Sick unemployed – Same benefits but fewer sanctions – Results from the research group in the FIS briefing

This year’s FIS Forum had to be cancelled due to the effects of the corona pandemic. Nevertheless, current research results from the project could be published in this year’s FIS-Briefing 2020 of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (BMAS). The MEPYSO publication can be found here, all other contributions here.

New Publication: Medicalisation and psychologisation of poverty? An analysis of the scientific poverty discourse from 1956 to 2017

Stephan Krayter and Nadine Reibling just published a systematic review of scientific publications on poverty in the Journal of Poverty and Social Justice. In this article, the authors ask whether medical and psychological disciplines are increasingly publishing on poverty and whether they are outpacing economic and legal disciplines. The results indicate that this is indeed the case. In recent decades, medicine and psychology have been among the fastest growing scientific disciplines dealing with the issue of poverty. This points to a change in the way poverty is recognized in the scientific community.

Krayter, S., & Reibling, N. (2020). Medicalisation and psychologisation of poverty? An analysis of the scientific poverty discourse from 1956 to 2017.

MEPYSO junior research team – extended.

The Funding Network Interdisciplinary Social Policy Research (FIS) of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (BMAS) has approved the second phase of our research project. The team is excited about two more years of social policy research (until 7/31/2022).  Our focus will be summarizing our results in our planned book and developing further our recommendations for policy and practice.

Project Seminar in MEPYSO

In the past semester, students collected data with an extended version of our vignette study within the context of a project seminar entitled “Only difficult or ill? A project seminar on the medicalization of child behavior?”. The data were collected with 625 students and employees of the university of Siegen. The respondents have similar attitudes as the sample of our representative study from last year. About 60% of the respondents believe that children who do not completely fit the norm receive immediately a diagnosis (representative sample: 54%). Moreover, 90% disapprove with starting with medication therapy in the case of children with behavioral problems.

MEPYSO at the FIS-Forum in Berlin, 08.-09.10.2019

Also this year, the MEPYSO team was represented at the Forum of Interdisciplinary Social Policy Research (FIS) of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs in Berlin. Current work of FIS-funded scientists was presented there under the motto “Dialogue, Strategy and Networking”. Dr. Nadine Reibling, Mareike Ariaans, Stephan Krayter and Philipp Linden presented current results from the MEPYSO project and gave a lecture on “The role of medicine and psychology in the German welfare state”.

MEPYSO at ESPANET Conference in Stockholm, September 5-7, 2019

From September 5th to 7th 2019 the MEPYSO project participated at the ESPANET conference in Stockholm and presented two current research articles:

Philipp Linden & Nadine Reibling: Medicalization as alternative path through welfare? Determinants of the transition from unemployment to a medical leave status in the German social policy system.

Stephan Krayter & Nadine Reibling: Has poverty been increasingly medicalized? An empirical study of the scientific poverty discourse

New Publication in Europe Now: Engine or Breaks? European Welfare States and the Medicalization of Social Problems

As part of the special feature Public Health in Europe a paper by Nadine Reibling was published on the question how the welfare state affects, to what extent doctors and medication are used to deal with social problems. The paper shows that social and health policy are crucial for medicalization processes, e.g. pharmaceutical regulation is responsible for the much lower consumption of psychotropic drugs in Europe compared to the liberal US. In contrast, the welfare state can also contribute to medicalization, e.g. through activation policies that foster sick leave and self-perceived disabilities for persons on minimum income benefits.

Reibling, N. (2019): Engine and Brakes: European Welfare States and the Medicalization of Social Problems. Europe Now,

Publication: Rather sick and unemployed than “just” unemployed?

The first project publication is online!

  • What role does stigmatization, triggered by a status of unemployment, play in the lives of affected persons?
  • How widespread and stressful is such a stigmatization?
  • And does the perceived stigmatisation change as a result of medicalisation, e.g. when those affected are exempted from the compulsory job search/recording due to health restrictions?

Answers from a study with quantitative data are now available under:

Linden P., Reibling, N., Krayter, S. (2018): „Lieber krank und arbeitslos als nur arbeitslos?“ Die Auswirkungen der Medikalisierung von arbeitslosen Personen auf Stigmatisierungsprozesse