ECP 2017


The European Congress of Psychology 2017 was  held in Amsterdam from July 11th to 14th at RAI Amsterdam Convention Centre, Europaplein 2, 1078 GZ, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

This Board  presented a symposium and a round table. The symposium  focused on the individual work of Board members and the round table on challenges facing the implementation of applied psychology in prevention in the coming decades. The presentations from the round table and the symposium are on the left.


Looking ahead:Challenges and opportunities for applied psychology in prevention
Date: Wednesday July 12
Timeslot: 16:00 - 17:30 hrs.
Program code: EFPA13

Introduction & Objectives

Tony Wainwright

As social scientists, as we look to the future there are some issues that should raise concern for everybody (for example, climate change, biodiversity loss, antibiotic resistance, the emerging breakdown of the past decade of international cooperation, the tensions from the adverse impact of globalisation, the refugee crisis) ;  but also there are some very exciting developments (for example genomics, new energy systems, vastly increased access to education and knowledge through social and other internet based media) which offer major opportunities. For those of us working in the field of prevention the aim is to scale up our efforts so that they address these challenges in a realistic way, using the opportunities outlined above. These issues will be explored during this round table discussion, with short presentations from experts in a number of different fields to open up the conversation. A key aim of this session will be to promote networking among applied psychologists with an interest in prevention and promotion in diverse fields and to encourage linking up with others in European based organisations like the European Society for Prevention Research  and the European Public Health Association . This is not symposium that will have any answers – it may have the beginnings of some – but will likely pose more questions, and asking the right questions may be an important part of the solution. 

Title: Psychological debriefing for groups of adolescents: should we use it?

Anne Plantade-Gipch

Psychological debriefing is used with groups exposed to critical events to prevent the development of stress and traumatic responses. However, this type of intervention has been criticized, especially when used with groups of adolescent. Why is that so?

Title: Prevention and genetics: and unlikely combination?

Jennifer Klop-Richards

The field of genetic research is evolving quickly. While in the past genetic research was costly and time consuming, with new technologies for DNA sequencing a vast amount of genetic information is becoming more and more accessible. Nowadays it is even possible to take a peek at your own genes with personalized gene-testing services. In this session the consequences of such advancements will be discussed in light of prevention research. For example, studies have shown that not everyone may be as responsive to prevention treatments based on their genetic make-up. This is referred to as differential genetic susceptibility. Taking such individual differences into account may require a new generation of prevention programs that go beyond universal programs. However, the question remains will it at all be possible to create such programs?

Title: Focusing on populations' assets and active engagement

Margarida Gaspar de Matos

Contemporary models of people development and problem prevention can be generally grouped into one of three types: prevention, resiliency, and positive development. Even though each approach gives a unique contribution to the knowledge on coping, development, and human adaptation, they all share several key features and a common vision focused on improving the life of people. These approaches rely on the basic principles of risk, protection, assets, and outcomes, but differ with regard to the relative emphasis placed on each.  All three approaches can have a place in public policies in the area of people development, but it is still necessary to develop a more integrated conceptual framework and to increase the dialogue among practitioners and researchers


Title: Universal Prevention Curriculum in Europe

Roman Gabrhelik

Up-to-date and evidence-based knowledge, relevant skills, and proper competences are essential to delivering best pactices to various target groups in prevention. Universal prevention curriculum (UPC) represents completely new model of university master program for students – a comprehensive study program in addiction and prevention science. We will discuss the context and procedure of UPC pilot implementation and creating new master study program integrated UPC curriculum in European universities.


Title: How can psychologists and national psychology associations influence (encourage) decision makers to engage in or initiate more prevention and intervention?

Britt Randi Hjartnes Schjodt

Psychological theory and competence is the core of many promotive and preventive actions concerning psychological development, mental health, social functioning and life quality. Examples are attachment work, parental guiding, family work, social skills training, coping groups, motivation and behaviour change and different short term therapies. Psychologists can understand and contribute to change in both individuals and systems.   

