Mainz Resilience Project (MARP)
Resilience is the process of maintaining or regaining one’s mental health during or after severely stressful life stituations. Traditionally, psychiatric research has focused on mechanisms that make people vulnerable and lead to disease and on ways of treating mental illness. Interestingly, however, many people do not or only temporarily become mentally ill despite significant burden from psychological or physical adversity. This suggests the existence of protective mechanisms that can prevent the development of stress-related conditions like anxiety, post-traumatic stress, depression or addiction. Our approach is to understand these resilience mechanisms and to harness them in the service of better disease prevention. This strategy can potentially much reduce individual suffering, dysfunction and economic and social costs.
MARP is conducted by a consortium of researchers in the departments of Neuroimaging (NIC), Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Microscopic Anatomy and Neurobiology, and Neurology. MARP aims at building up a cohort of healthy young volunteers in Mainz and Mainz-Bingen who are in the critical transition phase between adolescence/school life and professional life, which is associated in many with the onset of new mental problems. We will accompany these individuals over several years and assess their mental health status and the life stressors they encounter. We ask whether certain individual characteristics that our subjects show at the time of their inclusion in the study predict successful coping and resilience over the years. These assessments are performed using neuroimaging and behavioral examination. Ultimately, we hope to thereby identify brain properties and mental faculties that are crucial protective mechanisms. Our results should provide a sound basis for the development of new prevention schemes. MARP is supported by the foundation “RLP für Innovation“ (Rheinland-Pfalz ministry of education) and the Focus Program Translational Neuroscience Mainz (FTN) and closely collaborates with the “Gutenberg Brain Study“ (GBS).
Prof. Dr. Raffael Kalisch, Neuroimaging Center Mainz (NIC)