lifestyle, public and individual health, quality of life, social deprivation


Resilience, Life Quality and Demographic Change

Epigenetics and lifestyle had been shown to affect a health-related quality of life (HRQOL) that plays an important role in occurrence, development and course of chronic and acute diseases. Investigation of factors associated with HRQOL with the attempt to change the modified ones became one of the most important directions of contemporary research.

Despite the large technological progress in European countries, social deprivation of different populational sub-groups based on their age, gender, occupation, and social stigma still have place, and reasons for such deprivation differ between countries. This difference is grounded on country-specific conditions, habits and stereotypes. Demographic changes that occur during the last decade pose additional challenge concerning reduction of social deprivation. Deprived groups are in disadvantage in their basic needs, working conditions, and lifestyle factors, and that can result in their reduced resilience in everyday and in extreme life conditions. Reduced resilience of some populational subgroups affects in its turn the global health of the entire population.

The aim of this Lab is to investigate the influence of epigenetic, demographic, psychological, lifestyle, social, collective and individual factors on HRQOL and resilience of different populations and populational sub-groups.

Lab universities will share its experience in multicentre investigations related to all mentioned subjects. In cooperation with scientific organizations and societies, Lab will provide students and staff with possibilities to participate in scientific and educational events, conferences and symposia. Cooperation between universities will have a grate perspective using a multicentre approach and possibilities of the FORTHEM Alliance.

Research areas

  1. Association of lifestyle-induced changes in microbiome with HRQOL
  2. Modern lifestyle, stress and HRQOL and their effect on resilience of different groups of population
  3. Public awareness of connections between lifestyle, HRQOL and chronic diseases: myths and perceptions in international context
  4. Lifestyle and stress-induced changes in HRQOL, and their relation to stroke and cardio-vascular health
  5. Providing evidence-based information for communication on healthy lifestyle for decision makers on healthcare topics
  6. Interrelation of lifestyle, biochemical and physiological indicators and gene expression
  7. Impact of stress and resilience capacity in risky environments (work, disaster, epidemic etc.).

Planned outputs of the Lab and current work in progress

Working title of output 

Contact details  

Aims and content  

Format of the output 

MeCOPES: Mechanisms of coping with pandemic-induced individual economic shocks is a longitudinal study on resilience during the Covid-19 Pandemic. Addressed to anyone working in or closely related to creative industries (e.g. artists, actors, musicians, DJs, professional athletes, guides, backstage workers, event planners, caterers, florists …).

The project is carried out as a collaboration of the seven European universities within the framework of FORTHEM-Alliance: University of Latvia, Latvia; Université de Bourgogne, France; Jyväskylän yliopisto, Finland; Johannes-Gutenberg-Universität Mainz Germany; Uniwersytet Opolski, Poland; Università degli Studi di Palermo, Italy; Universitat de València, Spain.

  • gain a better understanding of the ways pandemics affect societies to prepare for potential future crises.
  • look at how flexible people being employed in the creative industries are to face such a crisis
  • learn how the state-imposed disease control strategies  have affected people's overall wellbeing and economic situation.

The results will serve as an exit point to help policy makers draft better strategies in the future.

  • An online questionnaire with participants being contacted to follow-up measurements every two months with a total of six measurement points (overall duration of the study is one year)
  • Accompanying seminars on the topic of resilience and coding workshops for the contributing students
  • Transnational data analysis

Educational project addressed to Master’s or PhD Students of the School of Medicine (including Dentistry) or Biology, which consists of a 5-days summer school entitled: ”Building a pathway to health: Coping strategies and correct lifestyles”.  

University of Palermo, Associate Professor Domenica Matranga, 

The following topics will be included:  

  • Epidemiology of non–communicable chronic diseases and their determinants: data and methods; 
  • Balanced nutrition and healthy diets, with special focus to Whole-food and Plant-based Diet; 
  • Physical activity: physiological mechanisms and health impact; 
  • The neurobiology of addiction. A vulnerability/resilience perspective; 
  • Resilience to meet the challenge of addiction: alcohol and tobacco, drugs of abuse; 
  • Behavioural addictions: game, web, sexual addictions; 
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases and sexual behaviour; 
  • Coping strategies, communicative skills, decision making;  
  • - Psychologic well-being.  

1. Lectures - recorded and avaliable in internet.  

2. An online questionnaire to be administered to the attending students in order to gather information about their lifestyle behaviours, and their knowledge of communicative skills. 

