Addressing social isolation and loneliness and promoting psychological wellbeing in young adults

Addressing social isolation and loneliness and promoting psychological wellbeing in young adultsSabrina Cipolletta, Silvia C. M. Tomaino, Elisabetta Venier & Ilaria Tedoldi

Extensive literature on social isolation and loneliness in young people points out that those conditions can negatively influence physical and psychological health, increasing the risks of loneliness-related health problems later in life. To date, especially after two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, the situation regarding loneliness and psychological frailties in young people has become even more urgent to address especially in populations at higher risks as for international students. This population in fact report to face greater social exclusion, discrimination, stigma, difficulties in cultural adaptation and more, compared to their peers, that can exacerbate loneliness and negatively impact on their psychological and physical health.
PsyMed initiated several research projects on social isolation and loneliness in collaboration with associations and other stakeholders in the field. Two of them are listed below.

1. Loneliness, social isolation, and psychological well-being among college students after the COVID-19 pandemic: A cross-sectional study
This project aims to explore and assess the psychosocial well-being, social habits and quality of life of college students at the University of Padua, both resident and international. Data were collected through an online survey created ad hoc by researchers to assess general well-being, perceived social support, anxiety, depression, loneliness, and the perceived impact of the pandemic on quality of life. The peculiarity of this research lies in the comparison between international and Italian students, in order to investigate whether there was a difference in their well-being, loneliness and perceived social support, and in the way the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted their quality of life.
- Manuscript in progress

2. A blended intervention to promote well-being and social connectedness among international students in the University of Padua
The pandemic delineated future directions for the development and implementation of digital interventions in the everyday clinical practice, many studies are starting to evaluate the efficacy and usability of blended (digital and in presence) psychological interventions within different populations. Thus, this study aims to assess the usability and efficacy of a blended psychosocial group intervention to tackle social isolation, loneliness and promoting well-being in international college student enrolled in the University of Padua.

- Manuscript in progress

  Post-mortem organ donation in Italy: perceptions, attitudes and will expression in different groups of the population

Post-mortem organ donation in Italy: perceptions, attitudes and will expression in different groups of the populationSabrina Cipolletta, Silvia C. M. Tomaino, Alessandra Brena, Francesco Procaccio, Paola di Ciaccio, Margherita Gentile & Massimo Cardillo

The present research project was conducted in collaboration with the Centro Nazionale Trapianti (CNT).
Data collection was carried out between June, 2021 and November, 2021 in six representative Italian regions (North: Lombardia and Piemonte, Middle: Toscana and Abruzzo; South: Campania and Puglia). A mixed-method analysis was conducted through 38 focus groups involving a total of 353 participants who also filled in pre- and post-focus group questionnaires with regard to attitude, knowledge and experience towards organ donation and will expression.
The population groups involved were the following:
1. young adult population: being an Italian citizen, between 18 and 40 years of age.
2. adult population: being an Italian citizen, between 41 and 80 years of age.
3. registry office employees: being involved in the will expression registration process in their municipality.
4. hospital healthcare personnel: working in a hospital context but not directly involved in the donation and/or transplantation departments and processes.
5. critical-area healthcare personnel: working in Intensive Care Units (ICU) and/or other departments specifically involved in the donation and/or transplantation process.
6. local healthcare personnel: working as general practitioners, family doctors or in the local clinics.
7. opinion leaders: being a social and community influential person such as municipal councilors, teachers, priests, religious leaders, journalists and more.

The aim of the present study is to explore and understand the current debate on the Italian regulations with regard to organ donation and those many questions that are still open from the previous literature, such as the comprehension of brain death, the transparency and fairness of the organ allocation system, and the modality of will expression, the perceptions, knowledge, fears and doubts regarding after-death organ and tissue donation and will expression in the Italian population asking their direct experience and point of views.
This is the first study to involve different population groups involved in the donation process, such as the individuals who are required to make a choice, registry officers who are required to ask the question with regard to donation, healthcare workers and opinion leaders who have a key role in the process of decision making. Obtaining knowledge from different perspectives may allow us to develop a more complete picture of the situation.
The results of the present study might offer insights into the barriers to donation and the facilitators which can be useful when it comes to planning innovative models of information and awareness-raising for the professional components and the social stakeholders involved in organ donation and transplantation processes, particularly in regions with a higher prevalence of opposition and a lower prevalence of will declaration.

