Patrick Pössel

Patrick Pössel

Associate Professor
Educational & Counseling Psychology, Counseling, and College Student Personnel (ECPY)
Room 330 - College of Education and Human Development

Dr. Pössel curriculum vitae [PDF]

Dr. Pössel received his doctoral degree with a specialization in Clinical Psychology from the Eberhard-Karls-Universität in Tübingen (Germany) in 1999 and is licensed as clinical psychologist in Germany. He received his Diploma in Psychology (equivalent to a M.A. in the USA) from the Justus-Liebig-Universität in Giessen, Germany. Following his Diploma degree completion, he worked as clinical psychologist in a private practice, while he completed his doctoral studies. Prior to joining the faculty at the University of Louisville, Patrick worked as Assistant Professor at the University of Tübingen, and as Visiting Assistant Professor at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN. With his three independent research teams, he pursues three lines of research: First, Patrick is interested in prevention of depression in adolescents, and how to integrate prevention into the everyday life of teenager. Second, he studies the relationship between cognitive risk factors of depression, depressive symptoms, and physical health. Third, he studies the mechanisms underlying the association between prayers and mental health.

After developing and evaluating the universal prevention program LARS&LISA to reduce the incidence of depression in high-school students, he focuses now on the integration of prevention in everyday life at schools by the identification of teacher behaviors that prevent depression in students. This research team has two objectives. First, studying what influence teachers have on the development and maintenance of depression in teenager. More specifically, the effects of evaluative feedback and teaching behavior on adolescents are studied. The results of the first objective will be used to develop a new kind of prevention program of depression in adolescents for that teachers will be trained in evaluative feedback and behavior that protects adolescents from developing depression.

Students in this research team:

Allison Barnard, 2nd year PhD student
Yu-Yun Liu, 2nd year PhD student
Kevin Snellen, 2nd year Master student
Afia Tariq, 2nd year Master student

Several empirical studies indicate that depression increases the risk for coronary heart disease (CHD). While the association between depression and CHD is well supported, the objective of this string of research is to mechanisms underlying this association remain largely unknown. Thus, together with his research team, Patrick investigates some of these mechanisms. The episodic nature of depression, characterized by intermittent clinical and non-clinical periods, raises the question if depression and CHD are directly related or whether the underlying risk factors of depression (e.g., attribution style, dysfunctional attitudes, hopelessness, rumination) are associated with CHD, suggesting the impression that depression and CHD are associated. Therefore, associations between risk factors of depression and CHD are the main focus of this research team.

Students in this research team:

Lorna Busch, 5th year PhD student
Amanda Mitchell, 3rd year PhD student
Thomas Denise, 5th year PhD student

One factor that has been linked with depression is religiosity in general and religious behavior (e.g., praying) in particular. The importance of religiosity in the United States was highlighted in a national survey on religion (1991 – 1998), revealing that 95 percent of Americans believe in God or a universal spirit, 69 percent consider themselves religious, 49 percent attend worship weekly, and 42 percent pray alone frequently. Therefore, Patrick's research team studies the association between depression, well-established risk factors of depression, and prayer as religious behavior. The objective of this research team is to investigate the mechanisms underlying the association between prayers and depression after controlling for traditional risk factors of depression.

Students in this research team:

Benjamin Jeppsen, 4th year PhD student
Winkeljohn, Stephanie, 2nd year PhD student
Stephanie Winkeljohn, 3rd year PhD student


Patrick's work is financed by multiple external grants and published in Behaviour Research and Therapy, Biological Psychology, Cognitive Therapy and Research, Depression and Anxiety, Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, Journal of Clinical Psychology, Journal of Counseling Psychology, Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, and other professional journals and book chapters.

Patrick is committed to providing students with a stimulating and challenging learning environment, and encourages active engagement and participation of students in his research projects. The main goals of his mentoring are to help students (a) to develop their own research questions within the first year of their study, (b) to learn how to design and implement studies, and analyze data, and (c) to develop confidence in presenting their research on conferences and in journals.

Educational Background

  • PD, Psychology, University of Tübingen, 2004
  • Ph.D. Psychology, University of Tübingen, 1999
  • Dipl.-Psych. University of Giessen, Germany 1995

Teaching Areas

  • Intelligence & Intelligence Assessment
  • Assessment Practicum
  • Mental Health Practicum