Quality of Social Life: Health, Environment and the Community (HEC)

The research group "Quality of social life: Health, Environment & Community" (HEC) aims to produce knowledge in basic and applied Psychology related to the topics health, environment and community.
Our activities address three specific areas: 1) Research; 2) Intervention; and 3) Training and Knowledge Dissemination.

Research Lines

  • HEALTH: We employ a psychosocial approach to health and illness. This means that we examine health related topics (e.g. pain, violence, mental health, eating behaviours) based on psychosocial processes (e.g. stereotypes; social identities; risk perception; multicultural processes). 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.
  • ENVIRONMENT: We examine how natural and urban environments are planned and perceived and what kinds of role psychosocial factors play. We also study the issue of sustainability, predictors of pro-environmental behaviours as well as the role of representational and identity dynamics in the confrontation between lay and technical spheres in the environmental area.
  • COMMUNITY: We conduct research on at-risk youth and families using a developmental, psychosocial and human ecological approach in the context of the family and community. The design and evaluation of interventions with specific types of families and children at risk, play an important role in this work.


  • We collaborate with policy-makers and provide evidence-based knowledge that can be used to create new policies as well as in the support to the implementation of European regulations and guidelines in national and European governmental agencies;
  • We respond to evaluation needs of institutions and develop research-based instruments and programmes, particularly on environmental issues, child protection and mental health issues. Our overall goal here is to conduct community-based research that addresses issues that matter to society and that are translated into public policy advice.

Training and Knowledge Dissemination

  • We offer training at the graduate and postgraduate level
  • We have an international network of collaborators that facilitates the international exchange of both students and researchers;
  • We have regular research meeting within HEC as well as joint meetings with the other research groups at CIS;
  • We are actively involved in the organization of numerous dissemination activities, such as for example seminars, workshops, and summer schools.

The current coordinators of HEC are Melanie Vauclair (melanie.vauclair@iscte.pt) & Rui Gaspar (rui.gaspar@iscte.pt). Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions about HEC!

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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