Cipolletta, S., Tomaino, S.C.M., Brena, A., Di Ciaccio,  P., Gentile, M., Procaccio, F., & Cardillo, M. (2023). Life beyond life, perceptions of post-mortem organ donation and will expression. A focus group study in Italy. [Manuscript submitted for publication]. Department of General Psychology, University of Padua.
Tomaino, S.C.M., Procaccio, F., Armanni, T., Cardillo, M., Di Ciaccio,  P., Gentile, & Cipolletta, S., (2023). Attitude, intention to donate and will expression with regard to post-mortem organ donation in different groups of the Italian population  [Manuscript submitted for publication]. Department of General Psychology, University of Padua.

  The lived experience of COVID-19 pandemic: a multiplicity of focus

The lived experience of COVID-19 pandemic: a multiplicity of focus Sabrina Cipolletta, Silvia C. M. Tomaino, Mattia Donati, Sara Filisetti, Benedetta Morandini & Lorenza Entilli

1. Stories of Life During a Pandemic (

Study network: Romania, Tel Aviv, Israel, Switzerland, Sofia, California, Massachusetts, Boston, Sofia, Malaysia, Brazil, The Netherlands, Germany and Italy.

The project aims to understand how people are making sense of their lives as they are being transformed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the purpose is to gain understanding of the diverse psychological, occupational and social impacts of the pandemic, as well as the diverse ways of making sense and moving forward. The project is informed by narrative health psychology theory and methodology, as applied to health and illness.

The participation in the web-based online survey takes about 20 minutes. Participants will answer several questions about demographics and write responses to 3 open ended questions. Participation will be handled in a confidential manner and any reports or publications will not identify any individual as being in this project. Particpants must be at least 18 years old to take this survey. The decision to participate in this research study is voluntary. The survey is available in several languages.

More info about the study at the link:



2. Traumatic stress symptoms during a global pandemic: The case of COVID-19 (International project)

Research project in collaboration with Canada, France and other countries, aiming to investigate the experience of COVID-19 in terms of traumatic event and potential inductor of trauma-and stress-related diagnoses (AD and PTSD). More specifically, we will examine the prevalence and severity of AD and PTSD symptoms/self-rated diagnosis during the COVID-19 pandemic among various international convenience samples.

The primary hypothesis is that the COVID-19 will represent a traumatic event (i.e. represent a life-threat and eliciting fear, helplessness, and horror) for a substantial proportion of individuals, among which some will develop a full-blown AD or a PTSD.

This longitudinal survey will involve a convenience sample of adults completing a short online questionnaire administered. Those who agree to participate to other surveys will be invited to fill-out two other surveys separated by two weeks, over the course of a month. Adults from China, the US, Italy, and Canada affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, will be invited to complete a 5-min. survey.

This study will provide a much-needed understanding of the potentially traumatizing impact of global viral pandemics. Results from this study can inform the development of appropriate mental health policies at governmental levels and clinical practices servicing affected individuals, allowing them to receive effective interventions.

Considering the immediate relevance of the proposed study to the current social climate, the results will have far reaching implications and will be disseminated through various mediums both within and outside of academia.


3. Advancing knowledge for public health response to covid-19 pandemic (COVID-19-RAA), International project

A group of experts from 33 countries worldwide collaborating to develop an online tool that allows people to calculate their risk of contracting and spreading the virus that causes COVID-19. Users will get an estimate of their risk. Three important risk factors will be addressed: hand hygiene, keeping sufficient distance in public places, and avoiding going out. Behaviour is in the foreground : what should you do, and what should you avoid to reduce your risk? Based on their answers, users will receive tailored advice on how to change their behaviour. This way, users can minimize the risk to themselves and their loved ones. The team managing the ‘Your COVID-19 Risk’ tool will compare the data internationally, providing advice to governments and health agencies on the best measures to take in their region. The more people that use the tool, the better the advice. This will enable governments and health agencies to keep improving their messages to the general public.

