Health in vulnerable groups: Patterns of resources (IP2-health)

Research Agenda

Within the context of the "LIVES theoretical framework" conceptualising vulnerability as a dynamic process involving resources and stressors, this research group (IP2-health) aims to investigate factors contributing to inequality in health, with a specific focus on objective and subjective conditions creating vulnerability.

Our research will be in line with central assumptions of stress theory, which argue that individuals experience stress when they appraise certain circumstances as beyond their coping capacity, hence emphasizing the importance of subjective evaluations. And with research showing that the anticipation and perception of resource loss are key drivers of the stress experience. Under which circumstances individuals perceive their actual resources as sufficient, or consider them poor, leading to feelings of vulnerability, may depend on a person’s social or physical environment (including social norms and expectations), but also on psychological characteristics such as personality or tendency toward specific comparison.

Perceiving oneself as vulnerable may have either positive protective effects – allowing the identification of needs and prompting protective behaviour (e.g., proactive coping, help seeking) – or negative effects – generating feelings of depression or hopelessness and leading to risky health behaviours.

Which combinations of actual resources and resource perceptions are present in particular groups at risk, how this reflects in their feelings of vulnerability, and how these are associated – directly, or mediated via psychological characteristics – with physical and mental health outcomes, has received little attention so far.


Prof. Claudine Burton-Jeangros (University of Geneva - Unige)
Prof. Daniela Jopp (University of Lausanne - Unil)

  • UNIL: Joëlle Darwiche, Eva Green, Valentino Pomini, Dario Spini
  • University of Bern: Hans-Jörg Znoj
Researchers and post-docs
  • UNIL: Emmanuelle Anex, Anik Debrot, Claudia Meystre, Davide Morselli, Hannah Klaas
  • UNIGE: Boris Cheval, Aline Duvoisin, Yves Jackson
  • University of Fribourg: Stéphane Cullati
  • University of Bern: Jeannette Brodbeck
  • Swiss Paraplegic Research: Claudio Peter, Valérie Carrard
Doctoral students
  • UNIL: Aurélie Chopard-dit-Jean, Annahita Ehsan, Charikleia Lampraki, Minja Leko 
  • UNIGE: Liala Consoli, Julien Fakhoury, Stefan Sieber
  • Swiss Paraplegic Research: Caroline Schwarz-Debnar