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Research lines

The objectives of the Master and Doctorate Program in Health Psychology are: to train new researchers and teachers in Health Psychology and raise new questions, to deepen and reflect on the knowledge of psychology that aimed at contributing to health objectives: health promotion and protection in all contexts, disease prevention and treatment, and all kinds of related behaviors and disorders.

Two Lines of Research guide the activities of the program: Prevention, Treatment, and Psychosocial Processes. These lines are based on two perspectives proposed by researchers in the area of Health Psychology: prevention-treatment of diseases and protection-promotion of health.

Two research lines guide the activities of the program: Prevention and Treatment and Psychosocial Processes. These lines are based on two perspectives proposed by Health Psychology researchers: prevention-treatment of diseases and protection-promotion of health.

Prevention and Treatment refers to psychological issues closely associated with acute, chronic or degenerative diseases, investigating cognitive and emotional processes related to both psychic and somatic symptoms, to the relational dynamics of individuals and groups, as well as to intervention and evolution in Psychology Clinic.

Psychosocial processes relate to the perspective of health promotion and protection, analyzing themes resulting from the interfaces between health and society, health and work, health and violence, health and psychological processes. It investigates psychosocial dimensions that signal contemporary values on health, risk behaviors such as the use of psychoactive substances, indicators of well-being and social support in the work environment, as well as studies aimed at the construction and validation of measures in this context.

Compulsory subjects

Fundamentals of Health Psychology
History of health psychology. The biomedical model, the psychosomatic model and the biopsychosocial health model. Concepts of health and illness. Objectives of health psychology. Primary health care. Promotion, protection, prevention and rehabilitation of individual and collective health. Psychosocial correlates of health. Psychological factors and health. Interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary dimensions. Problems of communication in health and its consequences. Contemporary research in health psychology.

Scientific methodology
Science and Common Sense .History of Science. Science and Philosophy. The interaction between science and research. The research designs and the validity of the investigations. Ethics in Health Research. The research process in Psychology: the planning of the research; the research problem, the objectives, the hypotheses. Methodology of scientific work.

Research in Health Psychology
The elaboration of the research project according to the qualitative and quantitative delineations. Foundations of qualitative and quantitative research. The main research designs in health psychology: the experimental research method; the epidemiological research designs; the clinical method in psychological investigation. Key Critics and Philosophers of Science: K. Popper and T. Kuhn.

Epistemological and Methodological Foundations in Health Psychology
Analysis and reflection of the basic aspects of the research problem and the elaboration of the research project. Theoretical questions that involve research. The elaboration of research projects.

Topics in Health Psychology
Theoretical-methodological analysis in health psychology, current trends. Research and performance in the area. Social representations of health and disease. Behavior and health. Psychological research in health institutions and in the community. Social factors, protective and risk behaviors. Quality of life. Adaptive Effectiveness. Lifestyle.


Research line: Doctorate

Prevention and treatment:

Qualitative Methods in Scientific Research
Historical Context of Qualitative Methods in Health Psychology. The problem of scientificity in academic research. The characterization of the object of research in the field of health and illness psychology. Properties of formal and informal logical research. Adequacy of methods and theories. Variety of approaches and methods in qualitative research. Basic theoretical positions; symbolic interactionism, ethnomethodology and the cultural framework of social and subjective reality; structuralist models. Inductive and deductive methods. 

Psychosocial Processes:

Inferential Methods in Psychology
Overview of multivariate statistical analyzes. Assumptions of multivariate analyzes. Power of the test. Analysis of variance and covariance. Multiple linear regression. Interpretation of results


Research Line - Prevention and Treatment

  • Elective Disciplines

Functional anatomy of behavior 
Evolution and comparative anatomy of the vertebrate’s nervous system. Projection circuits and large-scale physiology of the encephalon. Descriptive psychology of attention, thought, detection, emotion and volition. Brain-mind relations. Electrophysiological and metabolic studies of mental processes: critical of the potentials and limitations of the methods. Design of experimental tasks. Critique of psychological functionalism. New location of function. Applications of anatomo-physiological knowledge to Health Psychology. 

Conflict, mediation and restorative processes
Concepts of conflict. Intragroup conflicts. Relationship, process, and task conflicts. Dimensions of conflicts: degree of negative emotion; importance and potential for resolution. Consequences of conflicts. Models and definitions of mediation. Models focused on the agreement. Models focused on relationships. The restorative process and the agreement. Conflict resolution in the family and at school. Ethics and Morals in Mediation.

  • Discipline of the Psychosocial Process

Family and Health
Family: concept, origin and evolution. Family psychodynamics and the unconscious processes that govern family interactions. The family as an element of health or illness for its members. Theory of Adaptation. Adaptive Crisis Theory. Conception of Adaptation Evolution and wide prevention. Marriage and marital relationships. Preventive Family Psychotherapy

Psychological research in forensic clinical context
Fundamentals of psychological and neuropsychological research. Practical performance and research in relation to mental disorders, violence and forensic clinical repercussions.

  • Psychophysiology of basic psychological processes

Personality, restoration and vulnerability factors
Study of factorial models and dimensions of Personality. The psychobiological model of temperament and character. Neuroticism and vulnerability to health.

Psychological processes in the context of violence
Study of psychological processes in situations of violence. Principles of research on psychosocial factors in physical, psychological and sexual violence. Study of the consequences of sexual abuse on the child's emotional development.

