73323 - Risk Behaviour and Protective Factors

Academic Year 2021/2022

  • Teaching Mode: Traditional lectures
  • Campus: Bologna
  • Corso: Second cycle degree programme (LM) in Planning and managing of educational intervention in social distress (cod. 9228)

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course the student will be able: - to know methodologies and strategies to address the negative impact of risk factors on development; - to organize and implement interventions in different micro and macro areas; - to know observational tools for optimizing relationships in different areas; - to elaborate systemic analysis and to develop autonomous reflections; - to propose effective strategies at individual and group level; - to promote good communication strategies; - to identify tools and paths for developing his/her professional skills.

Course contents

The course aims at describing different paths of continuity and discontinuity of development, examining the role of protective and risk factors.

The first part of course describes recent theoretical models, such as neuroconstructivism, which allow to explain the complex interaction between risk and protective factors during development.

The second part outlines observation methodologies that can be used in educational contexts to detect risk and protection factors and to analyze possible changes.

The last part of the course highlights some contexts in which the interaction between risk and protective factors clearly emerges. In particular, the following topics will be addressed: preterm birth and hospitalized child; bullying and cyberbullying; attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.


Theoretical background:

  • Westermann, G., Mareschal, D., Johnson, M.H., Sirois, S., Spratling, M.W., Thomas, M.S.C. (2007). Neuroconstructivism. Developmental Science, 10, 75-83.
  • Maffei, L. (2011). Plasticità cerebrale: implicazioni per la psicologia. Giornale Italiano di Psicologia, XXXIX, 467-494.


  • Aureli, T., Perucchini, P. (2014). Osservare e valutare il comportamento del bambino. Bologna: ll Mulino (parte prima: pag. 32-62; parte seconda; parte terza: cap. 5 lo sviluppo sociale).

Different contexts:

  • Preterm birth and child in the hospital: Sansavini A., Faldella G. (2013). Lo sviluppo dei bambini nati pretermine. Aspetti neuropsicologici, metodi di valutazione e interventi. Milano: Franco Angeli (chapters 1, 10, 11, 13, 19, 20, Post-fazione) OR March of Dimes, PMNCH, Save the Children, WHO (2012). Born Too Soon: The Global Action Report on Preterm Birth. Geneva: World Health Organization (Executive summary, Chapters 1, 2, 5). https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/44864/9789241503433_eng.pdf;jsessionid=E26B3B407460BE238AFBEA3E9B3AC070?sequence=1
  • Bullying and cyberbullying: - Genta, M.L., Brighi, A., Guarini A. (2013). Cyberbullismo. Ricerche e strategie di intervento Milano: FrancoAngeli (cap. 4, 5, 7 e 8). - Brighi, A., Nicoletti, S.M.E., Guarini, A. (2013). Cyberbullismo: ricerche e interventi a confronto. Rassegna bibliografia infanzia e adolescenza, n. 4. You can download the article: https://www.minori.it/sites/default/files/suppl_4_2013.pdf
  • Attention Deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): Marzocchi, G.M., Bacchetta, I. (2011). Quali sono le cause dell'ADHD? Il contributo delle neuroscienze. Psicologia Clinica dello Sviluppo, XV, 309-334; Marzocchi, G.M., Cornoldi, C. (2000). Una scala di facile uso per la rilevazione dei comportamenti problematici dei bambini con Deficit di Attenzione e Iperattività. Psicologia Clinica dello Sviluppo, VI, 43-63.

The articles can be found and downloaded from the databases of the University of Bologna


Teaching methods

The lectures will be supplemented by group discussion, presentation of short video and case studies.


Assessment methods

A final oral exam will be characterized by four questions (1 question on theoretical model, 1 question on observation and 2 questions on different contexts of application).

The mark will be based on the following criteria: 1) completeness of responses; 2) consistency of the responses; 3) the ability to integrate bibliographic sources; 4) the ability of personal reflection.

The maximum score for the exam is 30 with honors and 18/30 is the minimum score to pass the exam.

Students have to enroll in the exam on Almaesami website.

If the student did not pass the exam, he/she can enroll in the next.

Teaching tools

The lectures will be supported by the use of Power Point and of the videoprojector. The videoprojector will also be used to show short videos in the classroom related to the topics of the course.

Office hours

See the website of Annalisa Guarini


Good health and well-being Quality education Reduced inequalities

This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.