Community, Education and Development (CED)


 Community, Education and Development (CED) is a group focused on basic and applied research in the three areas composing its name. CED aims to improve children’s, adolescents, and families’ overall psychosocial adjustment to various and diverse contexts, considering the quality of established relationships as a central premise. CED generally focuses on identifying, describing and understanding processes considering both opportunities and risks for development and education in the individual’s contexts. Based on this knowledge CED also has a universal prevention approach based on well-established evidence practices, by focusing on organizations’ supervision and professionals’ training, which may facilitate organizational change towards greater effectiveness.


The research interests of CED members can be organized in several thematic lines, sustained by the premise of relationships’ quality as its unifying idea:

Individual and family systems

  • The study of mothers’ and fathers’ roles in the family system, considering community as well as different ethnic minority groups. The quality and contexts of parents’ socio-emotional involvement with their child/adolescent (at a cognitive, emotional and behavioral level) are studied, accounting also for the role of children’s individual characteristics.
  • The understanding of parents (mother and father) contributions to the child/adolescent socio-emotional (un)adjustment to the peer group during these development periods.
  • Within the family, we also focus on the understanding of abusive and neglectful patterns of interactions, particularly on parent’s socio-emotional and cognitive processes, with an emphasis on the primary prevention of sexual abuse.

Formal and informal education settings

  • CED researchers study the associations between features of formal educational settings and children’s developmental and academic outcomes, trying to identify thresholds of quality that should be guaranteed in order to obtain positive outcomes, especially for children from disadvantaged backgrounds.
  • With a particular focus on early childhood care and education, and based on a fine-grained approach to quality, we also study specific dimensions of quality that matter more for specific domains of child development and school adjustment. Socio-emotional, but also cognitive outcomes for both children with and without disabilities are targeted.
  • CED researchers also examine the impact of informal social support on indicators of social developmental and academic outcomes, in natural occurring relationships between adults and children/youth, such as mentoring, neighborhood relationships.


  • CED members develop and validate assessment instruments in order to systematically analyze psychological processes within familial and non-familial interactions. 


Several of CED researchers, with a strong focus on social intervention, actively collaborate with private and public organizations in order to apply their theoretical and empirical knowledge. For example, CED members have developed and continue to undertake research-based projects on instruments, tools and programs (design and evaluation) applied in different institutions; but also at community intervention (e.g. the social networks for diversity).

Researchers also work with decision-makers providing scientific based evidence and knowledge to support the development of regulations and guidelines (e.g., child abuse prevention), especially at a national level. CED researchers cooperate with international networks supported by global institutions (e.g. UNESCO; European Union) aiming at improving social development prospects of children and youths in (in)formal education settings (e.g. mentoring). At a national level, they are involved in facilitating changes and innovation in public systems, such as the education and the judiciary systems, as well as in private organizations, in areas such as child protection or social-educational interventions.


Training and knowledge dissemination is achieved through teaching courses at the undergraduate, Master and PhD levels and giving lectures and seminars in ISCTE-IUL and other Universities and institutions, both at national and international level.

Group activities are organized to train researchers in a challenging context providing opportunities to practice academic and research skills.

Training and knowledge dissemination is also achieved through the participation in diverse scientific meetings, publishing at national and international level (WOS, SCOPUS indexed publications), and actively engaging in knowledge transfer activities for professionals (e.g., through the organization of the Meeting for Children at Risk and in danger: Community and Educational Contexts; Research and Intervention). Our masters and doctoral students and young researchers are highly encouraged to engage in these activities. 


Current Group Coordination Team: Francisco Simões (francisco.simoes@iscte-iul.pt), Cecila Aguiar, Vanessa Russo

Edf. ISCTE-IUL, Sala 2w17
Av. das Forças Armadas
1649-026 Lisboa
Phone: +351 210 464 017
Fax : +351 21 046 41 74
Email: cis@iscte.pt
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