ABOUT US

THE PROJECT’S TEAM

Our research team includes researchers with expertise in school psychology, developmental psychology and health psychology, as well as specialists in developing software for web-related content.

Catrinel Alice Ștefan, Ph.D.

Lecturer

Is a Lecturer at the Department of Psychology from Babeș-Bolyai University. Her research interests include: 1) investigating inter-individual differences in the development of social-emotional competencies as a function of parent-child interactions; 2) investigating risk/protective factors for psychopathology; and 3) developing and implementing trainings for teachers and parents, aimed at improving children’s social-emotional skills and preventing mental health problems.

Delia Cristescu, Ph.D.

Ph.D. student

Is enrolled as a Ph.D. student at the Applied Cognitive Psychology Doctoral School from Babeș-Bolyai University and is currently employed as a school counselor. Her research interests are focused on: 1) school-related factors associated with improved academic outcomes for children exposed to traumatic events; 2) emotion regulation and its role in school adjustment; and 3) effective parenting strategies in at-risk population.

drd. Oana Petre, Ph.D.

Ph.D. student

Is enrolled as a Ph.D. student at the Applied Cognitive Psychology Doctoral School from Babeș-Bolyai University. Her research interests focus on: 1) the psychosocial impact of organ donation and transplant; 2) investigating factors associated with children’s social-emotional development; and 3) implementing and effectiveness testing of parent interventions for preventing children’s mental health problems.

Ing. psih. Călin Căpraru

Software engineer

Is an engineer with expertise in web-design, who is also specialized in clinical psychology and psychotherapy, who is involved in the current project to develop the software architecture of the platform based on the psychological characteristics of web-users. His company has interests in multiple domains such as implementing software/digital media for therapy and e-learning based on AR/VR/Holo with multilanguage, multiplatform features in the "do-it-yourself" approach.

”SOCIAL-EMOTIONAL PREVENTION PROGRAM plus" (SEP+)

The Social-Emotional Prevention Program (SEP) was developed in 2008 as an intervention aiming to enhance the development of preschoolers’ social-emotional competencies and reduce their risk of behavioral problems. The program proposes a multilevel approach, including the following components: 1) a classroom delivered curriculum for developing children social-emotional skills; 2) a teacher training aimed at improving classroom climate and enhance their ability to deliver the content of the curriculum; and 3) a parent training focused on improving parenting strategies and developing their ability to coach children’s social-emotional competencies.

The first objective of this project is to develop an improved version of the SEP program, by including a web-based component which would enable teachers and parents to access high-quality, free educational materials in multimedia form (text, images, video content). Hence, the SEP+ program (the advanced version) combines face to face and technology-assisted intervention, which we expect will improve its effectiveness. Consequently, the project’s second aim is to compare the effectiveness of the SEP+ (advanced version) with the SEP (standard). Also, we intend to assess in more depth the extent to which participation in the program is related to developing more adaptive emotion regulation strategies by children and their parents, and whether these could be mechanisms explaining the intervention’s effectiveness.

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Project outcomes

As a result of implementing the project, the following outcomes were obtained:

  • The project team developed the advanced SEP, one of the few technology-assisted multi-focused prevention programs featuring components for children (the classroom curriculum for social-emotional competence development, for teachers’ professional development and for parents. Overall, during the project’s implementation 265 children were exposed to the activities from the classroom curriculum, 40 teachers participated in training activities aimed at preparing them to deliver the program, and 130 parents received counseling.
  • The advanced SEP was initially assessed in a feasibility study, which showed that both parents and teachers perceived positively the program’s content. The users’ reactions to web-based content indicated that the information was well organized, user-friendly and includes multimedia materials adapted to children’s developmental stage, relevant for stimulating social-emotional skills’ development, as well as personal development resources for adults (teachers, parents) aimed at guiding the use of strategies which shape children’s skill learning.
  • Next, the SEP program was assessed in a randomized-controlled trial which revealed that children who participated in the intervention exhibited better developed social-emotional competencies compared to children who did not participate, and parents who attended the program reported more use of emotional self-regulation strategies and more emotion coaching strategies than parents who did not attend the program. These outcomes add to the empirical evidence supporting the program’s effectiveness and suggest that the SEP can be recommended as an optional activity for preschoolers’ social-emotional development.

This project is funded by Ministry of Education and Research of Romania
CNCS – UEFISCDI part of PNCDI III, project code PN-III-P1-1.1-TE-2019-0226

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