Student research and theses

The Institute of Social Medicine, Rehabilitation Sciences and Health Services Research regards students in their role as researchers as an important building block for obtaining new knowledge in science. Within their activities as project collaborators, student assistants or especially when working on and writing theses, they help to point out important developments and findings by means of their contributions.

Master thesis

Master theses in the course of the research project "Transgenerational Effects

Leonie Krahl (Master Therapeutische Soziale Arbeit) 

Topic: Meaning and transmission of forced migration in family memory A qualitative content analysis based on contrastive individual cases.


Families as communities of memory visualize their past within the framework of their communicative family memory. In doing so, the past has a vivid effect on the present through transgenerational processes, in that family memory shapes norms, values as well as identity. The aim of this master thesis is to examine the memory contents of communicative family memory on the basis of two contrasting families in which the grandparents' generation was displaced from the former East German territories after World War II. In the following step, hypotheses on family structure in relation to family memory will be generated. The investigation is carried out with the help of interviews as well as the evaluation on the basis of the qualitative content analysis, in which category systems are formed in order to carry out comparisons between the contrastive individual cases based on this. In families, considerable differences can be observed with regard to the communicative handling of the past as well as the meaning of memories. One family actively engages in memory work, which strengthens its unitary community as a family and promotes a reflexive approach to its past by using it for its future. In contrast, in the other family, there is little transmission of the expulsion in the family memory and it gives the impression of distancing or closure with their past. In the course of hypothesis generation, a connection between family memory and the degree of family cohesion can be assumed: A high importance of the family past as well as a recurring common recollection in conversations may contribute to cohesion as well as to close ties within the family. The investigation of the hypotheses by means of case reconstruction represents a building step on this work.

Fady Guirguis (Master Therapeutische Soziale Arbeit) 

Topic: Transgenerational effects of value orientation in the context of forced migration after World War II. A qualitative and quantitative analysis of value types of displaced and refugee families from Silesia and their descendants.


Value change and value transmission have come under increasing scrutiny in many scholarly fields in recent years. However, this has not been sufficiently addressed in the context of forced migration, or there are hardly any empirical studies in this regard. Methodology: Using a mixed-methods design, a sample (nationwide) of N = 746 people displaced from Silesia and their descendants will be used to examine their value types. The main measurement instrument is the questionnaire "Portraits Value Questionnaire" (PVQ-21). With the help of the ESS data set, it was possible to compare the value orientation of the respondents with the overall population in Germany. In addition, qualitative data was used to explore the possible influence on the emergence of value types among displaced persons and on the transmission of values among the second and third generations. Results: Displaced persons show higher values of tradition, conformity, achievement, stimulation, and universalism than the total population of the same age in Germany. Overall, the displaced families (three generations) show above-average universalism, whereas the value type hedonism is below average among them. Conclusion: The displacement experience seems to play a particularly strong role with regard to the value orientation of the displaced persons themselves. While values conformity and achievement serve to increase social recognition and are considered a protective strategy against discrimination in the host country, the significance of the value types tradition and universalism is related to the loss of home.