Link to the tool for calculating your COVID-19 risk:


4. Health behavior change during COVID-19 pandemic: the focus on handwashing. International project

An international scientific study on changes in handwashing behaviors during COVID-19 pandemic as well as social cognitive determinants of handwashing, involving Poland, Australia, Romania, Italy, Canada, China, Portugal, Singapore, Germany, Malaysia, Switzerland, United Kingdom and Gambia, France and Israel. The project aims to explore whether we wash our hands in line with the recommendations of global health organizations (such as World Health Organization, WHO), and thus protect ourselves from infections with viruses such as SARS-CoV-19. Based on this study, we also aim to gain more insight about the best practices to promote handwashing, on a local level.


5. Isolation and loneliness in older population living isolated in Veneto region during COVID-19 pandemic

The purpose of this research study is to investigate how COVID-19 pandemic can affect behaviors and perceptions of social connection and support in older people living in isolation in the Veneto Region, exploring how new media communication tools are used to compensate the physical separation from their beloved ones.


6. Caregiving a patient with Alzheimer Disease during COVID-19 pandemic

A qualitative study aiming to investigate changes in the care process of a family member affected by Alzheimer, during the COVID-19 pandemic. The study will investigate psychological and practical issues of the care process, in informal caregivers, specifically adult children of patients affected, and how the changes in the care process and in the needs of the patient affected, due to the medical risks and social isolation, are influencing their everyday life and psychological wellbeing.


7. Bereavement by COVID-19:

A qualitative study aiming to investigate the lived experience of bereavement by COVID-19 in the deceased’s family members. The lived experience in terms of psychological suffering and needs, will be explored in order to promote better intervention practices for family members after this traumatic experience. The project will involve people from Lombardy and Veneto region, two regions reporting the highest rates of deceased due to COVID-19.

  An online support group for people bereaved by COVID-19

Asynchronous online support for people bereaved by COVID-19Sabrina Cipolletta and Lorenza Entilli in collaboration with De Leo Fund

The project regards the creation of an online asynchronous mutual-aid group on Facebook. The group will be addressed to people who have experienced the traumatic loss of a significant other due to COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2).

The aim of the study is to collect and analyze qualitatively the conversations (through posts and comments on the group) over the bereavement experience of the participants.

The closed online group (as it will be only accessible after having been accepted by the admin) will provide online, informational and emotional asynchronous support, provide adaptive coping skills, foster peer-support and, ultimately, promote sense-making and meaning creation to allow the inclusion of the traumatic event in the personal narratives of the users.

Text-provided online counseling is considered fruitful in contexts involving grief or intense emotional burden: writing about a traumatic experience could be therapeutically beneficial and allow to “draw out emotions” through typing. Moreover, not intended to be a replacement for face-to-face therapy, online groups represent an important form of technology-mediated interaction, able to provide peer support and normalize overwhelming emotions, in a context of temporarily limited movement; as a matter of fact, being able to reach for support from home may help users to feel safe in their own environment.

The psychologist moderating the group is experienced in working with the bereaved and skilled in providing assistance should a participant become distressed. The study will be carried out according to the general data protection regulation (EU) 2016/679 ("GDPR") and after having obtained informed consent from the participants.

The results of the present study may guide future research on the subject of online bereavement support in the context of an health emergency (such as the one due to COVID-19) and have important implications on the implementation of support tools for online interventions in response to traumatic events.

Click here to access the group:

  Online Psychological Intervention

Online Counseling

If we consider the increasing development of information technologies, the use of new methods of communication and the shifting of interactions even in the cyberspace seem inevitable.
Online psychological interventions are a form of interaction in which user and professional communicate through the Internet, for example via email, chat, forum or webcam.
It is a relatively recent practice, still controversial and debated: this field may actually involve risks, but at the same time is full of great potentials.

For this PsyMed initiated three research projects on online psychological intervention:

1. Online psychological interventions during the COVID-19 pandemic
Sabrina Cipolletta, Silvia Caterina Maria Tomaino and Gian Mauro Manzoni
In the frame of a wider PhD project focused on the implementation of strategies and resources for telepsychology and online psychological interventions in Italy, this first project aims to explore the attitudes and experiences of Italian psychologists and psychotherapists with the online clinical practice. As the COVID-19 pandemic forced the switch to an online setting for psychological interventions, many psychologists and psychotherapists faced new unprecedent challenges in their everyday clinical practice transferred online such as: tools and resources to implement, personal attitudes, clients’/patients’attitudes, therapeutic relationship online, being present online and many more. An online survey has been developed to explore the personal experiences, attitudes, hardware and software resources deployed and technological competences of Italian professionals with the psychological online interventions before and after the pandemic; focusing on willingness of use, resources employment and satisfaction in use together with the experience reported by clients/patients. The aim of our project is to identify resources and limitations experienced by Italian psychologists and psychotherapists when practicing online in order to address properly needs and expectations connected to the online interventions, moving in the direction of implementing and improving tools and strategies for the psychological practice online.
Link to the survey:

