32037 - Theories and Methods of Community Psychology

Course Unit Page


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

Good health and well-being Quality education Reduced inequalities Sustainable cities

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course, the student

- knows the key concepts and the theoretical models of community psychology

- knows and uses instruments to analyse the emergent needs in the communities and in the ordinary life contexts

- knows the existing services addressed to the persons in the local community,

- knows the methodology of participatory action research

- is able to use specific instruments to work in preventive, remedial and empowerment projects

Course contents

The course will take place during the first semester (from September, 28 until December 7, 2021) at the Department of Psychology, Cesena Campus (address: Piazza Aldo Moro, 90, Cesena, FC).

The course aims to illustrate the main theoretical approaches of Community Psychology, starting from an analysis of its origins and development at national and international level. Community Psychology is a new perspective, a new way of thinking and considering the reality, based on the premise that persons and their needs can be understood only within the social contexts to which they belong and with which they interact. The focus of the analysis and intervention is on the strengths of people rather than on individual or community deficits or problems. The goal is to articulate human capital development, political action and scientific inquiry, in order to realise a maximally equitable distribution of psychological as well as material resources.

To be able to take part in the course students should have acquired basic knowledge in social and group psychology: this knowledge will be verified through admission exam at the Laurea Magistrale.

The course is articulated in two parts:

Part I: 45 hours (teacher prof. Cinzia Albanesi September 28, November  18)

Community Psychology in the national, European and international scenario: origins and development of the discipline;

Goals and theoretical perspectives: the ecological and systemic approach, the critical community psychology;

Key concepts: sense of community, cultural diversity, wellbeing, equity and social justice, prevention, promotion participation.

Key concepts and intervention perspectives: empowerment and resilience, PAR, working with networks and promoting and facilitating self and mutual help groups

Part 2: 15 hours (teacher: prof. Gabriele Prati, November 19, December 7)

Methods for community intervention in school: promoting sense of community, mentoring and peer education.

Community projects: construction and evaluation


For the written examination:

Zani B. (a cura di) (2012) Psicologia di comunita'. Prospettive, idee, metodi. Carocci,Roma (with the exception of chapter 3 and 4)

Santinello M. & Vieno A. (a cura di) (2013) Metodi di intervento in psicologia di comunita', Il Mulino, Bologna (except chapters 3 and 8)

For the oral examination, one text chosen in the following list:

Bertoletti S., Meringolo P., Stagnitta M., Zuffa G. (2011) Terre di confine. Soggetti, modelli, esperienze dei servizi a bassa soglia. Unicopli, Milano

- Di Cesare G. e Giammetta R. (2011) L'adolescenza come risorsa. Una guida operativa alla peer education. Carocci, Roma

- Lavanco G. & Santinello M. (2009). I senza fissa dimora. Analisi psicologica del fenomeno e ipotesi di intervento, Ed.Paoline, Milano.


- Mannarini T. (2016) Il senso di comunita'.Come e perché i legami contano.McGraw Hill, Milano

- Ripamonti E. (2018) Collaborare: metodi partecipativi per il sociale. Carocci, Roma.

- Roccato M. e Mannarini T. (2012). Non nel mio giardino. Prendere sul serio i movimenti Nimby. Il Mulino, Bologna.

- Sanza M.,Cicognani E., Zani B., Nasuelli F. (2011) Le rotte del divertimento e il consumo di sostanze psicoattive. Angeli: Milano

- Speltini G. (a cura di ) (2016). L'eta' giovanile. Disagio e risorse psicosociali, Il Mulino, Bologna.

Teaching methods

Lectures, work in small groups, case analysis, meetings with experts and professionals , videos and films, analysis of scientific articles.

Assessment methods

The final exam, that is comprehensive of the two parts, will include:

1. Written essay on the recommended texts: 4 open ended questions (in 2 hours time), aimed to assess the acquired basic knowledge in the topics of the course (treated in both modules) and the critical thinking in the analysis of the psychosocial phenomena. The essay has to be positively evaluated (= or > 18/30) in order to allow the access to the oral examination. Grade 18 (essential knowledge) will be obtained when answers show basic knowledge, without critical discussions or reference to specific experiences and research exemplifying concepts/topics. Grade 30 (excellent knowledge) will be obtained when answers show critical knowledge of the topic/concept, and good capacity to discuss relevant projects and research analysed during classes and in the texts.

2. Oral exam on a text chosen by the student from the proposed list or approved by the teachers. The oral examination is aimed to investigate in depth a specific topic among those illustrated during the course and will be evaluated from 0 to 2 marks, that will be added to the mark of the written essay.

Active participation in class and completion of assigned classwork will contribute up to 25% to the final grade.

In order to be admitted to the exam, students must register on the exam session on Almaesami considering the deadline. Students who are not able to register on Almaesami for technical reasons, should contact the teachers via email before the deadline of the registration.

During the exams calculation tools and vocabularies are not allowed.

Teaching tools

PC, Internet, power point presentations, web resources.

Office hours

See the website of Cinzia Albanesi

See the website of Gabriele Prati