Research Overview

Key objectives of the group are i) to identify and evaluate self-regulation and motivational processes underlying volitional physical activity and eating behaviors and ii) to develop and test interventions aimed at lifestyle change, chronic disease prevention, health and well-being, across the lifespan.

Specific research topics include:

  1. The study of motivational, self-regulatory, and behavioral predictors of healthful eating, physical activity, and weight control, including the use of self-determination theory to understand the regulation of energy balance-related behaviors, and to predict psychosocial outcomes such as vitality, autonomy and psychological well-being.
  2. The study of the prevalence of behavioral strategies and motives associated with weight loss attempts in representative samples of Portuguese adults, in successful “losers” of all ages through the Portuguese National Weight Control Registry, and in other selected samples (e.g. participants in weight control programs, nation-wide running clubs).
  3.   The development and testing of interventions for health professionals, in particular in exercise/physical activity (e.g. fitness clubs) to promote professionals’ motivation, work engagement, client-centered practices, and effectiveness, using self-determination theory and Motivational Interviewing.
  4.   The development, testing and dissemination of a real life group-based, ICT-supported intervention for improving physical activity, sedentary behaviors, eating patterns, and weight control in at-risk male supporters of elite football fans across Europe.
  5.   The role of physical activity/exercise and sedentary behaviors in initial and long-term weight management, particularly through their association with eating regulation, body image, and psychological well-being, in treatment groups and in population-based samples.
  6.   The development of measurement instruments to capture self-regulation variables related to physical activity, eating and weight-control behaviors, building a national repository, which is available for Portuguese researchers in free and open-access.
  7.   The use of active-video games and other information-based technologies (including portable media devices, websites, and telephone/SMS) within health-enhancing interventions to promote energy balance-related behaviors across the lifespan.
  8.   The study of parenting behaviours, styles and attitudes as determinants of children eating behaviours and developing and evaluating parenting intervention’s effects  on children eating behaviors.