2.  Italian psychologists’ attitudes toward online consultation
Sabrina Cipolletta and Damiano Mocellin
The goal of the second project is to investigate the diffusion and the application modality of online counseling, that, for its characteristic of multidimensionality, requires the analysis of different aspects (theoretical, psychological, deontological, technical, normative, …). We want to identify more appropriate areas of intervention and to assess the accessibility according to the different purposes and kind of users. In particular, we want to get to the delineation of guidelines for video-counseling, that likely will be the most widely used online service tool in the future. Moreover we would like to stimulate professionals’ interest and involvement, thus creating a virtual community which is active in the research about online counseling in the psychological field.
In this regard, we built a tool to gather information about online counseling, and, in particular, that one carried through webcam: it is a self-assessment questionnaire addressed to psychologists, counselors and therapists interested in the topic.

3. Online therapeutic relationship
Sabrina Cipolletta, Eleonora Frassoni and Elena Faccio  
The third project consists of a qualitative analysis of the formation of the therapeutic relationship between the psychologist and the person who approaches the psychological counseling preferring an online modality to the traditional vis-à-vis modality. The research aims to explore the different features that therapeutic relationship assumes when talks take place via webcam (Skype), analyzing how the means of communication is inserted between the two communicating persons and influences their mutual being and staying in the relationship. For the purposes of the therapeutic process, the relationship established between psychologist and patient is the engine that allows any form of change: therefore it is of fundamental importance to understand how the means of communication used influences its formation.

Cipolletta, S. (2015). When therapeutic relationship is online: some reflections on Skype sessions. Costruttivismi, 2, 88-97.  doi: 10.23826/2015.01.088.097

Cipolletta, S., Frassoni, E., & Faccio, E. (2018). Construing a therapeutic relationship online: An analysis of Skype sessions. Clinical Psychologist, 22, 220-229. doi:10.1111/cp.12117

Cipolletta, S., & Mocellin, D (2018). Online counseling: Psychologists' attitudes towards new ways of interaction. Psychotherapy research, 28, 909-924. doi: 10.1080/10503307.2016.1259533

  Exploring the cultural representations and clinical implications of suicide and its bereavement in Italy

The cultural representations and clinical implications of suicideSabrina Cipolletta, Lorenza Entilli, Ilaria Cerbo

In Italy, 3,987 deaths bysuicide have been registered in 2015. For every person taking their life, a consistent number of people, among relatives, friends and colleagues, are estimated to be significantly affected. In fact, people who have lost a close person to suicide -often referred to as “survivors”- suffer from significant psychological distress, guilt, stigma and isolation that can lead to complicated grief and increased suicide risk.

Expanding our knowledge over the experience of suicide bereavement in Italy might representa valid preventive tool for suicide emulation and could improve interventions to help people deal with their grief.PsyMed aims to promote awareness and start a conversation over a topic considered taboo, nonetheless worth to be discussed. Specifically, two research projects have been initiated over the thematic of suicide and people bereaved by suicide.

1. The first project focuses on people who have lost a close person to suicide

In collaboration with prof. De Leo and De Leo Fund Onlus,one of the major associations in Italy providing free of charge support forpeople bereaved by a traumatic loss, we are conducting a survey on a national level, aimed at investigating the characteristics, experiences, and needs of people who have lost a close person to suicide.

Of particular interest for us is to assess how “survivors” seek (or do not seek) for help, which modalities (e.g. formal or informal; online forums or live chats) are perceived to be more helpful and which support tools appeal to distinctive subsets of survivors (differentiated, for example, by kinship, age or time distance from the loss).At the same time, a qualitative analysis is being conducted on live-chats conversations occurred between 2014 and 2019 on the web-platform De Leo Fund Onlus madeavailable for people bereaved by suicide and other traumatic deaths. Through this chat service, users can receive free of charge emotional and informative support by a trained operator.Quantitative and qualitative data will be integrated in order to construe a comprehensive model of what are the critical challenges in seeking formal or informal help during suicide bereavement and how perceived social support or socio demographic characteristics may mediate for poor outcomes.

