Francisca Rodriguez
Psychosocial Epidemiology and Public Health
Dr. habil. Francisca S. Rodriguez
Group Leader
Ellernholzstr. 1-2

17489  Greifswald
 +49 3834 867-604

Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias are chronic health conditions that strongly affect our psychosocial environment. Then again, more and more studies show that psychosocial factors throughout the life-course are associated with the risk for developing dementia. The research group conducts studies to investigate such effects. The aim of the research conducted in this group is to identify psychosocial determinants and risk factors in the population that either increase or decrease the risk for developing dementia, the prevalence rate, and the disease burden. In this way, our research findings are an important foundation for the development of new public policies that aim at reducing the numbers of people with dementia in the society.

Findings from studies all over the world suggest that multiple risk factors throughout the life-course might influence the risk for developing dementia. However, only a limited number of factors have been researched so far. Psychosocial determinants have recently gained attention from the international health research community. As the role of psychosocial factors in the development of dementia has not yet been studied in depth, it is important to advance research efforts in this important field. We cannot study biology in isolation if we want to understand dementia risk. The biological processes that cause dementia are happening within the everyday environment that the person is living in and that is a part of his or her identity. Accordingly, the research group investigates psychosocial determinants of dementia in order to be able to identify new pathways of disease progression and causality.

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Research studies of the group focus, for example, on distinct components of the occupational and social environment. We determine differential effects of these components and identify those that have the greatest impact. Further, we investigate interactions between psychosocial determinants (e.g., leisure activities) and other risk factors, such as mental health and genetic predisposition. We also look at country specific aspects and study possible associations with neurobiological mechanisms in collaboration with other research teams. By differentiating individual components of psychosocial factors, either in a detailed analysis of the operationalization or in interaction with other factors, we can identify those with the strongest impact against dementia. This information helps us then to identify high-risk constellations (that is combinations of psychosocial determinants and genetic or health-related aspects). In this way, we can identify people at high risk for developing dementia. To gain a better understanding of all of these associations, we also conduct studies and analyses on memory in old age, the preclinical phase of cognitive decline as well as distinct dementia symptoms.  


Rodriguez FS, Pabst A, Luck T, König HH, Angermeyer MC, Witte AV, Villringer A, Riedel-Heller SG. Social Network Types in Old Age and Incident Dementia. J Geriatr Psychiatry Neurol. 2018 Jul 02; 31:163-170. doi: 10.1177/0891988718781041
Rodriguez FS, Schroeter ML, Arélin K, Witte AV, Baber R, Burkhardt R, Engel C, Löffler M, Thiery J, Villringer A, Luck T, Riedel-Heller SG. APOE e4-genotype and lifestyle interaction on cognitive performance: Results of the LIFE-Adult-study. Health Psychol. 2018 Feb 01; 37:194-205. doi: 10.1037/hea0000515
Rodriguez FS, Aranda MP, Lloyd DA, Vega WA. Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Dementia Risk Among Individuals With Low Education. Am J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2018 Sep 03; 26:966-976. doi: 10.1016/j.jagp.2018.05.011
Rodriguez FS, Matschinger H, Angermeyer MC, Luck T, Riedel-Heller SG. Compression of cognitive morbidity by higher education in individuals aged 75+ living in Germany. Int J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2018 Oct 01; 33:1389-1396. doi: 10.1002/gps.4950
Francisca S. Then, Tobias Luck, Kathrin Heser, Annette Ernst, Tina Posselt, Birgitt Wiese, Silke Mamone, Christian Brettschneider, Hans-Helmut König, Siegfried Weyerer, Jochen Werle, Edelgard Mösch, Horst Bickel, Angela Fuchs, Michael Pentzek, Wolfgang Maier, Martin Scherer, Michael Wagner, Steffi G. Riedel-Heller, Heinz-Harald Abholz, Christian Brettschneider, Cadja Bachmann, Horst Bickel, Wolfgang Blank, Hendrik van den Bussche, Sandra Eifflaender-Gorfer, Marion Eisele, Annette Ernst, Angela Fuchs, Kathrin Heser, Frank Jessen, Hanna Kaduszkiewicz, Teresa Kaufeler, Mirjam Köhler, Hans-Helmut König, Alexander Koppara, Carolin Lange, Diana Lubisch, Tobias Luck, Melanie Luppa, Wolfgang Maier, Manfred Mayer, Edelgard Mösch, Michael Pentzek, Tina Posselt, Jana Prokein, Steffi Riedel-Heller, Susanne Röhr, Martin Scherer, Anna Schumacher, Janine Stein, Susanne Steinmann, Franziska Tebarth, Michael Wagner, Klaus Weckbecker, Dagmar Weeg, Jochen Werle, Siegfried Weyerer, Birgitt Wiese, Steffen Wolfsgruber, Thomas Zimmermann, Hendrik van den Bussche, Wolfgang Maier, Martin Scherer. Which types of mental work demands may be associated with reduced risk of dementia?. Alzheimer's and Dementia. 2017 Mar 31; 13:431-440. doi: 10.1016/j.jalz.2016.08.008


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Patients +49 800-7799001

(free of charge)

Professionals +49 180-779900

(9 Cent/Min. German landline, mobile and out of Germany possibly more expensive)

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