Although psychologists possess the competence, we rarely see psychologists where system decisions are being made. The presenter would like to discuss if and how psychologist can play a bigger role in influencing and advising more promotion and prevention action. Is it necessary to hold a position closer to the decision grounds? The presenter will give examples of her own work as a bureaucrat in Bergen Norway

Title: Behavioural economics and applied psychology in prevention.

Lieven Brebels

A multitude of biases - limits on cognition and motivation - leads people from all walks of life to make suboptimal prevention and health choices. By adding insight into the underlying mechanisms driving our choices, behavioural economics provides simple tools to design intervention programmes that encourage good prevention and health decisions and facilitate long-term behavioural change. This short session aims to add insight and preliminary experience in applying some of the most effective ones.    



Psychology and prevention science in a changing world.

Program code: EFPA18
Date: Thursday July 13
Time slot: 09:00 – 10:30 hrs.

Introduction & Objectives:

Tony Wainwright

The EFPA Board of Prevention and Intervention was established in 2010 to raise the profile of applied psychology in prevention. The presentation will the approach the Board has been taking including the development of guidelines on applied psychology in prevention in work with children and young people.

We live in a constant changing world, where new challenges to health and wellbeing arise. As a consequence we need to keep evaluating which areas need increased attention, in order to provide adequate and sustainable prevention practices. The spiraling costs of healthcare systems across the world are leading to an increasing focus on prevention – at least in rhetorical terms. Investment in this area remains low compared with treatment systems. While history shows there has been some remarkable progress globally in the scale of violence for example, (Pinker, 2011)  there is increasing concern that the world is at a turning point (climate change, political upheaval, conflicts on the rise again) and that prevention science is one possible way in which we might address some of these challenges.

Psychologists have a key role to play in this field and this symposium will provide an overview of the work of the EFPA Board of Prevention and Intervention ( ). The Board has particularly focussed on the quality of prevention practice and science as prevention programmes’  success depend greatly on the persons involved and their qualifications -  a special focus is needed to guarantee appropriate training is available.  In this area we will present a conceptual framework on understanding the role of psychotherapy in prevention programmes.

The symposium presents areas of prevention work with children and young people and also some benchmarking work on applied psychology in prevention across Europe.


9.05 Title: Evidence-based treatments, clinical experience and patient uniqueness: towards a framework for psychotherapy in the field of prevention.

Anne Plantade and Barbara Craciun

Psychologist interventions vary on a continuum that goes from psychotherapy to psycho-education. What are the contributions of Evidence-Based Treatments, clinical experience and patient uniqueness to prevention? This question helped us construct a framework for psychotherapy in the field of prevention.

9.15 Title : Benchmarking psychology and prevention in EFPA member association countries.

Britt Randi Hjartnes SchjodtIrena Stojadinović

This presentation is divided into two sections and aims to give an overview of results from the second wave survey 2016-2017 carried out by the EFPA Board of Prevention and Intervention

a. Applied Psychology and Prevention in Europe – according to National Associations, research boards, universities and professionals. 
This presentation provides information about the position of promotion and prevention in psychology in academic and professional institutions in Europe. It describes prevention programmes at policy level, prevention practices and research groups. It gives an overview of types of engagement, topics and knowledge available as well as reflects on possible improvements.

b. Applied Psychology and Prevention in Europe – according to psychology students. 
This presentation provides information about the position of promotion and prevention in European academic context perceived by students. It describes knowledge, training and courses offered to students during their studies. Additionally, it gives the students’ proposals for improvement.

9.25 Title: Social predictors of young adults wellbeing

Jennifer Klop Richards

Background. The social environment plays a crucial role in child development. Previous literature has shown parenting and peer experiences during childhood and adolescence can have lasting effects well into adulthood. In this study we examined which social experiences during adolescence contribute to later functioning in young adulthood.

