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Health Promotion through School Engagement & Emotion Regulation 

Health Promotion through school engagement: PhD by Anabela Caetano Santos under the supervision of Celeste Simões (FMH, PT), Patrícia Arriaga, and Márcia Melo (IPUSP, Brasil)

REFERENCE: SFRH/BD/126304/2016

YEARS: 2018-2022

Anabela Caetano Santos completed her PhD with a grant from the Portuguese National Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT), focusing on School Engagement, and also a Master's degree with a dissertation on Emotion regulation in University Students.

Student engagement is associated with higher academic performance and persistence, influencing academic completion. Social and emotional competencies (SECs) are fundamental protective factors for healthy development. Despite being associated with SE, there are research gaps in this area. Therefore, we aimed to analyze the association between SECs and Student Engagement, accounting for individual and environmental factors.

  • A systematic review was performed on the link between Social and Emotional Competencies and Student Engagement among youth.

  • A short version of the Cognitive Emotion Regulation Questionnaire (CERQ), designed to assess cognitive emotion regulation strategies, was evaluated among youth aged 10 to 25 years.

  • Four quantitative studies were performed to examine the association between SECs and SE:

    • A study focused on Emotion Regulation Strategies (ERS), utilizing a representative sample of Portuguese youth aged 10 to 25 years.

    • A comparative analysis of students living with their parents versus those in residential care, examining the influence of perceptions of school success and absenteeism rates.

    • An investigation into the role of a country's development level, involving university students from nine different countries.

    • A longitudinal study investigating the impact of school engagement on mental health outcomes.

The findings from her Thesis indicated that Social and Emotional Competencies (SECs) are positively linked with higher Social Engagement (SE) and reduced absenteeism, irrespective of family or sociocultural context. SE helps in maintaining SECs in challenging environments. A perception of school success lowers absenteeism, and Cognitive and Social Engagement (CSE) appears to predict improved SE and mental health. To boost the efficacy of health-promotion programs, it's essential to integrate Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) universally into academic curricula, including at the university level. These programs should address the developmental needs and characteristics of individuals. SE is vital for promoting health, particularly among the most vulnerable students and in difficult situations. Support for SE should include youth-friendly policy implementation.

Her Master's dissertation examined the effects of Combined Cognitive Reappraisal (CCR - a process involving acceptance and perspective-taking) and suppression, using the Trier Social Stress Test in a randomized controlled study. The study collected subjective, physiological (heart rate variability), and behavioral data. While no significant differences in affective ratings were observed between groups, the CCR group exhibited lower physiological stress, higher heart rate variability, and their speech was better perceived. They also showed more affiliative smiles and hand gestures. These results suggest that CCR is more effective than suppression in managing social stress.

Celeste Simões
Patrícia Arriaga
Márcia Melo


  • Santos, A. C., Simões, C., Melo, M. H. S., Santos, M., Freitas, I., Branquinho, C., Cefai, C., Arriaga, P. (2023). A systematic review of the relationship between social and emotional competencies and student engagement in youth. Educational Research Review, 100535.

  • Santos, A. C., Arriaga, P., Daniel, J. R., Cefai, C., Melo, M. H.S., Psyllou, A., Shieh, J-J, Schutte, N., Furtado, C., David, C.H., Azevedo, M. C., Andreou, E., Simões, C. (2023). Social and emotional competencies as predictors of student engagement in youth: A cross-cultural multilevel study. Studies in Higher Education, 48 (1), 1-19.

  • Santos, A., Simões, C., Branquinho, C., & Arriaga, P. (2023). Truancy: The relevance of resilience-related internal assets, student engagement and perception of school success in youth living with parents and in residential care. Child Abuse & Neglect, 142 (Part 1), 105819, 1-9.

  • Santos, A. C., Freitas, E., Ceifai, C., Simões, C., Arriaga, P. (2021). Emotion regulation and student engagement: Age and gender differences across adolescence. International Journal of Educational Research, 109, 101830.

  • Santos, A. C., Arriaga, P., & Simões, C. (2021). Catching the audience in a job interview: Effects of emotion regulation strategies on subjective, physiological, and behavioural responses. Biological Psychology, 162, 108089.

  • Santos, A. C., Arriaga, P., Simões, C. (2021). Psychometric validation of the Portuguese version of the Measure of Anxiety in Selection Interviews. International Journal of Selection and Assessment, 29(2), 285–292.


2019. My way or no way: impacto da familiaridade com a estratégia de regulação emocional na qualidade do processo regulatório em contexto de stress agudo de Camilla Corso Silveira, Master in Science on Emotions, ISCTE-IUL.  

Supervisor: Cristina Camilo; Co-supervisor: Patrícia Arriaga.

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