Research projects

Personality and Mental Health among Khoekhoe-speakers and other groups in Namibia

2018 - in progress


Head : Amber Gayle Thalmayer


Project partners : 


Dr. Elizabeth N. Shino, University of Namibia   

Dr. Theodore Bartholomew, Purdue University, United States

Mr. Sylvanus Job, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany

Prof. Gerard Saucier of the University of Oregon (USA) 

Prof. Jerome Rossier of the University of Lausanne (Switzerland)    


The majority of our evidence in psychology comes from western, industrialized, individualistic cultures – a global minority. This Swiss National Science Foundation project will develop a comprehensive model of personality in the Khoekhoe language of Namibia, and will explore patterns of psychological disorder symptoms among both Khoekhoe- and Oshiwambo-speakers. Results will test the universality versus cultural specificity of current models of personality and psychopathology.  A comprehensive framework for personality measurement in the local context and explorations of views on mental health, will also contribute groundwork to local researchers and aid in the appropriate adaptation of psychology to Namibia.



Initial qualification for adults in the canton of Vaud: current state and improvement proposals

2018 - in progress


Head of research : Prof Jérôme Rossier


Applicant : Robin Zufferey


In 2016, the government of the Canton of Vaud has granted a funding of 3.9 million francs for developing and implementing a vocational certification process targeted at adults with no or low qualifications. The main objective of the General Directorate of Post-Compulsory Education of the canton of Vaud (DGEP) is to increase the number of professionally qualified adults through improving the efficiency of the current qualification procedure. The specific goals include implementing an adult coaching scheme, improving initial (prerequisites) and academic training , and fostering collaboration between the partners.


With these goals set, the DGEP has mandated the University of Lausanne to conduct an external evaluation of the adult qualification process. The goal of this evaluation is to provide the DGEP with new instruments to improve the current system and its success rate.

Development and validation of a multidimensional questionnaire on the report to work (QRT): An international research

2013 - in progress

Head of research: Prof. Geneviève Fournier, researcher at the Center for Research and Intervention on Education and Life at Work (CRIEVAT), Laval University, Quebec, Canada.
Collaboration for Switzerland: Prof. Jonas Masdonati and Prof. Christian Maggiori.

A CRIEVAT researcher group has set up a research program to develop a questionnaire on inviduals’ relationship to work (QRT). This research study is included in the works of the UNESCO Chair Lifelong Guidance, led by Prof. Jean Guichard. It has three objectives: (1) to test the questionnaire on large stratified samples according to different sociobiographical and socio-occupational variables; (2) to understand the role of culture, age, gender and employment status in people’s relationship to work (intercultural, intergenerational and inter-gender comparison); and (3) to perform international comparisons according to other sociobiographical and socioprofessional relevant variables. The CePCO will participate in this project to adapt and validate the questionnaire with students and workers residing in Switzerland.

For a description of the project:

Anyone who is on the Swiss job market and wants to participate in the research can complete the QRT by clicking on the following link: fr (it only takes about 30 minutes!)

Descriptif QRT  (276 Ko)

Perception of decent work and the future among low qualified youths in northern and southern countries

2017 - in progess

Principal investigator : Prof. Valérie Cohen-Scali, INETOP/CNAM, Paris.
Investigator for the Swiss part : Prof. Jérôme Rossier et Prof. Jonas Masdonati.

In recent years, researchers in vocational psychology and work psychology have been studying the main consequences of labor evolutions on the psychic health, well-being and identity of individuals. Working conditions are subject to an increasingly unstable labor market, which has created a feeling of insecurity and a growth in the level of stress and anxiety. The globalization of the economy (with the spread of new technologies, increasing trade in goods and services, increased financial and capital flows, and the movement of people) has led to job creation and economic development in some countries. But in many countries, this has led to an increase in precarious work and the informal economy. Precarious workers are more numerous, as are those who have multiple jobs without social protection and those who are unemployed. The young are the most concerned by these changes in the world of work and few of them receive decent work. Different studies have shown the variety of work situations encountered by young people in high-income countries, and in particular the role of a good quality of work and work contexts on occupational intentions and the ability to build prospects. The objective of this research is to better understand the working situations of young people in different parts of the world and to identify their perceptions of their work and their future. It is therefore necessary to compare the situations and perceptions of young people concerning their work, in high, middle and low income countries.

The CePCO is in charge of the Swiss part of this international research project, which is carried out under the aegis of the UNESCO chair on Lifelong guidance and counseling and the UNITWIN network Life designing interventions (counseling, guidance, education) for decent work and sustainable development.

Decent Work and Well-being: A Mixed and Intercultural Approach

2017 – in progress

Main applicants: Prof. Jérôme Rossier, Prof. Jonas Masdonati et Kokou Atitsogbe
In collaboration with: Dr. Abdoulaye Ouédraogo, Prof. Marc Schreiber et Dr. Jenny Marcionetti
Head of the international study: Prof. David Blustein et Prof. Ryan Duffy


The Psychology of Working Theory (Duffy, Blustein, Diemer, & Autin, 2016) suggests that subjective working conditions depend both on contextual and personal aspects. These conditions may satisfy the different needs identified by the theory of self-determination (Ryan & Deci, 2000) that are directly related to the well-being of individuals. Within this framework and in connection with the Agenda 2030 of the United Nations, a decent work scale has been developed (Duffy et al., 2017).

