water Research Institute of the ETH Domain, the University of Bern is identifying consequences of (water) carrying for women in Nepal, particularly with regard to uterine prolapse. The aim of the research is to increase the quality of life of women in Nepal and minimize problem behaviors with support and behavioral change at the individual, family and village levels.


M. Sc. Vica Tomberge

University of Bern
Institut of Psychology
Department of Health Psychology and Behavioral Medicin

Fabrikstrasse 8
3012 Bern
Telefon +41 31 684 45 83

Project Description

In most countries of the Global South, women in particular spend a lot of time and energy every day to provide water and food for their families and animals. This is also the case in Nepal. The frequent physical strain of carrying heavy loads (water, animal feed, stones, wood) poses risks for musculoskeletal disorders and reproductive health. According to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), one in ten women in Nepal is affected by organ prolapse. Organs thereby descend into the vagina and emerge from it in advanced stages.

In a pilot study (2019), our research group, together with researchers from Kathmandu University Hospital and Eawag, determined that Nepali women carry an average of 19 kg of water and 35 kg of other loads (wood, animal fodder) each way, and that lifting and setting down behaviors during carrying are often poorly ergonomic.

We identified low self-efficacy expectation (belief that one cannot organize and perform behavior with one's own resources) and insufficient social support as reasons for unsafe carrying behavior.

Enabling Hypothesis

The prerequisite for being able to perform a health behavior is that this is subject to one's own decision-making control. Especially in socially disadvantaged populations, sociostructural barriers such as gender-specific social expectations reduce the effective and perceived control over health behavior. According to the empowerment hypothesis, one way to overcome barriers is through social support. According to this hypothesis, social support helps to cope with environmental demands and additionally strengthens the self-efficacy expectation of the supported person.

Women lift safely - An intervention study to reduce health risks associated with carrying heavy loads.

In an intervention study (2021-2022, n = 300) we want to test whether stronger self-efficacy of women leads to safer carrying behavior. Further, the empowerment hypothesis will be tested for the first time in this context.

Three villages affected by the problem in Nepal will be randomly assigned to one of three intervention groups in a parallel group design: individual self-efficacy support, self-efficacy support + social support from a social partner, waiting list control group.

Self-efficacy is induced via the three most effective sources of self-efficacy promotion: Experience of Success, Vicarious Experience (Model Learning), and Verbal Persuasion. The intervention groups will receive behavior change techniques to increase self-confidence and model learning.

Project Location

Kavre & Sindhupalanchowk District, Nepal

Project Funding

  • Stiftung Suzanne und Hans Biäsch zur Förderung der Angewandten Psychologie​ (Interventionsstudie 2021/2022)
  • Universität Bern
  • Eawag: Das Wasserforschungs-Institut des ETH-Bereichs (Vorstudie 2019)

Project Team

Dr. Akina Shrestha (Kathmandu University Hospital; Kathmandu University School of Medical Sciences), Vica Tomberge & Prof. Dr. Jennifer Inauen (Universität Bern), Regula Meierhofer (Eawag), Dr. Helena Luginbühl (BFH Gesundheit Fachbereich Physiotherapie), Janine Bischof & Melanie Bamert (Universität Bern).

Cooperation partner

Dr. Anjana Singh Dangol (Geburtshilfe & Gynäkologie, Kathmandu University Hospital), Dr. Richa Amatya (Psychiatrie, Kathmandu University Hospital)


Tomberge, V. M. J., Shrestha, A., Meierhofer, R., & Inauen, J. (2021). Understanding safe water‐carrying practices during pregnancy and postpartum: A mixed‐methods study in Nepal. Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being, aphw.12325

Tomberge*, V. M. J., Bischof*, J. S., Meierhofer, R., Shrestha, A., & Inauen, J. (2021). The Physical Burden of Water Carrying and Women’s Psychosocial Well-Being: Evidence from Rural Nepal. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health18(15), 7908. (* shared first authorship)

Meierhofer, R., Tomberge, V. M. J., Inauen, J., & Shrestha, A. (2022). Water carrying in hills of Nepal-associations with women's musculoskeletal disorders, uterine prolapse, and spontaneous abortions. PLoS One, 17(6), e0269926.

Tomberge, V. M. J. , Luginbuehl, H., Shrestha, A., Kasaju, A., Scarnato, C., Meierhofer, R., & Inauen, J. (2023). Does self-efficacy and social support enable women to foster their pelvic floor health? A non-randomized controlled trial in rural Nepal. ContiNence, 7(Supplement 1), 100987.


Prof. Dr. Jennifer Inauen, Dr. Benjamin Ambühl

University of Bern
Institut of Psychology
Department of Health Psychology and Behavioral Medicin

Fabrikstrasse 8
3012 Bern

This health behavior change research focuses on the prevention of waterborne diseases (e.g., arsenicosis, diarrhea) caused by drinking and cooking water contamination in Bihar, India. The main objective was to test the impact of participatory behavior change interventions at the collective and individual levels associated with the installation of new drinking water infrastructure on safe water outcomes. Results showed that a combined collective-level intervention targeting psychological ownership and an individual-level intervention targeting habits resulted in increased use of safe water infrastructure, improved attitudes toward water maintenance, and improved infrastructure quality compared to controls, but no effects on water quality were found. Investigation of how and with whom the interventions worked is the subject of ongoing research.

Project Team

Prof. Dr. Jennifer Inauen

Dr. phil. Benjamin Ambühl

Master thesis (finished)

M.Sc. Selina Steiner
M.Sc. Nadine Fischer
M.Sc. Bettina Steinegger

Cooperation partner

Eawag (SANDEC, Water Supply & Treatment)
Mahavir Cancer Sansthan and Research Center
Bihar State Pollution Control Board
Paridhi Bhagalpur
PHED Bhagalpur


This research was funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (Grant number 7F-09963.01.01).


