What we do

Stress is a ubiquitous, multidimensional phenomenon that permeates our individual lives. For decades, research has attempted to characterize the underlying psychological and biological mechanisms that form the stress response both in the animal and in the human model. While laboratory research enables stress to be studied in a controlled environment, recent conceptual and methodological advancements suggest that examining stress “where it happens”, i.e. in everyday life, might close the knowledge gap regarding how stress actually exerts its effects on the human and animal body. The research platform identifies the most urgent research questions and addresses them by bringing together complementary multidisciplinary expertise from scientific disciplines that are uniquely equipped for this endeavor.

The addressed questions are:­­

a) How is (everyday life) stress defined and how can an updated working model of stress be achieved?
b) What are the optimal methods and measures to adequately capture (everyday life) stress?
c) How can clearly defined psychological and biological mechanisms be examined both under controlled laboratory conditions and in an ecologically valid setting?
d) Are there specific properties of stimuli and/or situations that might elicit a (specific) stress response?
e) What are the positive effects of (everyday life) stress?
f) How can insights gained from a) to e) be used for the prevention and treatment of stress-related illness?
g) What are the basic differences between and congruencies in the animal and human (everyday life) stress response?
h) Which statistical models are optimal to capture the dynamics of (everyday life) stress?

To address these questions, the ´Stress of Life (SOLE)­­ - Processes and Mechanisms underlying Everyday Life Stress´ platform brings together top researchers from various disciplines, i.e. psychology, biology, sports science, and the humanities. The platform enables interdisciplinary research that will lead both to third-party funded projects and to a large population-based study on everyday life stress (the Vienna Everyday Life Study). Ultimately, the intention is to transform the platform into the ´Vienna Stress Center, dedicated to Originality and Novelty´(VISCONT).