90105 - Community Interventions with Adolescents

Academic Year 2021/2022

  • Moduli: Elvira Cicognani (Modulo 1) Iana Ivanova Tzankova (Modulo 2)
  • Teaching Mode: Traditional lectures (Modulo 1) Traditional lectures (Modulo 2)
  • Campus: Cesena
  • Corso: First cycle degree programme (L) in Psychological sciences and techniques (cod. 8774)

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course the student: - has learned information on the characteristics of adolescent development in its different phases; - has gained knowledge on risk prevention and well being promotion with a specific reference to the phase of adolescence and young adulthood; - can distinguish the specificities of the psychosocial and community approach to need analysis and preventive interventions for adolescents and young adults.

Course contents

The course, addressed to III year bachelor students, will take place in Cesena branch of the Department of Psychology, during the first cycle (starting from 20 September, 2021).

The course will address key issues in young people health and well being, from a psychosocial and community psychology perspective. After addressing the relevance and meaning of some typical health risk behaviors during this developmental phase, the main explanations of risk behaviors will be discussed, by referring particularly to socio-ecological approaches. Moreover, some key preventive and health promotion approaches and methods will be presented, from a psychosocial and community psychology perspective, to address risk factors for young people health.

It includes two modules (module 1 – Elvira Cicognani; module 2 – Iana Tzankova) closely integrated.

The teaching methods aim to help students develop knowledge and skills to analyze young people’s health issues by developing conceptual explanations and elaborating intervention strategies to address them.

Module 1

Topics addressed include:

1)epidemiology of adolescent health issues; leading causes of poor health and health risk behaviors;

2)developmental changes (biological, cognitive, emotional, social, etc.) occurring during adolescence and factors (psychological, psychosocial, macrosocial, etc.) that have an impact on adolescent health and risk behaviors;

3)prevention and health promotion approaches and interventions to address health issues, from behavior change to community empowerment:

Media literacy

Focus groups and cicle time

Life skills education


Photovoice and arts based methods

Youth-led participatory action research (YPAR)

Module 2

Topics addressed include:

how to analyze research papers in English, how to identify factors and processes influencing risk behaviors, how to develop preventive or health promotion approaches to address risk behaviors


1)O'Donohue W.T., Benuto L.T., Woodward Tolle L. (eds) Handbook of Adolescent health psychology. Springer (available on VIRTUALE platform)

•Chapter 2. A Biopsychosocial Perspective of Adolescent Health and Disease

•Chapter 3. Issues of Diversity in Adolescent Health Psychology: Exploring Sociocultural Influences on Adolescent Health

•Chapter 4. Socioeconomic Influences on Health and Health Behavior in Adolescents

•Chapter 5. Public Health Approaches to Adolescent Health Beyond Disease and Illness

•Chapter 6. The Epidemiology of Adolescent Health

•Chapter 7. Prevention in Adolescence

•Chapter 8. Determinants of Health-Related Behaviors in Adolescence

•Chapter 12. The Effects of Physical Activity on the Physical and Psychological Health of Adolescents

2)Articles for the group work


NOTE: readings for the exam can be downloaded from VIRTUALE Platform

Teaching methods

The course includes lectures, paper readings, group discussions, group presentations in English.

Readings include journal articles and book chapters that will be provided at the beginning of the course and will be made available to the students on VIRTUALE platform, together with powerpoints of the lectures.

Assessment methods

A. Students attending on a regular basis (at least 70% of classes)

Assessment will be based on the following assignments:

1)Group work on the analysis of research papers (50%)

The papers will be provided by the professor before the beginning of the activity (approximately beginning of October); moreover, students will receive detailed instructions on the work to be completed, which will take place in part during classes.

They will cover a range of health issues. The group work will focus both on the analysis of factors involved in the specific health issues at stake, and on intervention approaches and methods to address such issues. The activity will be performed in small groups, and each student should contribute to the analysis, writing of a final report (5-6 pages) and presentation and discussion of the work during classes (online or in presence; e.g, using powerpoint, prezi).

The presentations will be scheduled in the second part of the course (from last week of October) and will be organised according to conference format.

The final grade (max 15 points) will be a group grade, based on the following: understanding of the contents of the paper and the study, breadth and depth of the critical analysis of the papers; effectiveness of presentations to the class and quality of the discussion; formal aspects (of the report and ppt).

To obtain 15 points the following conditions should be present: students evidence understanding of the contents of the paper; display capacity of critical analysis by locating the paper into the theoretical and empirical literature and identifying the specific contributions as well as limitations; the report is complete and clear, the terminology is appropriate and formal aspects (APA guidelines) are respected, the presentation is clear and effective for the audience (a system of “likes” will be used), there is evidence of engagement of the group members in the work and during the discussion of the presentations (e.g. questions in chat).

The points will be reduced if one or more of these conditions are not present.

2)An individual test with 20 multiple choice questions, with 4 response alternatives (50%)

The questions will be based on the contents of the lectures and readings. The contents that are not included in the readings will be made available in the slides uploaded on the platform VIRTUALE. The test will be scheduled the last day of class. Registrations for the test will be collected the week before the test.

The grading system will be the following:

20 correct answers = 16 points;

18-19 correct answers = 15 points;

16-17 correct answers = 14 points;

15 correct answers = 13 points;

14 correct answers = 12 points;

13 correct answers = 11 points;

12 correct answers = 10 points;

11 correct answers = 9 points;

10 correct answers = 8 points.

Less than 10 correct answers will be considered insufficient. The student may, however, try again (max 1 possibility) the test during the first date of the of the regular exam session (January 2022).

NOTE. Students who regularly attend lectures and participate in the group work, but who cannot be present in the date of the final test for justified reasons, may take the test during the first date of the regular exam session (January 2022).

The final grade will be the sum of the grades obtained in the group work and individual test. The degree of active engagement and participation in class and to the group work will also be considered in the overall evaluation.

The results of the individual test and the group work will be communicated to the students on Virtuale platform as soon as available; however, to register the final grade, students need to register on Studenti online in one of the two regular dates of the official exam session (January/February 2022).


B.Students not attending classes on a regular basis.

The exam will consist in the preparation and discussion of a review paper in English (7000-8000 words / 20 pages).

The student will choose a domain of health or risk behavior in adolescence among those addressed in the course. The review should address the issue by reporting the following information:

•a)Introduction on the health issue, its relevance and epidemiological data

•b)Analysis of the established theoretical explanations of the health issue, by referring also to supporting empirical evidence.

•c)Analysis of at least one type of intervention approach adopted to address the issue, possibly reporting on its effectiveness.

•d)Discussion of the findings and possible future directions of research and intervention


In order to prepare the review, students should search for and use at least 6 papers that coherently address the health issue at stake, allowing to respond to all the questions above. In addition, it is possible to use the readings of the course and the materials provided on VIRTUALE platform.

The review should be sent by email at least one week before the official date of the exam. The exam will focus on the discussion of the review, and on the chapters provided for the course. The grade will be based on the contents (breadh, depth of the critical analysis) and the quality of its discussion.


All the students should register for the exam on Studenti online.

Teaching tools

Papers, PowerPoint.

During the sessions of group work, students are invited to bring their laptops.

No calculation tools nor dictionaries are allowed.

Students with certified disabilities can benefit from support instruments for the exam as established by L. n°170/2010.

Students with special needs are invited to contact the teacher.

Office hours

See the website of Elvira Cicognani

See the website of Iana Ivanova Tzankova


Good health and well-being Quality education

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