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The area of mental health and psychopathology focuses on the study of trajectories and processes, normative and non-normative, related to psychological well-being and psychopathology. Particular attention is paid to variables related to trajectories of psychopathology and adaptive functioning, as well as the effectiveness of psychological interventions focused on improving mental health or reducing psychopathological symptomatology. Examples of topics in this area of research are: continuum/dimensional of psychopathology; developmental trajectories and adaptation/psychopathology; developmental and motivational systems (with particular emphasis on attachment and exploration) and their influence on (in)adaptive trajectories; peripheral neurophysiological responses associated with psychological vulnerabilities and psychotherapeutic intervention; psychological assessment and intervention. The research topics in this area pay particular attention to problems of contemporary societies, such as the increasing need for attention to mental health, particularly of vulnerable populations (e.g., immigrants, senior citizens, children, and youth at risk) and the emergence of new behavioural problems.
During the life cycle, many changes are experienced by individuals, couples, social groups and families. Research in this area focuses on social processes and dynamics, from a developmental perspective, addressing complex variables associated with broad topics, such as individual change and adaptive and dysfunctional family relationships. Research in this area seeks to contribute to diverse of issues, from the explanation of behavioural change to the development of effective psychological interventions with couples and families. Particular emphasis is given to the study of the dynamics of human relationships that characterise contemporary societies, such as those arising from new family configurations or new work modalities.
Contemporary societies are characterised by rapid changes that may promote a wide range of social problems that influence the developmental trajectories of various groups of individuals. In this research area, projects should focus on psychological development in a wide range of contexts of exclusion, resulting from the characteristics of contemporary societies (e.g., unemployment, bullying, migrations, terrorism, radicalism, imprisonment). Variables such as gender, class, ethnicity, and citizenship play a fundamental role in promoting or amplifying social conflicts and problems. Their analysis is relevant for understanding these problems and their impact on individuals. Research topics in this area include psychosocial risk and protection; trajectories of socially excluded groups; dynamics and processes of social inclusion; psychological assessment and intervention in forensic contexts; judicial decision-making processes. Emphasis is given to the study of socially excluded groups, such as young offenders, sexual offenders, ethnic minorities, migrants, and refugees.
The internet, smartphones, and digital technologies, in general, are essential for contemporary societies. However, computer-mediated communication and the use of these devices and their applications inevitably shape human behaviour in ways yet to be discovered. This area considers the opportunities and challenges of the digital age, proposing to study the impact of the internet and digital technologies on human behaviour. Topics within this research area include technological addictions (internet addiction, gaming disorder, addictive use of social media); impact of computer-mediated communication on social life; social psychology of internet and social media use; internet-based interventions and therapies; monitoring psychotherapy using digital technologies; human vulnerabilities to cybercrime; demonstration of emotional responses through computer-mediated communication (e.g., emoticons).