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Health for all (H4A): A psychosocial approach


Mission Statement and General Goals

Health for All (H4A) is the core mission statement of this group, which aims with its activities to contribute to making health a vital resource equally available to all individuals regardless of their personal, social, and cultural backgrounds.

The general goal of H4A is to do research and develop interventions from a psychosocial approach to health, as defined by the World Health Organization (WHO, 1948). This means that we examine health related topics (e.g. pain, stigma, mental health, eating behaviours) based on psychosocial processes (e.g. stereotypes; social identities; risk perception; multicultural processes).

The innovative approach of this group comes from the use of the concept of “social interaction” to integrate, in a coherent framework, the contributions of various levels of analysis to health issues. Inequalities in healthcare are thus approached from this perspective, focusing on the socio-cognitive biases, the communication processes and the spatial dimensions that frame the quality of healthcare delivery.

We are especially interested in identifying the social determinants of well-being that can be used in promoting the health of individuals, groups and communities through research-based interventions.
As the outreach of the knowledge we produce is very important to us, protocols with different healthcare providers and user groups are a priority.



Thematic areas of research

H4A has three thematic research areas: 

T1. SOCIAL DISPARITIES, DIVERSITY & HEALTH:

Psychosocial processes (e.g., prejudice, discrimination, gender and culture diversity competencies) accounting for inequities in health status, health-care access and delivery of members of different social groups (age, gender, social class, LGBTI, ethnicity/culture), to inform the development of interventions to promote equity in health.

T2. RISK, ENVIRONMENT & HEALTH:

The relationship between objective and perceived characteristics of the physical environment, risk perceptions and risk communication on health, as to develop interventions to promote healthy life-styles and quality of life among individuals and communities.

T3. SOCIAL RELATIONSHIPS AND HEALTH:

The role of interpersonal and group processes (e.g., communication, social support, group identification and social sharing of emotions) involved in the relationships with significant other and formal and informal caregivers, aiming at the development of interventions to promote health and the adaptation and adjustment to chronic illnesses (e.g., chronic pain, dementias).



Intervention

We design, implement and evaluate theory-based and research-based instruments and intervention programs targeting health, social and cultural issues, which can be applied in health and social institutions.

We also respond to specific needs of healthcare service providers and social groups. For instance, we have a strong connection with conducting field research to answer societal needs in the domain of environment, health care and intergenerational activities.



Training and Knowledge Dissemination

We are actively involved in training and outreaching the knowledge produced through the following activities:

  • Training at the graduate and postgraduate level, by being involved in coordinating and teaching in Master courses, such as the “Social Psychology of Health” or the “Community Psychology and Child Protection” Masters. Additionally, we are also involved in the planning and implementation of various specialization courses.
  • Organization of training and dissemination activities, for example seminars, workshops, and summer schools.
  • Dissemination through national and international publications, including prestigious scientific journals and more traditional media.
  • Presentation of research at national and international scientific meetings.
  • Participation in scientific and organizing committees in national and international events and promotion of transfer activities to the community (e.g., interviews to the media, intergenerational university).
  • Regular meetings and collaborations between members of H4A and with members of the other CIS research groups.
  • Collaboration with international networks and research teams such as the EuroHealthNet, the EURAGE research group, Harvard Medical School, King’s College of London and Ghent Health Psychology Lab.

Contact

Current Group Coordinator: Sónia Bernardes (sonia.bernardes@iscte-iul.pt)



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