The idea

Stress is part of our everyday life – chronic and repeated exposure to stressors can, however, negatively impact our mental and physical integrity. It is therefore crucial to find ways to effectively deal with stress in daily life and thus, promote mental and physical health. By investigating various interventions for stress reduction and health promotion, we aim to study their biopsychological effects on stress-related outcomes and their benefits for the mind and body. We are interested in different approaches to cope with stress and conduct studies both in the lab and the field. We combine ambulatory assessment interventions and biological measurement techniques. By using our state-of-the-art equipment, we assess psychophysiological, endocrine, immune, and genetic parameters to explore the effects of innovative interventions on the various dimensions of stress.

Current Projects

An Ecological Momentary Music Intervention (EMMI) for the reduction of stress in everyday life


Music listening is an easy-to-administer activity that is associated with lower levels of biological and self-reported stress, according to previous experimental and recent ecological momentary assessment (EMA) studies. Building upon these previous findings, we developed an ecological momentary music intervention (EMMI) aiming at alleviating stress in everyday life.

The project

The EMMI is a smartphone-based intervention that provides the opportunity to listen to self-selected relaxing music when feeling stressed as participants go through their everyday life, i.e. music is provided just-in-time, when most needed. Besides subjective stress, saliva samples are used to measure effects on biological stress indicators (cortisol, alpha-amylase). In addition, we implemented various applications to track the participants’ music listening behavior and background music. 


Efficacy, Treatment Characteristics, and Biopsychological Mechanisms of Music-Listening Interventions in Reducing Pain (MINTREP): A Three-Armed Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial


Music listening is an effective tool in pain and stress management. Some music-related characteristics are suspected to have specific impact on health-related outcomes. One of these is concerning the selection of the music. Even though participant-selected music is often recommended for clinical use, more studies are needed to find out if participant-selected music really has stronger pain- and stress-reducing effects than music that is chosen by researchers. Also, inherent components of the music might have an impact on pain and stress reactions. As such, frequency-related components are potentially capable of influencing stress and pain parameters. More research is needed to find out if the modulation of frequencies has additional positive effects on pain and stress reactions.

The project

Healthy participants are randomly allocated to one of three groups (with participant-selected music, researcher-selected music, researcher-selected music with additional modulations in frequency-related components). In each group, participants come to our lab 10 times and listen to music for one hour during each session. Additionally, a baseline, post and follw-up assessment are conducted. Pain is induced by the cold pressor test. Pain intensity, pain tolerance, parameters of heart rate variability, electrodermal activity, hair cortisol, and subjective stress are measured.

A trial registration by Feneberg et al. (last update posted 2019) of the project is available under the following link:

The published study protocol by Feneberg et al. (2020) is available here:


SPIROMIND STUDY - A mindfulness-based intervention for the reduction of psychological distress and stress in COPD patients following exacerbations


Stress can have a huge impact on various mental and physical health outcomes in different long-term conditions. In chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), patients do not only suffer from physical symptoms like breathlessness, but frequently also from stress and psychological distress. Exacerbations, defined as an acute worsening in respiratory symptoms, are especially challenging for COPD patients.

Mindfulness could be a promising approach to improve the mental (and physical) health of COPD patients following exacerbations. Mindfulness interventions are effective in reducing psychological distress and stress-related outcomes in other long-term conditions. However, research on mindfulness interventions in COPD is still very scarce.

The project

In the SPIROMIND STUDY, our goal is to find out whether mindfulness interventions can improve stress-related outcomes and psychological distress in COPD patients following acute exacerbations. We aim to start filling this research gap in a collaboration project between the Karl Landsteiner Institute for Lung Research and Pneumological Oncology, Vienna, Austria, and the Department for Clinical and Health Psychology, Vienna, Austria, combining our knowledge from both medicine and clinical and health psychology.

Collaboration Institutes

Karl Landsteiner Institute for Lung Research and Pneumological Oncology, Vienna, Austria

Department for Clinical and Health Psychology, Vienna, Austria

Clincal Trials Sites

Klink Ottakring – Department of Pneumology, Vienna, Austria

Klinik Flordisdorf – Department for Internal Medicine and Pneumology, Vienna, Austria



For any further information regarding our project and current studies please contact us: