Center for Psychosocial… Institute for Medical… Research Gynecological…

Gynecological psychology

Project team "Gynecological Psychology"
(f. l. t. r.: Maren Schick, Sophie Schweizer, Tewes Wischmann, Beate Ditzen, Katja Schmalenberger; not shown: Réka Sexty, Anna-Lena Zietlow)


Project overview (here as a PDF):

Menstrual pain is a widely spread phenomenon: Most women suffer strong or mild pain during their menstruation. About 5 – 15 % of women have endometriosis, a common gynaecological disease that is often accompanied by pain. The study focuses on persons with or without endometriosis and their partners. In an fMRI and EMA pain perception will be examined as a function of stress, hormones and social interactions. The study takes place in cooperation with the Department of Gynaecological Endocrinology and Fertility Disorders at the Heidelberg University's Women's Hospital.

Running: 2019-2023
Funding: DFG (SFB 1158)
Head of project: Prof. B. Ditzen
Contact person: Dr. M. Eckstein, M. Schick, K. van Stein

We investigate fertility-specific quality of life and gender roles in infertile couples in Germany, Hungary and Jordan with a focus on psychosocial aspects and cultural backgrounds.

Running: since 2012
Funding: European Union and Republic of Hungary, partly by the European Social Fund TÁMOP-4.2.4.A/2-11/1-2012-0001 ‘National Excellence Program’ (Stipend R. Sexty)
Head of project: Réka Sexty, Tewes Wischmann
Contact person: Réka Sexty, Tewes Wischmann
First results: The analyses revealed the influence of cultural background on the fertility-specific quality of life to be smaller than expected. The variance within each studied population exceeded the variance between the populations. In Hungarian and German groups, the "combined" gender role behavior (both "expressive" and "instrumental" behavior) is associated with higher quality of life compared to "expressive" and "neutral" behavior.
Publications: Réka E. Sexty, Jehan Hamadneh, Sabine Rösner, Thomas Strowitzki, Beate Ditzen, Bettina Toth, Tewes Wischmann (2016): Cross-cultural comparison of fertility specific quality of life in German, Hungarian and Jordanian couples attending a fertility center. HQLO (EPub ahead of print).
Réka E. Cserepes, Antal Bugán, Tamás Kőrösi, Bettina Toth, Sabine Rösner, Thomas Strowitzki, Tewes Wischmann (2014): Infertility specific quality of life and gender role attitudes in German and Hungarian involuntary childless couples. Geburtshilfe Frauenheilkd. 74(11): 1009–1015.

The “FertiQoL“ questionnaire has been constructed internationally to assess the emotional, cognitive and somatic, social and relationship-relevant aspects of fertility-specific quality of life. We are validating the questionnaire in a sample of N=596 German couples/involuntary childless women in Heidelberg (N=452 women and men), Lübeck (N=119 women) and Munich (N=25 women).
Trial Registriation Number: DRKS00014707

Running: 2011-2013
Head of project: Réka Sexty, Tewes Wischmann
Contact person: Réka Sexty, Tewes Wischmann
First results: Our analysis did replicate the four main factors as identified in the original sample of the questionnaire FertiQoL, but a strong intercorrelation between two scales was found ín our sample.
Publications Réka E. Sexty, Georg Griesinger, Jana Kayser, Mariana Lallinger, Sabine Rösner, Thomas Strowitzki, Bettina Toth, Tewes Wischmann: Psychometric characteristics of the International FertiQoL questionnaire in a German sample of infertile women and men (submitted)

Qualitative und quantitative Untersuchung von Unerfülltem Kinderwunsch bei Männern im Zusammenhang mit Lebenszufriedenheit, Rollenkonstrukten und Kontrollüberzeugungen. Zudem  wurden die Dauer und Intensität des Behandlungsprozesses sowie Gründe für die Kinderlosigkeit in Bezug auf die Lebenszufriedenheit analysiert.

Laufzeit: 2013
Leitung: Maren Schick, Tewes Wischmann
Kontakt: Maren Schick

Schick, M., Rösner, S., Toth, B., Strowitzki, T., & Wischmann, T. (2015). Exploring involuntary childlessness in men - A qualitative study assessing quality of life, role aspects and control beliefs in men’s perception of the fertility treatmen process. Human Fertility. (EPub ahead of print)

Schick, M., Rösner, S., Toth, B., Strowitzki, T., Jank, A., Kentenich, H., Thoene C., & Wischmann, T. (2015). Effects of medical causes, role concepts and treatment stages on quality of life in involuntary childless men. Andrologia (EPub ahead of print)

Erfassung der Einstellungen von Frauen und Männern zu der kontrovers diskutierten Thematik um das vorsorgliche Einfrieren von Eizellen mittels einer anonymisierten Online-Erhebung. Im Besonderen soll der Einfluss von verschiedenen sozio-kulturellen Milieus auf die Einstellungen zu 'Social Freezing' in Deutschland untersucht werden.

