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See detailSubjective Well-Being of Adolescents in Luxembourg, Germany, and Brazil During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Engel de Abreu, Pascale UL; Neumann, Sascha; Wealer, Cyril UL et al

in Journal of Adolescent Health (2021)

Purpose: This study explores adolescent well-being during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in two high-income countries from Europe and one middle-income country from South America. The aim is to ... [more ▼]

Purpose: This study explores adolescent well-being during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in two high-income countries from Europe and one middle-income country from South America. The aim is to investigate the correlates of different dimensions of subjective well- being in 10- to 16-year-olds from different cultural contexts. Methods: An online, self-report questionnaire was completed by 1,613 adolescents in Luxembourg, Germany, and Brazil between May and July 2020. The outcome variables were measures of life satisfaction and emotional well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic. The study included a range of sociodemographic, interpersonal, and intrapersonal covariates. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and latent variable structural equational modeling. Results: A two-factor model of subjective well-being, consisting of life satisfaction and emotional well-being latent constructs, fitted well with this sample data for Luxembourg, Germany, and Brazil. Results showed that gender, socioeconomic status, intrapersonal factors, quantity and type of schoolwork, and relationships with adults were important common predictors of individual differences in subjective well-being during COVID-19. Fear of illness emerged as the strongest correlate of emotional well-being across the three countries. Conclusions: This study indicates that girls and adolescents from low-income homes may be especially vulnerable to negative secondary impacts of COVID-19 that can affect mental health. It identified several common correlates of subjective well-being in adolescents from different cultural settings, including factors that may be changeable, such as the following: the way adults listen to adolescents, schoolwork during distant learning, and fear of illness. Findings can inform the development of quality interventions for promoting the well-being of adolescents during a global pandemic. [less ▲]

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See detailA Pobreza e a Mente: Perspectiva da Ciência Cognitiva
Engel de Abreu, Pascale UL; Tourinho, Carlos; Puglisi, Marina et al

Report (2015)

Nós procuramos entender por que a pobreza é um obstáculo para o desenvolvimento e o rendimento escolar das crianças. Munidos deste conhecimento, podemos oferecer evidências robustas que podem ser ... [more ▼]

Nós procuramos entender por que a pobreza é um obstáculo para o desenvolvimento e o rendimento escolar das crianças. Munidos deste conhecimento, podemos oferecer evidências robustas que podem ser utilizadas pelas autoridades educacionais em nossa sociedade para quebrar este vínculo. Este estudo utiliza dados multidimensionais de 355 brasileiros, alunos do 1° e 2° anos do Ensino Fundamental I, provenientes de diferentes origens e escolas. O objetivo foi verificar como as crianças adquirem as habilidades cognitivas que auxiliam na aprendizagem. Foram utilizados dados obtidos a partir de testes cognitivos, bem como entrevistas e questionários preenchidos por pais, professores e alunos. O estudo sugere que, embora o baixo nível socioeconômico exerça um forte impacto negativo sobre o desenvolvimento cognitivo de uma criança, uma educação de boa qualidade nos primeiros anos de vida pode contornar esse problema. Os resultados encontrados dão suporte à hipótese de que as experiências que as crianças têm no início da vida afetam o desenvolvimento do cérebro. Uma base cognitiva sólida é crucial para o aprendizado e é um fator fundamental para quebrar o ciclo da pobreza, para promover o desenvolvimento econômico e reduzir as desigualdades sociais. Assim, fazemos as seguintes sugestões para futuras pesquisas e elaboração de políticas públicas: - Investimento em Educação Infantil (creches e pré-escolas) pode ser a maneira mais eficaz para reduzir as desigualdades e promover a mobilidade social ascendente. - Capacitação de professores sobre aprendizagem com base nos preceitos da ciência cognitiva para dar-lhes uma maior consciência do porquê de alguns alunos apresentarem comportamento difícil e/ou dificuldades de aprendizagem. - Elaboração de políticas públicas baseadas em evidências científicas. Políticos e profissionais devem trabalhar em conjunto com cientistas no intuito de desenvolver programas com maiores probabilidades de sucesso. [less ▲]

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See detailExecutive functioning and reading achievement in school: a study of Brazilian children assessed by their teachers as “poor readers”
Engel de Abreu, Pascale UL; Abreu, Neander; Nikaedo, Carolina et al

in Frontiers in Psychology (2014), 5

This study examined executive functioning and reading achievement in 106 6- to 8-year-old Brazilian children from a range of social backgrounds of whom approximately half lived below the poverty line. A ... [more ▼]

This study examined executive functioning and reading achievement in 106 6- to 8-year-old Brazilian children from a range of social backgrounds of whom approximately half lived below the poverty line. A particular focus was to explore the executive function profile of children whose classroom reading performance was judged below standard by their teachers and who were matched to controls on chronological age, sex, school type (private or public), domicile (Salvador/BA or São Paulo/SP) and socioeconomic status. Children completed a battery of 12 executive function tasks that were conceptual tapping cognitive flexibility, working memory, inhibition and selective attention. Each executive function domain was assessed by several tasks. Principal component analysis extracted four factors that were labeled “Working Memory/Cognitive Flexibility,” “Interference Suppression,” “Selective Attention,” and “Response Inhibition.” Individual differences in executive functioning components made differential contributions to early reading achievement. The Working Memory/Cognitive Flexibility factor emerged as the best predictor of reading. Group comparisons on computed factor scores showed that struggling readers displayed limitations in Working Memory/Cognitive Flexibility, but not in other executive function components, compared to more skilled readers. These results validate the account that working memory capacity provides a crucial building block for the development of early literacy skills and extends it to a population of early readers of Portuguese from Brazil. The study suggests that deficits in working memory/cognitive flexibility might represent one contributing factor to reading difficulties in early readers. This might have important implications for how educators might intervene with children at risk of academic under achievement. [less ▲]

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