Educational activity on “Methodology for epidemiological/ psychological investigations for quality-of-life and resilience thematic”. Addressed to Master’s or PhD Students and scientists.  

University of Latvia, Lilian Tzivian, 

  • proper planning of a scientific research – methodological problems; 
  • survey studies in representative or convenience samples; 
  • problems related to translation of questionnaires in international studies;  
  • cross-sectional versus longitudinal studies; 
  • questionnaire development and validation;  
  • qualitative studies, their interpretation;  
  • bias and misclassification in epidemiological studies; 
  • a problem of confounding, Direct Acyclic Graph as a method to reduce confounding; 
  • - systematic reviews and meta-analyses  

1. Recorded lectures available in internet. 

Stress-related factors and QOL of adolescents – longitudinal study on 9th grade schoolers  

UL, Lilian Tzivian 

Longitudinal study on association between somatization, depressive symptoms and HRQOL of adolescents from regular and high-rated schools.  

Publications in scientific journals, presentations at the International Society of Quality of Life research conference 

QOL of patients with or got over breast cancer  

UL, Lilian Tzivian 

Cross-sectional study, ongoing, planned  

Publications in scientific journals, presentations at scientific conferences 

Gains, losses and HRQOL of mothers of children with autistic spectrum disorder 

UL, Lilian Tzivian 

Cross-sectional study on differences in lifestyle of mothers of autistic children in Latvia and Israel  

Publications in scientific journals, presentation at the International Epidemiology Association conference or similar. 

Factors associated with QOL of first course medical students  

UL, Lilian Tzivian 

Cross-sectional study 

Publication in scientific journal; recommendations for Medical faculties. 


Lab contact information

Alliance level Contact Person

University of Latvia, Riga Associate Professor Lilian Tzivian


University level Contact Persons

Johannes Gutenberg University, Germany Professor Raffael Kalisch
Johannes Gutenberg University, Germany Privatdozent, Doctor Pascal Nicklas
University of Jyväskylä, Finland Associate Professor Mikaela von Bonsdorff
University of Jyväskylä, Finland Associate Professor Monika von Bonsdorff
University of Burgundy, France Professor Alexandra Laurent
University of Opole, Poland Associate Professor Dominika Malchar-Michalska
University of Palermo, Italy Associate Professor Domenica Matranga
University of Palermo, Italy Administrative Manager: Valentina D’Anna
University of Latvia, Riga Head of International Relations Aline Grzibovska
University of València, Spain Professor Silvia Corchón Arreche
University of València, Spain Lecturer Vanessa Sánchez Martínez,

Associated partners contributing to the Lab

Neuroimaging Center, Mainz

: a platform for cognitive neuroscience studies using magnetic resonance imaging, non-invasive neurostimulation and other methods serving to study the structure and function of the brain and mental processes:

Intresa, the International Resilience Alliance, which has a young researchers network that includes mentorship by more advance scientists and free access to the symposium and other things:

Latvian Society of Epidemiologists: informational support of Lab events (agreed with founders of the society):

International Society of Quality of Life research (ISQOL)

: informational support, possibility for up-to-date knowledge becoming ISQOLS members. For students and staff with ISQOLS membership: receiving ISQOLS newsletters on newest progress in QOL studies; reduced yearly conference fees and possibility for free participation in relevant pre-conference workshops. In the case of international studies on QOL, Lab students will have a possibility to apply for cooperation (agreed with the President of ISQOLS, Mr. Ming-Chang Tsai and Executive Director, Mr. Jill Johnson):

Highlighted events of the Lab

Prognosed alliance-level events:  

  • Alliance level kick-off meeting occurred on the 9th of November 2020 (Teams platform, all the universities);  
  • Special section on stress, resilience and QOL at the yearly organized International Scientific Conference of the University of Latvia 23.04.2021 (UL);  
  • Summer School “Methodology for epidemiological/ psychological investigations  for quality-of-life and resilience thematic” (UL) or "Building a pathway to health: coping strategies and correct lifestyles" (UNIPA).  
  • International Symposium on Resilience Research (September 23-25, 2020; young investigator talks, poster presentations, young researchers’ network (Mainz); 
  • Educational project addressed to Master’s or PhD Students of the School of Medicine (including Dentistry) or Biology, which consists of a 5-days summer school entitled “Building a pathway to health: Coping strategies and correct lifestyles” (UNIPA).