Paul B. Baltes (1939–2006)


Sehnsucht / Life-Longing

Information / In the Media / Publications / Project Members / Collaborators



In the Media

Scheibe, S. (2009). Interview im Deutschlandfunk am 19. März. Click here for an MP3 file of the whole program (Item on "Sehnsucht" in the last third of the program)

Bareither, I. (2008). Bittersüße Unvollkommenheit, Handelsblatt, 8. Oktober 2008.

Wilhelm, K. (2008). Zwischenstation Sehnsucht. MaxPlanckForschung, 3/2008, 66–72.

Müller-Lissner, A. (2007). Das bittersüße Leben. Psychologie der Sehnsucht: Ein Seminar über das Erbe des verstorbenen Alternsforschers Paul Baltes, Der Tagesspiegel, 15. Januar 2007.



Baltes, P. B. (2008). Positionspapier: Entwurf einer Lebensspannen-Psychologie der Sehnsucht. Utopie eines vollkommenen und perfekten Lebens [A lifespan psychological approach to the study of Sehnsucht (life longings). Utopia of a perfect and complete life]. Psychologische Rundschau, 59, 77–86. Abstract/Zusammenfassung

Brose, A. (2005). Eine experimentelle Induktion von Sehnsucht: Untersuchung von Wirksamkeit und Korrelaten [An experimental induction of life-longing: Investigation of effectiveness and correlates]. Unpublished Diploma thesis, Free University of Berlin.

Kotter-Grühn, D. (2008). Development and functionality of life longings: The case of involuntary childlessness. Doctoral thesis, Free University of Berlin. Available online at

Kotter-Grühn, D., Scheibe, S., Blanchard-Fields, F., & Baltes, P. B. (2009). Developmental emergence and functionality of Sehnsucht (life longings): The sample case of involuntary childlessness in middle-aged women. Psychology and Aging, 24, 634–644.

Kotter-Grühn, D., Wiest, M., Zurek, P. P., & Scheibe, S. (2009). What is it we are longing for? Psychological and demographic factors influencing the contents of Sehnsucht (life longings). Journal of Research in Personality, 43, 428–437.

Mayser, S. (2004). (Un)Erreichbar fern: Ein Vergleich persönlicher Ziele und Sehnsüchte [(Un)reachably distant: A comparison of personal goals and life-longings]. Unpublished Diploma thesis, Humboldt-University Berlin.

Mayser, S., Scheibe, S., & Riediger, M. (2008). (Un)reachable? An empirical differentiation of goals and life longings. European Psychologist, 13, 126–140.

Scheibe, S. (2005). Longing (“Sehnsucht”) as a new lifespan concept: A developmental conceptualization and its measurement in adulthood. Doctoral thesis, Free University of Berlin. Available online at

Scheibe, S., & Freund, A. M. (2008). Approaching Sehnsucht (life longings) from a life-span perspective: The role of personal utopias in development. Research in Human Development, 5, 121–133. Abstract

Scheibe, S., Freund, A. M., & Baltes, P. B. (2007). Toward a developmental psychology of Sehnsucht (life-longings): The optimal (utopian) life. Developmental Psychology, 43, 778–795. Abstract

Scheibe, S., Kunzmann, U., & Baltes, P. B. (2007). Wisdom, life longings, and optimal development. In J. A. Blackburn & C. N. Dulmus (Eds.), Handbook of gerontology: Evidence-based approaches to theory, practice, and policy (pp. 117–142). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

Scheibe, S., Kunzmann, U., & Baltes, P. B. (2009). New territories of positive lifespan development: Wisdom and life longings. In C. R. Snyder & S. J. Lopez (Eds.), Handbook of positive psychology (2nd ed., pp. 171–183). New York: Oxford University Press.

Wiest, M. (2006). Sehnsucht — ein typisch deutsches Phänomen? Ein interkultureller Vergleich zwischen Deutschland und den USA [Life-longings — a typically German phenomenon? An intercultural comparison between Germany and the US]. Unpublished Diploma thesis, Free University of Berlin.

Project Members

The Sehnsucht-Project at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development was directed by Paul B. Baltes. The scientists involved:

For an overview of the Sehnsucht-Project, click here.

Baltes Office
Max Planck Institute for Human Development
Lentzeallee 94
D-14195 Berlin
Phone: +49-30-82406-0
Fax: +49-30-8249939


Last updated 09/2009
Note. No responsibility can be taken for the content of external links.