Methods. Participants were included from the longitudinal population-based Dutch Tracking Adolescents’ Individual Lives Survey (TRAILS) study (n = 2230). Functioning during young adulthood (age 22) was assessed through measures of mental health, socio-academic functioning, and general health ratings. Using structural equation modelling we analysed the individual and joint influences of home and peer experiences assessed during pre- and mid adolescence (age 11 and 16) on later functioning.

Results. The results showed that especially home experiences during early (i.e. parental warmth, problem solving reactions) and mid-adolescence (i.e. family functioning, parental overprotection, negative reactions) predicted later functioning. While peer experiences did not independently predict later functioning, moderating effects between home and peer environments were found. The association between peer status in early adolescence and later functioning was stronger when parental rejection was low or families functioned better, but not present when parental rejection was high or family functioning was low. A similar pattern was found for the association between peer fighting and when parental monitoring was low in mid-adolescence.

Conclusions. Our findings support the notion that peer and home environments are interdependent and highlight the relevance of targeting both home and peer relationships to promotive well-being and prevent negative functioning.

9.35 Title: Why the dream teens ?

Margarida Gaspar de Matos

A key aspect of a Positive Youth Development (PYD) framework is that everybody, and not just those at risk, should be involved in maintaining or developing healthy behaviours, and to help others to engage in positive development actions as well.

The Dream Teens is a Portuguese nationwide young people network. Its mission was to ensure a nationwide opportunity for Portuguese youth to be empowered as agents of change, to have their voices heard, and at the same time to participate and engage as partners in decision making about issues that affect their lives and communities. The Dream Teens included a number of themes that will be presented. Young people interacted via Facebook with guidance from the team. The topics included six specific areas related to research questions : 1) Personal Resources and Well-Being; 2) Social Capital and Social relationships; 3) Love and Sexuality; 4) Addictions and Injuries; 5) Life-Styles; and 6) Citizenship and Social Participation. A book was written with the involvement of all Dream Teens participants, and was translated in French and English for international dissemination. Dissemination was also made available through media, social media, a web page[[i]] and three web-blogs[[ii]]

Analysing the results, no concerns in increasing motivation and competence among young people emerged, and the project was evaluated very satisfactory by the adolescents involved. At an institutional level and at a local authority level, a lot of difficulties surfaced that impaired the creation of opportunities and of the sustainability of the project.  In sum, parents, school, peer groups, neighbours and the whole local community must all be jointly involved in the process of promoting health and wellbeing. Young people definitely have a specific place in human development, and the political and professional understanding of this fact will allow professionals to provide better health and educational services.




9.55 Title: Comprehensive Training in Prevention Science and Interventions: Implementing the International Universal Prevention Curriculum (UPC) in the Czech Republic 

Roman Gavrhelik

The Universal Prevention Curriculum (UPC) was developed through the US-based organization APSI (Applied Prevention Science International) with renowned prevention researchers in the U.S. It is based on UNODC’s International Standards on Drug Use Prevention and the EDPQS (European Drug Prevention Quality Standards). The UPC includes: physiology and pharmacology; monitoring and evaluation; as well as prevention in the areas of the family, school, workplace, media; environment and community-based implementation systems) and will be pilot-implemented in 9 EU member states in 2017 and 2018. We will introduce the UPC and discuss possibilities and advantages related to wider implementation on the European level.

10.05 Title: Promoting effective and preventing adverse behavioral effects in ethics policy-making

Lieven Brebels

When thinking about the promotion of ethical and the prevention of unethical behavior, we often quickly revert to discussing “what people should do and what they should not do”. Behavioral ethics adopts a less normative approach by describing actual behavior of people in moral contexts and their judgment of the decisions of others, how situational and social forces can cause good people to do bad things, and by studying ways in which decisions can be nudged in a more ethical direction through simple intervention programmes. The present contribution aims to add insight into when and why ethics policies effectively or adversely influence behaviors and decisions.

10.05 Closing discussion.