Laufzeit: 2015
Leitung: Maren Schick, Réka Sexty, Lisa Göpfert, Tewes Wischmann, Beate Ditzen
Kontakt: Maren Schick
Zwischenergebnisse: Von April bis Juni 2015 beteiligten sich 553 Frauen und 90 Männer an dieser Online-Umfrage.

Schick M, Sexty R, Ditzen B, Wischmann T (2017): Attitudes towards “social oocyte freezing” from a socio-cultural perspective. Geburtsh Frauenheilk 77(7): 747-755.

In Zusammenarbeit mit dem Staatsinstitut für Familienforschung an der Universität Bamberg und der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Kinderwunschberatung (BKiD) wurde eine Online-Evaluation der psychosozialen Kinderwunschberatung duchgeführt. An dieser anonymen Umfrage konnten alle Fachkräfte der psychosozialen Kinderwunschberatung und deren Klient/inn/en teilnehmen. Weitere Informationen zu dieser Umfrage können Sie unter forschung(at) erhalten.




Birgit Mayer-Lewis, Petra Thorn, Tewes Wischmann


Tewes Wischmann


Diese Online Umfrage war vom 1. April 2016 bis zum 31. März 2017 freigeschaltet. Die Auswertung erfolgt.


 (in Vorbereitung)

In Cooperation with the Department of Gynaecological Endocrinology and Reproductive Medicine at the Women’s Hospital, University of Heidelberg, the relationship between partnership and sexuality of women with and without endometrioses and their partners as the impact of psychosocial variables as pain experience, stress, depression, anxiety, spirituality and wish for a child in regard of endometrioses will be investigated. DRKS-Number: 00014362

Running: 2016-2018
Head of project: Maren Schick, Tewes Wischmann, Beate Ditzen, Sabine Rösner and Ariane Germeyer
Contact person: Maren Schick

Everyday decision-making situations are usually unstructured and allow countless ways to react. Before making a decision, agents are mostly required to generate a set of options to choose from themselves. Due to accumulating data on the affective, motivational, and cognitive effects of the menstrual cycle, this projects investigates (1) if the number and creative and social quality of options generated in everyday decision-making is influenced by the menstrual cycle, and (2) if these effects are observable in all women and across different situations.

Running: since 2016
Head of project: Sophie Schweizer, Katja Schmalenberger, Beate Ditzen
Contact person: Sophie Schweizer, Katja Schmalenberger

Summary of the study here.

Collaborating centers and investigators

·         D: Heidelberg (A. Germeyer/PI: T. Wischmann; doctoral student: P. Pätsch), Berlin (H. Kentenich)

·         A: Innsbruck (B. Toth/B. Sperner-Unterweger)

·         CH: St. Gallen (F. Häberlin/I. Siercks), Basel (S. Tschudin/V. Ehrbar)

Aim of the study

Identification of psychological protective factors (e.g. self-efficacy) and risk factors (anxiety, depression, missing social support, negative cognitions) in women and men starting assisted reproductive treatment.


ScreenIVF-R[1], „Infertility Self-Efficacy Scale“[2], Soziodat (+ medical records data)

Time frame and sample size

May 2018 to July 2019, n > 500 couples (first contact in the fertility center)

Registration number

DRKS: 00014260

[1] Verhaak, C. M., A. M. E. Lintsen, A. W. M. Evers and D. D. M. Braat (2010). "Who is at risk of emotional problems and how do you know? Screening of women going for IVF treatment." Hum. Reprod. 25: 1234-1240.

[2] Cousineau, T. M., T. C. Green, E. A. Corsini, T. Barnard, A. R. Seibring and A. D. Domar (2006). "Development and validation of the Infertility Self-Efficacy scale." Fertil Steril 85(6): 1684-1696.

Running: 2018-2019
Head of study: Tewes Wischmann, Maren Schick
Contact: tewes.wischmann(at)

Additional projects (currently under analysis):

  • Quality of life and dyadic coping in involuntary childless couples
  • Fertility-specific quality of life and gender role experience in involuntary childless men
  • Evaluation of information material for endometriosis patients and their romantic partners and their shared experience of endometriosis
  • Attitudes towards “Social Freezing”- an online survey

Planned projects

  • Positive Adjustment Coping Intervention (PACI) in Case of Involuntary Childlessness - a Smartphone-supported Intervention Study as RCT
  • Screening of psychological vulnerability under hormonal fluctuations
  • Menstrual cycle related dependency of cognitive processes
  • Psychological aspects of uterus transplantation to fulfill genetic motherhood with uterine factor infertility (UterusTx)
  • Evaluation of different effects of psychosocial intervention modules in a group therapy setting for infertile women and men in Chile and Germany (Cooperation research project Santiago/Chile and Heidelberg/Germany)
  • Fertility and sexuality knowledge in couples seeking fertility treatment (Cooperation research project Porto/Portugal and Heidelberg/Germany)