No such analyses have been conducted so far in Italy. The results will provide useful directions for the design of interventions and, in general, contribute to the knowledge about suicide and its impact on survivors.

Click here to access the survey:

2. The second project aims to explore the cultural scripts through which the suicide is represented in Italian media

In collaboration with Silvia Canetto, Colorado State University (USA).

Cultural scripts theory provides a framework and a method for studying cultural narratives of suicide: suicide scripts include the beliefs about suicidal behavior in a particular culture, together with the conditions under which suicidal behavior is expected, by whom, how, and why.For the purposes ofthis study, paper and online articles of local newspapers in North Eastern Italian regions will be coded.

The content analysis will allow us to highlight how the theme of suicide is treated, what descriptions and explanations recur and what remains unsaid. Knowledge of these narratives not only contributesto the development of culturally-specific suicide theory but can also guide the development of culturally-specific suicide prevention.

  End-of-life and Healthcare Organizations

End-of-life and Healthcare OrganizationsSabrina Cipolletta, Nadia Oprandi, Margherita Reggiani, Silvia C. M. Tomaino

Technological advances have led to a prolonging of life at advanced stages of terminal illness, increasing life expectancy and raising ethical questions regarding the relevance of quality of life rather than its mere prolongation. Public and private dialogues around the possible benefits and burdens of the new life-sustaining treatments have opened up the central importance of exploring patients’ goals and preferences about their treatments. Still, literature showed an existent discrepancy between the wishes of end-of-life patients and their actual experiences. At this point, communication and advance planning for desired end-of-life care is essential to support patients’ wishes.

Three studies have been conducted within PsyMed. Two studies explored a healthcare organization and its treatment of end-of-life patients before and after the introduction of a law on advance directives. 
A third study, conducted in association with the Italian National Centre for Transplantation, explored people’s attitudes towards after-death organ donation.

Cipolletta, S., & Oprandi, N. (2014). What is a good death? Health professionals’ narrations on end-of-life care. Death Studies, 38, 20-27. doi: 10.1080/07481187.2012.707166

  Online Communities and Health

Online Communities and HealthSabrina Cipolletta, Margherita Reggiani, Silvia C.M. Tomaino, Riccardo Votadoro, Elena Faccio

Nowadays, the growing and pervasive importance of the Internet in everyday life has profoundly reshaped ways of communicating and socializing, consequently altering the means by which individuals access networks available for social and emotional support. An online virtual community consists of people who interact together socially on a technical platform. The community is built on a common interest, a common problem or a common task of its members. Two research lines have been developed within PsyMed in order to explore patients’ online communities and social network sites.

1. Online health communities
Online communities have become an important source of health information and social support; exchanging of information and emotional support are two major factors motivating consumers to join online communities. Online health communities can also be used by users to share experiences, exchange knowledge, implement social support, increase disease-specific expertise and tailor care to their individual needs. In terms of health professionals, the use of online health communities could enable interdisciplinary collaboration and engage patients in their healthcare process. Three studies have been conducted within PsyMed exploring online communities for transgender people, for patients with fibromyalgia and for women with pelvic pain.

2. Online communities and adolescent wellbeing
In the context of online communities, social networking sites (SNSs) have a particularly important place, being widely used as a primary medium for communication and networking. In contrast to traditional mass media, a large proportion of SNS content is peer-generated, meaning that users are simultaneously information sources and receivers. Moreover, individuals can actively decide how and how much they participate on SNSs, with the possibility of taking part in a variety of activities, such as sharing photos, videos and everyday information about their lives, and making online comments about others’ and their own activities, thus giving rise to social interactions.
Given the substantial and growing prevalence of the use of wireless communication technologies and social media, especially in young people, understanding the health and social consequences of online social networking for them is of critical importance. In this respect, PsyMed is developing a series of studies on the relationship between adolescent wellbeing and the use of SNSs. A first study explored adolescent self-perception and interpersonal relationships in relation to the use of Instagram. Another study analyzes the effects of the use of SNSs, in particular Instagram and Snapchat, on body image and bodily experience of adolescent girls undergoing treatment for eating disorders. Finally, a third study explores adolescents’ experience of gaming online. In fact, an increasing number of users are using video-entertainment platforms, which are strongly oriented towards the achievement of objectives that facilitate various types of social interaction that can take the form of cooperation and teamwork, and also require a certain degree of organization and strategy among players.

