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DISA – Digital Inclusion in the Context of Social Anxiety Disorders

The project addresses digital inclusion in the context of social anxiety disorders.

Logo des Projekts DISA - Digitale Inklusion im Kontext Sozialer Angststörungen
Research project
Forming Society
Federal Ministry of Education and Research, FKZ: 13FH536SX7

Contrary to the frequently held premise that digital media fundamentally enable social participation, the project seeks a more differentiated approach: Digital media can also be used specifically to cause self-chosen exclusion, as their use always represents an interplay of inclusion and exclusion processes. It assumes that people with social anxiety disorder use digital media competently and purposefully to avoid specific social situations. Nevertheless, the existing interest in media should also be used in an inclusive way and invites people with social anxiety disorder to reconnect digital media to the physical space and its social contexts.

The aim of the project is to investigate the broad and quite heterogeneous group of people who suffer from social anxiety disorder, have difficulties in socialising and use media in this context. Particular attention will be paid to social needs in the context of (especially digital) media, which can be appropriated to alleviate a perceived level of suffering or as a means of avoidance, self-control or self-monitoring. Another aim is to enable people with social anxiety disorder to experience a feeling of greater social inclusion and participation through media.

This is to be achieved by the participants testing and developing innovative media environments that are not limited to digital media, but always combine physical and digital spaces. For this purpose, a makerspace will be installed in which the participants can creatively and collaboratively meet their social and digital needs by developing technical prototypes in multiple fields of technology (in particular VR/AR, robotics/chat bots, Internet of Things).

In order to fulfil this interdisciplinary approach, the project team is made up of scientists with a background in psychotherapy, media and information science and interface design.

The project is being carried out in cooperation with the nationally active Associaton For Social Anxiety Support Groups (VSSP). The association supports the project in particular by networking with the various stakeholders in the field of social anxiety disorder (affected persons, experts, self-help groups, other institutions). This includes supporting the initiation of contacts for the realisation of the media usage studies and the acquisition of participants for the makerspace activities.

Logo gefördert vom Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung

Project management

Prof. Dr. Judith Ackermann
Research Professor for Digital Media and Performance in Social Work
Prof. Dr. Frank Heidmann
Research Professor for Design of Software Interfaces
Programme Director for Design (M. A.)