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Holger Sonntag, Dipl.-Psych.
Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry

Clinical Psychology and Epidemiology
Kraepelinstr. 2-10 D-80804 Munich Germany
phone: +49-(0)89-306 22 506 fax: +49-(0)89-306 22 544


Smoking and how it gets that way

Dear visitor,

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 period?
- 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?
- etc.

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.

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