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GESYRES is an interdisciplinary project at the Ruhr-University Bochum. The project was a pilot study initiated in 2015 by researchers of the Faculty of Psychology, and was joined by researchers from the Faculty of Social Sciences and the Faculty of Medical Sciences in early 2017. The research group focuses on Syrian families with young children who sought refuge in Germany during the past few years. Syrian refugees are a vulnerable population due to its vast number of experienced stressors (e.g. malnutrition, sleep deprivation, travelling) and adverse life events (e.g. armed conflict, torture, loss of loved ones, and loss of property) during the war and flight period, as well as during the post-migration phase. It is essential to establish systematic knowledge about refugee families’ psychosocial status, risk and protective factors with impact on developmental outcomes to establish tailored health care programs and social interventions. The aim of GESYRES is to develop a coherent picture of biopsychosocial factors that influence the health needs of Syrian refugee families, as well as their social-cultural adjustment and psychological adaptation.

A multi-method longitudinal design provides evidence for the applied research questions:

  • a. Which psychosocial resources and burdens are characteristic for Syrian refugees?
  • b. What are the implications of experiencing armed conflict and forced displacement for developmental pathways in early childhood and for sociocultural as well as psychological adaptation processes in adulthood?
  • c. Which protective factors and risk factors are typical for this vulnerable group? How are these factors related to each other? 
  • d. How can prevention and intervention programs be effectively developed and improved? e. Is there an association between biomarkers of stress and adverse experiences?


  • Buchmüller, T., Lembcke, H., Busch, J., Kumsta, R., Wolf, O.T., & Leyendecker, B. (2020). Exploring hair steroid concetrations in asylum seekers, internally displaced refugees, and immigrants. Stress. 
  • Lembcke, H., Buchmüller, T., Leyendecker, B. (2020). Refugee mother-child dyads‘ hair cortisol, post-traumatic stress, and affectionate parenting. Psychoneuroendocrinology, Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2020 Jan;111:104470.