with this website I'd like to introduce myself to all
colleagues and to everyone interested or working in the field of smoking, nicotine dependence and smoking cessation.
I was trained at one of Germany's leading units in the field of clinical psychology at
Marburg University where I graduated in 1997 (diploma in psychology). In 1997 I worked at the IFT Institute for Therapy Research in Munich in a project about "Setting up an information system about
smoking cessation programs in Germany". In October 1997 I started working at the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry in its "Clinical Psychology and Epidemiology" unit (former head, now
consultant: Prof. Dr. H.-U. Wittchen). Here the focus of my research is on smoking and nicotine dependence. My particular research interests are circumscribed by the following questions that I also address
in my doctoral thesis:
- What are the factors involved in the development of smoking behavior and nicotine dependence?
- What is the natural course of smoking and nicotine dependence over the lifetime
- What are specific comorbidity patterns for nicotine dependence?
- How is the onset of tobacco consumption (first use, daily use, dependence) affected by other factors like early childhood
disorders, behavioral problems, anxiety or affective disorders?
- What is the effect of primary anxiety related problems in childhood and particularly primary social anxiety to the subsequent development
of smoking and nicotine dependence?
I am currently working on these questions by using a dataset that we collected in a 4-year longitudinal community study (N=3021) conducted from 1995 to 1999.
In our analyses we use both retrospective cross-sectional and prospective-longitudinal data. Results on the association between social anxiety and nicotine dependence have been presented in Sonntag et al.
(2000) in European Psychiatry, 15:67-74.
For further information about our research activities visit