InSel – Recognise Internalising Symptoms and Respond Professionally

In the InSel project, we investigate how well teachers can recognise internalising symptoms in their students. In addition, we develope and test a psychoeducational intervention for teachers regarding internalising behaviour problems in school children.

Project Description

In contrast to externalising symptoms (e.g. aggressive behaviour), internalising symptoms (e.g. feelings of sadness, anxiety) are often not perceived as disturbing by people in the immediate environment. This creates the risk of symptoms not being recognised and the affected children not receiving the appropriate support. In addition to parents, teachers could play a significant role in identifying internalising symptoms. They observe the children in a context that is characterised by pressure to perform and social interactions, so that the symptoms could manifest themselves particularly strongly there.

The project focuses on this particular role of teachers in identifying internalising symptoms. It consists of three parts:

  1. the cross-sectional investigation of the incremental validity of teacher judgements (i.e. their added value compared to self-reports) regarding internalising symptoms in fifth and sixth graders
  2. the cross-sectional research into the influence of child-related, teacher-related and school (class)-related factors on the quality of this teacher judgement
  3. the development and piloting of a psychoeducational intervention for teachers to inform them about internalising behaviour problems in students and how to manage them

Project Objectives

The aim of the InSel project is to investigate how well teachers recognise internalising symptoms in their students and to identify possible moderating influences. Based on the teachers' prior knowledge of internalising symptoms and the identified moderators, a concept for an intervention programme for teachers will be developed and tested in a pilot study.



  • TU Dortmund University: Prof. Dr. Janin Brandenburg
  • Justus Liebig University Giessen: Prof. Dr. Christina Schwenck

Project Management

Project Team

Project Details

Current project
Area of Focus Differential Educational Conditions and Educational Trajectories
Department: Education and Human Development
Unit: Development of Successful Learning
11/2022 – 10/2025
External funding
Contact: Dr. Linda Visser, Associated Researcher