Markus Jokela: Only scientific research can identify the factors affecting mental health

There are many different opinions on the factors affecting mental health. Markus Jokela, professor of psychology, is investigating which of them are true and how individual factors and our surroundings really mould us.

What are your research topics?

I study the interconnections between factors associated with individual psychology and societal structures. I look into how external factors affect people’s mental health, personality development and chronic disorders.

My research is especially based on longitudinal studies where information is collected from the same people over several years.

Where and how does the topic of your research have an impact?

My research produces knowledge on factors that impact health and wellbeing, as well as on the psychological development of humans. Naturally, everyone has a different opinion on these topics, but scientific research is the only thing that makes it possible to differentiate between facts and mere beliefs. In fact, one of the central themes of my work is the examination of causalities.

What is particularly inspiring in your field right now?  

The principles of open science have made scientific datasets available to all researchers. Such data provide valuable opportunities to answer research questions which require a number of studies to find reliable answers.

Furthermore, there are new attempts to assess the structure of mental health; alongside the conventional diagnostic classifications, models on the foundations and development of mental health based on modern methods are being created.

Watch Markus Jokela’s inaugural lecture as a new professor on 4 December 2019.

Markus Jokela is the professor of psychology at the Faculty of Medicine.