In the research project WELL-MED an innovative approach is pursued, which combines the person-related perspective of Positive Psychology with the more condition-oriented focus of Industrial and Organizational psychology. The aim is to scientifically analyze the factors influencing the well-being and health of medical students and residents and to derive indications for prevention.

    Positive Psychology

Positive Psychology is a comparatively new direction within psychology. It was founded by Martin E. P. Seligman in the late 1990s (Seligman & Csikszentmihalyi, 2000). In both research and practice, Positive Psychology focuses less on human deficits and pathologies compared to traditional approaches, and more on the role of individual resources, which play an important role in the prevention of mental illness. An example of this are the personal strengths ("character strengths", Peterson & Seligman, 2004), whose identification and application in private and professional life have a positive influence on well-being and health.

Research on well-being can be broadly divided into two traditions (Deci & Ryan, 2008). In the hedonistic tradition, well-being is generally defined as the presence of positive affect and the virtual absence of negative affect (subjective well-being). In the eudaimonic tradition, well-being is conceptualized much more broadly. Here it is not only about experiencing positive affects, but also about experiencing life in a comprehensive and deeply satisfying way (psychologic well-being). This includes not only subjective well-being (e.g., life satisfaction, positive feelings) but also positive relationship with others, engagement, ability (e.g., self-efficacy), optimism, and experiencing meaning and autonomy (Su et al., 2014). Multiple associations have been found in research between the eudaimonic concept of psychological well-being and health, as well as increased life expectancy (Diener & Chan, 2011). Building on this, our research team is working with this concept and the goal of mapping the various facets as comprehensively as possible.

    Industrial and Organizational Psychology

Industrial and organizational psychology has a long tradition in the analysis of working conditions (work-related demands, stresses, and resources), that can stimulate or impair the well-being, health, motivation, and competence and personality development of employees (Grant, Fried & Juillerat, 2010; Ulich & Wülser, 2012). Especially for work activities in the health care sector, numerous scientific concepts and empirical findings are now available (de Jonge, Vlerick, Büssing, & Schaufeli, 2000; Glaser & Höge, 2004). In the WELL-MED project, in addition to established factors explaining work-related behaviors and experiences such as burnout and work engagement (Schaufeli & Bakker, 2004), newer and previously less studied potential factors influencing the psychophysical well-being of medical students and physicians in training are considered. These include, for example, the expression of the so-called sociomoral climate as a partial aspect of the organizational climate (Pircher Verdorfer, Weber, Unterrainer & Seyr, 2012).

Within the framework of the WELL-MED project, working conditions in hospitals are comprehensively surveyed using different methods: By means of quantitative surveys via online questionnaires in longitudinal section, by visits in the daily work routine with focus on the working climate as well as by means of personal interviews with physicians and training managers.