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Concept: East Berlin


Narcissism scores are higher in individualistic cultures compared with more collectivistic cultures. However, the impact of sociocultural factors on narcissism and self-esteem has not been well described. Germany was formerly divided into two different social systems, each with distinct economic, political and national cultures, and was reunified in 1989/90. Between 1949 and 1989/90, West Germany had an individualistic culture, whereas East Germany had a more collectivistic culture. The German reunification provides an exceptional opportunity to investigate the impact of sociocultural and generational differences on narcissism and self-esteem. In this study, we used an anonymous online survey to assess grandiose narcissism with the Narcissistic Personality Inventory (NPI) and the Pathological Narcissism Inventory (PNI) to assess grandiose and vulnerable aspects of narcissism, and self-esteem with the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (RSE) in 1,025 German individuals. Data were analyzed according to age and place of birth. Our results showed that grandiose narcissism was higher and self-esteem was lower in individuals who grew up in former West Germany compared with former East Germany. Further analyses indicated no significant differences in grandiose narcissism, vulnerable narcissism or self-esteem in individuals that entered school after the German reunification (≤ 5 years of age in 1989). In the middle age cohort (6-18 years of age in 1989), significant differences in vulnerable narcissism, grandiose narcissism and self-esteem were observed. In the oldest age cohort (> 19 years of age in 1989), significant differences were only found in one of the two scales assessing grandiose narcissism (NPI). Our data provides empirical evidence that sociocultural factors are associated with differences in narcissism and self-esteem.

Concepts: Germany, Western Europe, Narcissistic personality disorder, West Germany, German reunification, East Berlin, Narcissism, States of Germany


In post-unification Germany, lingering conflicts between East and West Germans have found some unusual outlets, including a debate of the relative superiority of East and West German ‘Ampelmännchen’ pedestrian traffic signs. In our study, we probed the visual efficacy of East and West German Ampelmännchen signs with a Stroop-like conflict task. We found that the distinctive East German man-with-hat figures were more resistant to conflicting information, and in turn produced greater interference when used as distractors. These findings demonstrate Stroop-like effects for real-life objects, such as traffic signs, and underline the practical utility of an East German icon.

Concepts: Germany, West Germany, East Berlin, Cold War, Soviet Union, States of Germany, East Germany, Willy Brandt


Before the fall of the Berlin Wall, mortality was considerably higher in the former East Germany than in West Germany. The gap narrowed rapidly after German reunification. The convergence was particularly strong for women, to the point that Eastern women aged 50-69 now have lower mortality despite lower incomes and worse overall living conditions. Prior research has shown that lower smoking rates among East German female cohorts born in the 1940s and 1950s were a major contributor to this crossover. However, after 1990, smoking behavior changed dramatically, with higher smoking intensity observed among women in the eastern part of Germany. We forecast the impact of this changing smoking behavior on East-West mortality differences and find that the higher smoking rates among younger East German cohorts will reverse their contemporary mortality advantage. Mortality forecasting methods that do not account for smoking would, perhaps misleadingly, forecast a growing mortality advantage for East German women. Experience from other countries shows that smoking can be effectively reduced by strict anti-smoking policies. Instead, East Germany is becoming an example warning of the consequences of weakening anti-smoking policies and changing behavioral norms.

Concepts: Germany, West Germany, German reunification, East Berlin, West Berlin, East Germany, Eastern Bloc, Berlin Wall


This article investigates the importance of regional health care availability for old age survival. Using German reunification as a natural experiment, we show that spatial variation in health care in East Germany considerably influenced the convergence of East German life expectancy toward West German levels.

Concepts: Germany, West Germany, German reunification, East Berlin, West Berlin, States of Germany, East Germany, Willy Brandt


Several indicators suggest that the extent and trends of alcohol-related mortality differ between East and West Germany. Regional drinking patterns and differences in health care systems are assumed to affect the risk of dying from an alcohol-induced disease. The study addresses two questions: (1) What are the unbiased and independent age, period, and cohort effects on alcohol-related mortality trends in Germany? (2) Do these trends differ between East and West Germany?

Concepts: Health care, Medicine, Death, Germany, West Germany, East Berlin, Cold War, Soviet Union


Aim of the study International research suggests that mobility plays an important role in determining health in later life. The aim of this study was to analyze the relationship between intragenerational mobility and subjective health on the basis of data from Germany, taking different periods from 1992 to 2012 into account. Data and Methods Data is derived from the Socio-economic Panel (GSOEP), taking three time periods into account (1992-1995, 2000-2003 and 2008-2012). Intragenerational mobility was measured by comparing first occupational position and current job. Logistic regressions were used in order to analyze the relationship between health and mobility. Results Men and women who were downwardly mobile in unemployment or stable low reported the worst health. Up- and downwardly mobile people were located between the stable-up and stable-low groups. The relationship was not affected by origin (East/West Germany). Yet, upward mobility was more common in West Germany and downward mobility was more frequent in East Germany. In general, men and women showed similar patterns. The relationship between intragenerational mobility and health remained stable over time. Conclusion Occupational development showed a strong relationship with health in later life. Especially downward mobility into unemployment or staying in lower positions had strong influence on health. Socio-political measures should be taken to prevent a further divergence of health opportunities.

Concepts: United States, Germany, West Germany, East Berlin, Cold War, Social mobility, East Germany, Willy Brandt


Before German reunification, old-age mortality was considerably higher in East Germany than West Germany but converged quickly afterward. Previous studies attributed this rapid catch-up to improved living conditions. We add to this discussion by quantifying for the first time the impact of mortality selection.

Concepts: Germany, West Germany, German reunification, East Berlin, West Berlin, States of Germany, East Germany, Willy Brandt


Intergenerational transmission is a long-standing interest of social science research. However, little attention has been devoted to the study of transmission of relationship quality between several generations of family members. Exploiting multigenerational multi-actor data from the German Family Panel (pairfam), we estimate multilevel models to investigate whether, in three-generation families, relationship quality between the middle generation and the oldest (that is, grandparent) generation predicts relationship quality between the youngest generation of adolescent children and the middle generation. Our results reveal evidence of intergenerational transmission of emotional closeness, conflict, and ambivalence. Transmission was more consistently observed when emanating from ties to grandfathers than from ties to grandmothers. A hypothesis concerning differences in the strength of transmission between East Germany and West Germany found no support. The paper concludes with a discussion of limitations and perspectives for future research.

Concepts: Family, Germany, West Germany, East Berlin, Cold War, Grandparent, East Germany, Willy Brandt


Universal vitamin D supplementation is controversial. Preventative examinations and public health initiatives in former East Germany that included vitamin D prophylaxis for children were regulated by official recommendations and guidelines. The aim of this study is to analyse the impact of a standardised nationwide guideline for universal supplementation with 400 International Units (IU) vitamin D3/day during the first year of life on clinical and biochemical parameters and the influence of surrounding factors.

Concepts: Health care, Vitamin D, Epidemiology, Germany, International unit, West Germany, East Berlin, Leipzig