Longitudinal determination of resilience in humans to identify mechanisms of resilience to modern-life stressors: the longitudinal resilience assessment (LORA) study

Eur Arch Psychiatry Clin Neurosci. 2020 Jul 18. doi: 10.1007/s00406-020-01159-2. Online ahead of print.


Resilience is the maintenance and/or quick recovery of mental health during and after periods of adversity. It is conceptualized to result from a dynamic process of successful adaptation to stressors. Up to now, a large number of resilience factors have been proposed, but the mechanisms underlying resilience are not yet understood. To shed light on the complex and time-varying processes of resilience that lead to a positive long-term outcome in the face of adversity, the Longitudinal Resilience Assessment (LORA) study has been established. In this study, 1191 healthy participants are followed up at 3- and 18-month intervals over a course of 4.5 years at two study centers in Germany. Baseline and 18-month visits entail multimodal phenotyping, including the assessment of mental health status, sociodemographic and lifestyle variables, resilience factors, life history, neuropsychological assessments (of proposed resilience mechanisms), and biomaterials (blood for genetic and epigenetic, stool for microbiome, and hair for cortisol analysis). At 3-monthly online assessments, subjects are monitored for subsequent exposure to stressors as well as mental health measures, which allows for a quantitative assessment of stressor-dependent changes in mental health as the main outcome. Descriptive analyses of mental health, number of stressors including major life events, daily hassles, perceived stress, and the ability to recover from stress are here presented for the baseline sample. The LORA study is unique in its design and will pave the way for a better understanding of resilience mechanisms in humans and for further development of interventions to successfully prevent stress-related disorder.

Keywords: Deep phenotyping; Longitudinal; Modern-life stressors; Resilience.