Psychophysiology I: Brain circuits and the organization of behavior
The nervous system in the Animal Kingdom and projection circuits of mammals. The hypothalamic animal and effector devices. Topographic high-resolution circuits. The columnar organization and its degeneration in the cortical hierarchy. Principles of cortico-cortical connections. Nucleus and fields of diffuse projection. Expansion of the concept of basal ganglia, expanded amygdala and telencephalon mediating structures

Psychophysiology II: Large-scale physiology of brain circuits
William James and the descriptive psychology of mental processes. Critique of the concepts of brain-mind, atomism, causality and information. Physiological correlates of mental processes. Neural representation. Neural learning. Summary of research techniques in neurophysiology and functional neurosurgery. Metabolic screening in human neurophysiology. Analysis of electromagnetic fields in human physiology. Functional location: new hypotheses.

  • Health and Work

Discipline of the Psychosocial Process
History and perspectives of the worker's health. Working and health conditions. Promotion and protection of health at work. Positive health and work. Research on health and work. Elective Disciplines of the Research Line - Psychosocial Processes

Community and Health
The trajectory of Social-Community Psychology in the USA and Latin America, conceptual frameworks: Community Mental Health or Clinical Psychology/ Community Psychology; Organizational or Systemic; Action or Social Change; Ecological; Community Psychology. Transdisciplinary in social-community care and health promotion. Specific studies within the different conceptual frameworks extending the fields of practical action. Environmental quality control and promotion of self-esteem. Communication applied to health promotion.

  • Substance dependence

Discipline of the Psychosocial Process Line
Historical aspects of the use of psychoactive substances. Basic concepts of Psychopharmacology. Psychological and sociocultural factors involved in drug use. The family of the drug dependent and other reference groups. Psychodynamic aspects, defense mechanisms, and disorders related to the use of psychoactive substances. Clinical interventions: hospitalization, psychotherapies, pharmacotherapy, family counseling and self-help groups. Public policies in the areas of education, prevention and treatment of drug addiction. 

Scales of evaluation in health psychology
Psychometric fundamentals of the construction of measurement scales in Health Psychology: importance of the theoretical basis, formatting of the items, proof of validity and reliability. Criteria for choosing scales for diagnosis and research. Scales used in Health Psychology.


Courses of the Psychosocial Process Research Line

Group and mental health
Historical aspects of the social organization of the family group. Education for health at the group and institutional level. Psychological aspects of family organization. Psychoanalytic approach to family dynamics. Systemic family relational approach. Conflicts, symptoms and factors of family protection. Introduction to grounded theory. Parenting study at risk: parental behavior and abuse. Toxic dependency.  Mothers with HIV. Mental disorders.

Resilience and work
Resilience and work. Theoretical trends: trait and process. Facets of resilience. Resilience and work. Positive organizations and resilience. Factors that promote resilience at work. Resilience measures.  Research on resilience and work.

Quantitative research

Discipline of the Psychosocial Processes Line
Measurement scales. Descriptive statistics: central tendency, dispersion and correlation. Analysis of variance. Organization of electronic data base. Statistical analysis through statistical software. 

Multiprofessional Team and Public Health Intervention
Approach to practices of interventions that supported the growth of the concept of public health, practices of "medical police", historical epidemic diseases, health / illness process, construction of the concept of collective health, collective health and its relationship with the human sciences health, as a public good. History of the concepts of networks of social support, quality of life and community life style and the narcissistic / individualist. Multiprofessional training of collective health teams; concepts of the levels of disciplinary, interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary work; team group process approaches; conflicts and creative coping. 

Fundamental Psychopathology and Health Promotion
Historical aspects and development of notions of health, illness and mental suffering. Origin and transformations of the main psychopathological models. Criteria of normality and psychological abnormality. Health care policies and their social, psychological and ethical implications. Study of the main theoretical models of the symptoms, the mental disorders and the behavior. 

Special Topics in Evaluation and Measures in Health Psychology
Concept of scales in Psychometrics. Dimensionality of constructs. Types of scales. Construction of scales in Health Psychology: selection of constructs; principles of construction; theoretical dimensions; construction of items; evidence of validity and reliability. Use of statistical software for validation and reliability testing of scales. The factorial analysis


Mandatory courses for PhD students

Research Seminars I
Research work under the guidance of a professor. Content varies according to the research topic and interest of the professor and the student.

Research Seminars II
Research work under the guidance of a professor. Content varies according to the research topic and interest of the professor and the student.

Thesis Guidance I
Theoretical and methodological studies on topics related to the thesis. Guidance and monitoring of research developments for the production of the thesis.

Thesis Guidance II
Theoretical and methodological studies on topics related to the thesis. Guidance and monitoring of research developments for the production of the thesis.

Thesis Guidance III
Theoretical and methodological studies on topics related to the thesis. Guidance and monitoring of research developments for the production of the thesis.

Thesis Guidance IV
Theoretical and methodological studies on topics related to the thesis. Guidance and monitoring of research developments for the production of the thesis.


Elective subjects of the Joint Core of Stricto Sensu Postgraduate Programs

Teaching in higher education
Scientific knowledge in human and social sciences: problems, challenges and perspectives
Introduction to Quantitative Research
Cross-cutting themes and authors of references in different areas of knowledge

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