Taking advantage of these different developments, a first joint study conducted in Burkina Faso, in collaboration with Dr. Abdoulaye Ouedraogo, University of Ouaga 1, Pr. Joseph Ki-Zerbo, on the link between working conditions, decent work, career planning and well-being in a population working in the informal and formal sector has been conducted. Fifty participants have been interviewed and 500 completed a survey. This work will allow us to continue a very fruitful collaboration between our research center and the University of Ouaga 1, Prof. Joseph Ki-Zerbo (e.g., Rossier, Ouedraogo, & Dahourou, 2017).

A second study is currently conducted in Switzerland on the link between job stability, work stress, decent work, self-efficacy, work volition, and well-being. It will be conducted in the three linguistic regions of Switzerland, in collaboration with Prof. Marc Schreiber from the Institute of Applied Psychology Zurich and Dr. Jenny Marcionetti from the Scuola Universitaria Professionale della Svizzera Italiana (SUPSI). The sample will include more than 600 participants. This study is part of a large international project, led by Prof. David Blustein, Boston College, USA, and Prof. Ryan Duffy, University of Florida, USA.

Finally, a final study is being prepared for a submission to the Swiss Program for Research on Global Issues for Development (r4d) which aims to analyze guidance services (to promote policy measures at macro level), to develop guidance interventions and entrepreneurship promotion sessions (micro actions) adapted to the context of Burkina Faso and Togo. This new research theme will make it possible to evaluate the impact of macro (on framework conditions) and micro actions (measures for specific populations) on the link between working conditions and well-being.

Web page

LIVEs NCCR – Parcours professionnels (Projet IP207)

2011 – in progress

Applicants : Prof. Jérôme Rossier, Prof. Alexandra M. Freund, Prof. Fransciska Krings, Prof. Christian Maggiori, Prof. Willibad Ruch, Dr. Greg Bollmann, Dr. Fabian Gander, Dr. Jennifer Hofmann, Dr. Koorosh Massoudi, Dr. Ieva Urbanaviciute, Shagini Udayar

This project uses a broad psychological perspective and observes the roles of environmental resources and the cultural context in order to study direct and moderator/mediator effects: (1) Individual characteristics (such as personality, strength of character or belief in one; (2) occupational conditions and requirements (e.g. workplace stress, workplace discrimination, job insecurity); and (3) individual resources (such as self-adaptation, self-efficacy or self-regulation) on the transitions and career paths of adults. The longitudinal approach to a sample of middle-aged adults (aged 25 to 55), with and without employment, focuses on identifying vulnerabilities and psychological resources or resilience factors, in order to predict objective and subjective career paths.


Influence of dysfunctional personality traits on the professional integration of young adults

2015 - 2018

Applicants: Prof. Jérôme Rossier, Prof. Valentino Pomini, Koorosh Massoudi, Prof. Charles Bonsack.
Associated Researchers : Philippe Handschin, Maxime Rochat, Christine Besse, Philippe Golay, Danièle Spagnoli.
Funding: Swiss National Science Foundation (FNRS)

The socio-economic factors that influence the process of professional integration of young adults are fairly well known, but little research has focused on the individual variables involved, notably the links between mental health and work integration. This project aims to fill in these gaps by studying the influence of normal and dysfunctional personality traits on school-to-work transition. Participants are young adults between the ages of 16 and 25, most of them without vocational or academical training, who take part in the FORJAD program (a professional integration program financed by the State of Vaud). Through a longitudinal follow-up of the participants over 18 months, we hope to gain a better understanding of the relationship between personality and professional integration, and thus provide answers and tools to professionals involved in reintegration programs.

Career reorientation and return to vocational or technical training: the case of young adults aged 25-40

2014 - 2017

Applicant: Prof. Jonas Masdonati
Funding: Quebec Research Fund - Society and Culture (FRQSC), Canada

In a socio-economic context where career paths are diversified, career transitions are increasing and more complex. When these transitions involve learning, they are mostly through a return to school. This research aims to understand the challenges of a career reorientation process in adults who undertake vocational training after having passed through the labor market. It fills a lack of knowledge of this population and contributes, therefore, to the design of measures to accompany a return to training adapted to its specific characteristics. The research is based on a theoretical framework incorporating emerging concepts in vocational science, including the Life Design approach, systemic career theory, and the Psychology of Working Theory, and the life-course approach. 

Feedback3: Evaluative research on the introduction of a new teaching tool in counseling and intervention delivered by Koorosh Massoudi (2016)


Applicants: Shekina Rochat, Xavier Bodoira, & Koorosh Massoudi.
Funding: Fund of Pedagogical Innovation (FIP).

A new method of evaluating applied practice in psychology was introduced in a bachelor's degree course in Psychology 2014. Its objective was to improve the students' skills to show empathy and meta-reflection during interviews about psychological problems. To do this, students are filmed for a short video including 3 minutes of role-playing simulating a psychological interview and 2 minutes of critical appraisal. The students then receive individual written feedback from the teachers on their performance in the role play and on the quality of their critical analysis. In view of students’ enthusiasm for this new method of evaluation, the current project aims to evaluate its pedagogical effectiveness through a pre-post design.

Link (in French)


In-vitro Learning : Evaluative research on the introduction of a new pedagogical tool in teaching "Initiation to consultations" given by Koorosh Massoudi (2017)


Applicants: Shekina Rochat & Koorosh Massoudi.
Funding: Fund of Pedagogical Innovation (FIP).

The University of Lausanne offers students of the Master in Counseling and Vocational Psychology the opportunity to benefit from a combination of theory and practice by conducting psychological interventions supervised by professionals. The success of this system requires rigorous training for students to prepare them to conduct psychological interviews and handle the problems of clients appropriately. This project aims to reinforce this preparatory stage and lay the groundwork for students’ future professional integration through the development of a series of videos presenting common problems and current issues in practice as well as the different phases of a psychological management.

Link (in French)


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