Cipolletta, S., Votadoro, R., & Faccio, E. (2017). Online support for transgender people: A qualitative study of online Italian Communities. Health and social care in the community, 25(5), 1542-1551. doi:10.1111/hsc.12448

  CROP: Determinant calibration 1

CROPWhat are the attitudes of Italians towards smoking and exercise?

Development of effective behavior change interventions requires an understanding of which determinants are most important in predicting the behavior. Despite this crucial role of determinant operationalisations, there is considerable heterogeneity in determinants' operationalisations between studies. To enable comparison of determinants structures (i.e., the relative importance of a set of determinants) over behaviours and populations, calibration of these determinant operationalisations is required.

Determinant Calibration1 is part of a large international project set up within the European
Health Psychology Society and CROP, Collaborative Research in an Open Platform.
It is a cross- sectional study carried out by several Countries (Australia, Croatia, Finland, France,
Germany, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, and Romania) aimed at investigating to what extent
determinants' structures of Reasoned Action Approach operationalisations are comparable over behaviours (e.g. smoking or exercising) and populations. The goal is to compare the determinants of these behaviors over countries. For example, is it equally important for both behaviors how pleasant people find it, or what other people do? And is that the same in the Netherlands as in Finland or Croatia?
Every Country, including Italy (represented by Professor Cipolletta and Lorenza Entilli, within PsyMed laboratory) is disseminating an online survey to collect data on the general population regarding their attitudes over smoking and exercising.

The data collected through the contribution of several Countries across Europe will provide a starting point future studies on using Reasoned Action Approach operationalisations.

Click here to access the survey:

  Illness trajectories and psychological intervention with people with ALS and their families

ASL Sabrina Cipolletta, Cecilia Ferroni, Linda Amicucci and Eleonora Belloni

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is a chronic illness characterized by progressive degeneration of lower and upper motor neurons, with an incidence ranging between 1,5 and 2,5 cases per 100.000 individuals per year.
The patient undergoes a progressive muscle weakness, up to immobility. The onset is usually between 58 and 63 years and life expectancyis about 3 years.
The etiology is still not clear and at the moment there is no cure. At the individual level, the diagnosis of ALS is experienced as a death sentence. The sufferer experiences a biographical fracture, has the feeling that life is already over and that there is no morefuture.
On a relationship level, the diagnosis of ALS breaks the homeostasis of the family system, that undergoes upsetting changes from a structural, organizational, developmental and communicative point of view.
The family member, who usually becomes the patient’s main caregiver, spends on average 11 hours a day with the sufferer.

These are the main projects we are involved in:

1-    How life narratives, cognitive reserve and psychological support may influence patient’s experience of ALS
Project funded within the Academic research Projects 2013, University of Padua, years 2014-2016.
The aim of this study is to explore the relationship between patient's life narratives, cognitive reserve and experience of illness. The experience of illness is explored by conducting semi-structured interviews. Narratives collected in this way, integrated by a measure of the experiences made during the life, obtained by the Cognitive Reserve Index questionnaire, and a measure of the progress of the disease, are used to identify different illness trajectories.

2-    Psychological support at home for people with ALS and their families
Foundation Cassa di Risparmio of Padova and Rovigo within the Social Project 2012 - Support for Disability. In collaboration with ASLA (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Association), years 2015-2016.
This project’s aim is to verify the efficacy of psychological intervention with ALS patients and their families. Psychological support can improve the quality of life of patients and their families and have an impact on disease progression. Infact, psychological status is an important prognostic factor in ALS: greater psychological well-being of the patient, the better his experience of illness. Interventions of taking charge of the patients and their families, also from a psychological point of view, are rare and there are no studies that evaluate its effects. The present study aims to fill this gap and explore the process founding this type of interventions in order to outline the guidelines for their design.

