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Health psychology is concerned with understanding how psychological, behavioral, and cultural factors contribute to physical health and illness. Health psychologists aim to increase both the quality of life and the life expectancy of populations by the promotion of psychological health and provision of psychological health interventions. Professor Aleksandra Łuszczyńska, in her lecture entitled From research to practice: the impact of behavior change interventions in real world settings will talk about achievements and current burning issues in the area of health psychology.

Lecture open to the public – free admission.

Public Lecture

20 2017


From research to practice: the impact of behavior change interventions in real world settings

Using the theory of scientific revolutions (Kuhn, 1962), which argues that the evolution of scientific theory emerges from a changing intellectual environment and technological possibilities, rather than straightforward accumulation of knowledge, this talk introduces the achievements and current burning issues in the area of health psychology: our ‘normal science’, emerging anomalies, crisis in research and a call for a new paradigm, as well as scientific revolutions required.

Health psychology is very good in accumulating evidence for interventions that change health outcomes, clarifying new constructs and mechanisms through which they operate and influence health, and identifying techniques of behavior change. However, recent systematic reviews and meta-analyses raise many doubts. In particular, the effects obtained in the psychosocial health promotion interventions may be of low significance. So low, that they do not translate into an increased life expectancy and a better quality of life. Furthermore, when long-term follow-ups are carefully investigated, it turns out that the results of interventions show non-significant effects. Increasing the number of the intervention components does not translate into larger effects (and sometimes translates into smaller effects). As anomalies accumulate, researchers try to tackle them with refocusing their studies using implicit processes-based techniques in health promotion interventions or they redefine health as the results of dyadic (rather than individual) processes. The revolution, however, requires a paradigm shift.

This lecture proposes that such a shift could occur if, apart from the traditional focus on psychosocial theories to develop health promoting intervention, we used implementation theories and identified crucial implementation conditions, which may be responsible for the effect of these interventions. For example, strategies used to reach the target population, secure the choice of most effective implementation strategies, adopt the intervention by target staff and organization, secure low costs, high consistency, and long-term maintenance of interventions may be as relevant as psychosocial theory-based mechanisms and intervention components.

Aleksandra Łuszczyńska - SWPS University and the University of Colorado, USA

Director, Center for Applied Behavioral Health Research at Wrocław Faculty of Psychology, SWPS University in Wrocław, where she teaches health psychology, at SWPS University in Wrocław.

Her research interests focus on the social-cognitive predictors of health behavior change, the development of theory-based interventions, and improving quality of life among people with chronic illness (e.g. the role of social support and benefit finding).

Fellow of the European Health Psychology Society, President of the Health Psychology Division, International Association of Applied Psychology. Editor in Chief of Anxiety, Stress & Coping, and Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being. Member of Council of the Foundation for Polish Science. Member of AcademiaNet, an international database of profiles of outstanding female researchers from all disciplines.

Her publications include Psychologia sportu i aktywności fizycznej. Zagadnienia kliniczne [Psychology of Sport and Exercise. Clinical Issues] (2016), Nadwaga i otyłość. Interwencje psychologiczne [Overweight and Obesity. Psychological Interventions] (2007), Zmiana zachowań zdrowotnych. Dlaczego dobre chęci nie wystarczają [Change of Health Behaviors. Why Good Intentions are Not Enough] (2004).

The Interdisciplinary Doctoral Studies Program, at SWPS University, is proud to host many renowned scholars from around the world. This time, Professor Aleksandra Łuszczyńska will highlight the pressing need for a paradigm shift in health psychology.

Associate Professor Izabela Grabowska, Ph.D., Head, Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program

The Challenges to the Humanities in the 21st Century

“The Challenges to the Humanities in the 21st Century” is a series of lectures by distinguished specialists, representing various disciplines from the field of humanities. The events are aimed at students of the Interdisciplinary Doctoral Studies at SWPS University, however all interested parties are welcome. The format includes post-lecture informal discussions, where doctoral students can debate the lecture topics with the invited experts. The friendly atmosphere is conducive to networking, which lends itself to opportunities of future internships at universities or research centers around the world.

Upcoming Lectures in the Series

June 26, 2017
"Artifacts and Allegiances: How Museums Put the Nation and the World on Display" by Professor Peggy Levitt

Doctoral Studies at SWPS University

Doctoral Studies at SWPS University are directed to people interested in an academic career and also to those, who would like to continue their education and personal development in support of their career advancement. The interdisciplinary character of our programs allows students to participate in projects from various disciplines. Our doctoral students collaborate with scholars from the best research centers in Poland and around the world. The master-apprentice approach guarantees that each student receives individual attention and professional support.

Date and Location

January 20, 2017 (Friday) at 17.00

SWPS University
Chodakowska 19/31, Lecture Hall Nr S306



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