Ambuehl, B., & Inauen, J. (2022). Contextualized measurement scale adaptation: A 4-step tutorial for health psychology research. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 19(19), 12775.

Ambuehl, B. (2022). The role of psychological ownership in community-based piped water supply infrastructure in Nepal and India. Philosophisch-humanwissenschaftliche Fakultät der Universität Bern.

Ambuehl, B. A., Ghosh, A. K., Singh, B. K., Kumar, M., Marks, S., & Inauen, J. (2020). Psychological ownership and habits for long-lasting safe water infrastructure. Sandec News, 21, 36-37.

Ambuehl, B. A., Ghosh, A. K., Singh, B. K., Kumar, M., Marks, S., & Inauen, J. (2023). Community based participatory action research: An Indo Swiss Project. Sandec News, 21, 46-47.

Ambuehl, B. A., Ghosh, A. K., Singh, B. K., Kumar, M., Marks, S., & Inauen, J. (submitted). Behaviour change for shared safe water infrastructure is best facilitated at community and individual levels: a cluster-randomized trial in Bihar.

The role of psychological ownership in safe drinking water use in Nepal.
This longitudinal study examines the role of psychological ownership in the use of safe drinking water options.

Sexual Health

Sexual health is more than the absence of disease, sexual function problems, and violence. It requires positive access to sexuality and pleasurable experiences and contributes significantly to well-being and quality of life. Promoting sexual health is an often underappreciated resource for overall health. To date, sexual health intervention studies have focused primarily on negative outcomes of sex, such as sexually transmitted infections, sexual dysfunction, or unwanted pregnancy, and have targeted at-risk groups. According to a holistic approach, there is a need for increased sex-positive prevention approaches at all levels. Health psychology makes a central contribution to this. It enables us to identify psychological resources and processes that promote, maintain and restore the various facets of sexual health.
At our department, theory- and evidence-based interventions to promote sexual health are developed and tested for effectiveness. With an eye toward practice, our department's work demonstrates the potential for health psychology interventions to promote psychological resources critical to sexual health in a low-threshold, cost-effective, and efficient manner.


Dr. phil. Stefanie Gonin-Spahni

University of Bern
Institut of Psychology
Department of Health Psychology and Behavioral Medicin

Fabrikstrasse 8
3012 Bern
Telefon +41 31 684 54 28

In cooperation with the University Clinic for Urology of the Inselspital, the effectiveness of the sexological consultation after Sexocorporel will be investigated by means of a survey of current and early patients.

This randomized controlled intervention study examines the effectiveness of an online self-help intervention to promote sexual pleasure among heterosexual cis men.


Dr. phil. Stefanie Gonin-Spahni

Univeristy of Bern
Institut of Psychology
Department of Health Psychology and Behavioral Medicin

Fabrikstrasse 8
3012 Bern
Telefon +41 31 684 54 28

What is this study about?

In this study, the effectiveness of an online program to increase sexual pleasure for heterosexual cis men is examined. Over a period of thirty days, participants independently engage with the content of a website created specifically for the project, which offers knowledge transfer on the topic as well as body- and mindfulness-based exercises.

The aim of the study is to investigate the effectiveness of such easily accessible support in promoting the learning and experience of sexual pleasure.

Participants will be randomly given direct access to the website or placed on a waiting list with the program starting after thirty days.

Who can participate?

You can participate in the study if you:

  • Are a heterosexual cis man.
  • Are 18 years of age or older.
  • Are willing to complete three questionnaires online as part of your participation.

As soon as participation is possible, the link will be published here.


Online experiment on genital self-image
The online experiment will examine the effect of viewing photographs of natural genitalia and learning about the function of sex on genital self-image and its correlates using a randomized controlled design.

The purpose of this questionnaire study was to examine the interaction of psychological, physical, and social resources in sexuality and their significance for health and well-being. 1,100 individuals between the ages of 18 and 77 participated.

SeBeGe 2.0
The study is a continuation of the pilot study SeBeGe and investigates the interaction of body, relationship, attitudes towards sexuality and its importance for health.

Pornography use in everyday life of couples
While the majority of previous research on the effect of pornography consumption in partnerships is based on interviews with individuals, 82 heterosexual couples were interviewed about their behavior and experiences in this questionnaire study.

Sexual Pleasure Matters
A questionnaire study to validate the Amsterdam Sexual Pleasure Index in cooperation with researchers from the University Hospital of Amsterdam.

Online self-help PleaSure
This randomized controlled intervention study investigates the effectiveness of online self-help to promote sexual pleasure in people with a vulva.


Other completed projects

In collaboration with the Inselspital Bern and the Bern Simulation Center (BeSic), this network-analytic observational study provides the first in-depth overall view of interaction behavior in debriefings of simulated emergency situations in the operating room.

Collaborative project with the Inselspital Bern and the University Emergency Center. Using simulations in real emergency teams, interaction patterns that contribute to successful diagnosis or resuscitation are investigated.

As part of the study, the University of Bern is investigating individuals who care about justice and, in some cases, have developed a different attitude toward life and expectations about it.

Religious Conflicts and Coping Strategies
Project 2 within the IFK Religious Conflicts and Coping Strategies ( Project within the Interfaculty Research Cooperation on religious conflicts and coping strategies: "Religious coping styles among people dealing with internal religious and spiritual struggles", under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Isabelle Noth and Prof. Dr. Hansjörg Znoj).

Project LIVIA (Self-help in separation and mourning).