3-    “SL@: online psychological support”
In collaboration with ASLA and Informatici Senza Frontiere, grant of the Italian Ministry of Work and Social Polices, years 2017-2018.
This project aims to offer an online psychological support for patients with ALS and their families through the realization of online mutual support groups. In this way, patients and their families could receive psychological support at their home. The network’s use gives the possibility to create contacts with people living in different places and with patients that have communicative and/or motor limitations. Online semi-structured interviews and questionnaires are used to assess the efficacy of the intervention.

4-    Neworking psychological support for ALS patients and their families
In collaboration with ASLA, grant of the banks Intesa San Paolo and Cariverona, year 2018-2019.
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis is a highly disabling disease that obliged patients and their families to reorganize their life and their roles. It’s important to consider that families could have some difficulties to deal with organizational changes and to move themselves within the network of services. The project aims to collect information, to map out the services provided by ULSS 6 Euganea and to write up an Integrated Care Pathway.

5-    “Sense of self, relational experiences and perceived support in families of patients with ALS”
In collaboration with ASLA and University of Padua, year 2018.
This research explores if it is possible to identify different profiles of caregivers on the basis of different level of anxiety, depression and on different ways of distributing one’s own dependency. The purpose of the study is to verify if different anxious and depressive levels correspond to different ways of distributing dependency in caregivers. We think that it would be useful to deepen how caregivers deal with the disease, in order to organize ad hoc interventions, on the basis of this information. The distribution of dependency is explored by the administration of Kelly’s Dependency Grids; anxiety and depression are assessed respectively by Beck Anxiety Inventory and Beck Depression Inventory-II.

Cipolletta S., Gammino, G., Francescon, P., & Palmieri, A. (2018). Mutual support groups for family caregivers of people with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: a pilot study. Health and Social Care in the Community, 26, 556–563. doi: 10.1111/hsc.12558

Cipolletta, S., Gammino, G., & Palmieri, A. (2017). Illness trajectories in patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: How illness progression is related to life narratives and interpersonal relationships. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 26, 5033-5043. doi:10.1111/jocn.14003

Cipolletta, S., & Amicucci, L. (2015). The family experience of living with a person with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: A qualitative study. International Journal of Psychology, 50, 288-294. doi: 10.1002/ijop.12085

  Sexuality and new forms of family life

SexualityElena Faccio and Sabrina Cipolletta

In contemporary society, sexuality and family life are assuming new forms, and to understand them it is necessary to pursue a plural perspective, which starts from the reconstruction of personal meanings and embraces the possibility of a multiplicity of points of view. Homoparenthood, transexualism, sexual sadomasochism and sexual assistance to people with different kinds of difficulties are just some examples of the questions opening up in the wide scenery offered by this field of research. We ventured into it with the collaboration of different actors (some were also co-authors of our articles) who like us are interested in the topic, or have lived it or are still living it in first person. Thanks to them, we have conducted interviews, the results of which are summarized in the articles listed below, that report only part of the wealth of the experiences gained.

Faccio, E., Casini, C., & Cipolletta, S. (2014). Forbidden Games: The Construction of Sexuality and Sexual Pleasure by BDSM “Players”. Culture, Health and Sexuality.
Faccio, E., Bordin, E., Cipolletta, S. (2013). Transsexual parenthood and new role assumptions. Culture, Health and Sexuality, 15, 1055-1070.

  Open Source Platforms

Open Source PlatformsSabrina Cipolletta and Giulia Bressan

Sit La Precisa, Leader of the group Sit, a world leader in the development and production of systems for security, control and regulation of gas appliances for domestic heating;

Confindustria Veneto for promotion and diffusion of results to the regional system of companies.

Extended title“Open source platforms for e-learning: comparative analysis, evaluation and guidelines for implementation in a company environment"

Project funded under the ESF Operational Programme 2007-2013, Axis Human Capital (COD. PROJECT: 2105/101/7/1686/2012).

Duration of the project:
May 2013-April 2014

The project overall aim is the strengthening of company innovation processes in the context of managerial collaboration and training through the use of web platforms.

Among the ICT tools (Information and Communication Technology) most commonly used we find the open-source e-learning platforms, that through the Internet or the Intranets allow to co-ordinately design and manage continuing training systems interweaving various functions: materials and information storage, personalization of learning, blended training (integration between distance learning and in presence learning), monitoring and assessment of the courses quality, integration of learning programs so far fragmented and episodic, alignment of professional content with company strategic goals, contamination and enrichment of skills through the creation of company community.

