Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

System Approach To Stress Management

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
3.09.00  Medical sciences  Psychiatry   

Code Science Field
B650  Biomedical sciences  Psychiatry, clinical psychology, psychosomatics 

Code Science Field
3.02  Medical and Health Sciences  Clinical medicine 
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (8)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  29860  PhD Voyko Kavcic  Neurobiology  Researcher  2013 - 2015  159 
2.  12481  PhD Blanka Kores Plesničar  Psychiatry  Researcher  2013 - 2015  398 
3.  30697  PhD Anja Kovanda  Neurobiology  Researcher  2013 - 2014  77 
4.  30987  PhD Nika Lalek  Microbiology and immunology  Researcher  2015  51 
5.  12479  PhD Virginija Novak Grubič  Psychiatry  Researcher  2013 - 2015  84 
6.  34292  Gregor Ramovš    Technical associate  2013 - 2014 
7.  24607  Lili Šincek  Psychiatry  Technical associate  2013 - 2015 
8.  05379  PhD Bojan Zalar  Medical sciences  Head  2013 - 2015  175 
Organisations (1)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  1620  University Psyhiatric Hospital  Ljubljana - Polje  1191004000  3,485 
Systemic research on stress burden is based on the so called allostatic load model where overloading with stress (distress) is the common denominator of numerous mental, somatic, and psychosomatic diseases of the modern age. In this context, the concept of stress (distress) is discussed in a broader sense since it includes all biological and psychological factors that, through the years, lead an individual from a state of health through pre-diseased into the diseased state (the end distress state or distress illness). Systemic stress research examines the dominant combinations of demographic, psycho-social, psychological, genetic, and several physiological parameters that represent the highest level of risk for developing a particular distress illness in the same study subjects. Other similar studies focus on finding illness-specific pathophysiological patterns of stressful activity on the mental and/or somatic level – they evaluate psychopathology and neuroendocrinological, psychophysiological, immunological, biochemical, or haematological stress response in patients with a known distress illness. In the broader sense, both approaches are aimed at finding illness-specific stress response patterns. This knowledge could significantly improve the management of those illnesses. However, these studies are limited to a single distress illness, they include only a few biological parameters, and they do not include an integral assessment of the subjects' psychological profile. Comparative and integrative studies that would include a group of healthy subjects and groups of patients with a predominantly mental, somatic, and psychosomatic illness, and thus elucidate the big picture of stressful activity, have not yet been conducted. The aim of the research programme is finding and cross-referencing patterns of integral psychological, psychosocial, and socioeconomic picture, and psychophysiological, neuroendocrinological, immunological, and genetic expression determinants of a stress response in both healthy subjects and subjects with one of three distress end conditions – predominantly mental (depressive disorder), predominantly somatic (breast cancer), and predominantly psychosomatic (bronchial asthma). The extension of the programme includes the determination of genetic predisposition in mental distress illnesses. The methods of exome analysis and a retrospective study of archive medical materials will be used. The latter will be used for finding family relationship between patients and their mentally ill relatives. With regard to the type of the gathered data and to the purpose of the analysis, the statistical processing will include data mining, factor analysis, variance analysis, regression analysis, and non-parametric statistical methods (Chi-square test, frequency distribution, Kruskal-Wallis test). The programme will yield important new knowledge in the field of stress. Together with the findings of related studies, it will enable the development of more effective prevention and treatment strategies for managing distress illnesses.
Significance for science
We have highlighted the role of genetic predispositions in case of mental disorders. Together with the findings of the related studies, new knowledge has been acquired with the programme that will serve as the basis for designing more effective preventive and therapeutic strategies for coping with chronic stress.
Significance for the country
Genetic background of mental disorders has been brought to attention of Slovene professional already in the year 2000. In the following 16 years, one research project has been completed and another one is still ongoing. In the scope of the two projects, several analyses have been performed. The origin of the majority of mental disorders cannot be allocated simply to the psyche or the body; they are inseparably intertwined through the entire process of allostatic loading. The unravelling of this question is relying more and more on genetic studies of the stress diathesis model and genetic predisposition for certain disorders; apart from nucleotide polymorphisms, epigenetic changes and disorder-specific target gene groups also play an important role. Characteristic genetic mutations or the variability of the genome in families with specific morbidities are also being researched with exome sequencing. Genetic research confirms the predominant role of hereditary predispositions in the pathogenesis of several disorders, i. e. the biological foundations. However, epigenetic studies reveal certain important molecular environmental mechanisms, including the well-established psychical influences (e. g. upbringing and mental experiences in the development period). First research of this kind was carried out in Slovenia.
Most important scientific results Annual report 2013, 2014, final report, complete report on dLib.si
Most important socioeconomically and culturally relevant results Annual report 2013, 2014, final report, complete report on dLib.si
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