The project is divided into the following specific objectives:

Elaboration of the state of the art on web platforms implementation cases in company environments for distance training and distance collaboration, also through the exploration of company cases and best practices that currently exist;
Identification of the new training needs and the means to solve them within companies;
Codification of a process of co-design and company decision with respect to the use of a e-learning platform and distance collaboration;
Elaboration of guidelines for analysis, assessment and implementation of an e-learning platform in a company context;
Codification and transfer of good practice to the Veneto regional system of companies, useful both for large companies, both small and medium-sized companies interested in training innovative programs and tools, that have to be adopted also in a network integrated perspective
Diffusion of an open source tools using culture as a method of development that harnesses the power of peer review and the process transparency, ensuring a higher quality, reliability, flexibility and cost reduction;
Creating a network of cooperation between universities and enterprises in the use of e-learning platforms to contribute to the improvement of the performance of the staff employed in regional business system.

  Families and the health care system about patients in a vegetative state

Vegetative stateSabrina Cipolletta, Alessia Bastianelli Margherita Pasi and Erminio Gius

Persons who accompany and assist a family day in a vegetative state, take charge of the psychological and social burden that this condition entails. The literature on the subject, developed mainly in the last twenty years, has shown that their experience is characterized by high levels of pain and discomfort, caused by economic factors, physical and psychosocial, which remain unchanged over the years.
We chose to investigate this issue by conducting research to understand how the family members of patients in a vegetative state live assistance and presence that daily offer their loved ones.
It has emerged as the caregivers feel that they are the only ones able to fully understand the needs of the patient, and then to provide the best service. To do this, put aside their interests, their activities, their own lives; live to enjoy better patient.

Presentations and publications
Cipolletta, S., Gius, E., & Bastianelli, A. (2014). How the burden of caring for a patient in vegetative statechanges in relation to different coping strategies. Brain Injury 28(1), 92-96.
Cipolletta, S., Gius, E., Bastianelli A. (2014). Caring a patient in a vegetative state: Increasing well-being by using different coping strategies. Poster presented at the 28th Annual Conference of the European Health Psychology Society, entitled “Beyond prevention and intervention: increasing well-being,” Innsbruck, Austria, August 26th-30th.
Cipolletta, S., Pasi, M., & Avesani, R. (2014). Vita tua, mors mea: the experience of family caregivers of patients in a vegetative state. Journal of Health Psychology. DOI: 10.1177 / 1359105314550348
Bastianelli A., Gius, E., Cipolletta, S. (2014). Changes Over Time in the Health Status of Caregivers of Patients in Vegetative State. Journal of Health Psychology. DOI: 10.1177 / 1359105314539533
Pasi, M., Avesani, R., Cipolletta, S. (2013). Your life, mors mea. The lives of the family members of people in a vegetative state. Paper presented at the 41 th National Congress SIMFER, Rome, October 13 to 16.

  The organization of the family of a child with chronic illness

Chronic illnessSabrina Cipolletta, Valentina Marchesin and Franca Benini

Chronic illness of a child is a difficult and complex experience for the entire family. Previous research focused on the impact of this disease on the family. We have explored the family organization as a constitutive aspect of the child's illness progression. For this aim we carried out semi-structured interviews with 33 parents of ill children, in treatment at the pediatric hospice of Padua, we consulted their medical records and interviewed physicians, nurses and psychologists who care for children. We used a grounded theory approach for data analysis and we identified five main categories: the experience of illness and its evolution, family history, roles and resources.
On the basis of these categories, we identified four groups of families characterized by different ways of living the child's illness: possibility, denial, focus on illness and fight. Each of these experiences corresponded to a different evolution of the disease.

Presentations and publications
Cipolletta, S., Marchesin, V., Benini, F. (2013). The family organization of a chronically ill child: A qualitative study. Paper presented at the the 27th Annual Conference of the European Health Psychology Society, Bourdeaux, France, July 16th-20th.
Cipolletta, S., Marchesin, V., Benini, F. (2014). Family functioning as a constituent aspect of a child’s chronic illness. Under submission.