Marcela Matos

Marcela Matos
University of Coimbra | UC · CINEICC - Cognitive and Behavioral Centre for Research and Intervention

PhD (Clinical Psychology)

About

114
Publications
55,723
Reads
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Introduction
Marcela Matos is a Clinical Psychologist and Research Faculty at the CINEICC, University of Coimbra, who has developed research in evolutionary clinical psychology and third wave psychological approaches. Her PhD research was on “Shame memories that shape who we are”. Currently, her main research focus is investigating the impact of compassion and mindfulness based interventions on mental and physical wellbeing, and on physiological and epigenetic markers of prosociality and stress.
Additional affiliations
September 2008 - present
ISMT - Instituto Superior Miguel Torga
Position
  • Research Assistant
October 2004 - present
University of Coimbra
Position
  • Researcher
October 2004 - present
University of Coimbra
Position
  • Reseacher

Publications

Publications (114)
Article
Full-text available
Shame plays a central role in psychosocial functioning, being a transdiagnostic emotion associated with several mental health conditions. According to the evolutionary biopsychosocial model, shame is a painful and difficult emotion that may be categorized into two distinct focal components: external and internal shame. External shame is focused on...
Article
Full-text available
Objectives The COVID-19 pandemic is having an unprecedented detrimental impact on mental health in people around the world. It is important therefore to explore factors that may buffer or accentuate the risk of mental health problems in this context. Given that compassion has numerous benefits for mental health, emotion regulation, and social rel...
Article
Full-text available
Objectives Schools are experiencing an unprecedented mental health crisis, with teachers reporting high levels of stress and burnout, which has adverse consequences to their mental and physical health. Addressing mental and physical health problems and promoting wellbeing in educational settings is thus a global priority. This study investigated th...
Article
Full-text available
Objectives The current study aimed to examine the mechanisms of change that mediate the impact of a compassionate mind training (CMT) intervention, in particular, whether changes in compassion, fears of compassion and heart rate variability (HRV) would mediate the effects of a brief CMT intervention on psychological vulnerability factors, mental he...
Article
Full-text available
Objectives Mounting research has supported the beneficial effects of compassion-based interventions for improving psychosocial and physiological well-being and mental health. Teachers present a high risk of professional stress, which negatively impacts their mental health and professional performance. It is crucial to make compassion cultivation a...
Article
Full-text available
Background Historically social connection has been an important way through which humans have coped with large-scale threatening events. In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, lockdowns have deprived people of major sources of social support and coping, with others representing threats. Hence, a major stressor during the pandemic has been a sense...
Article
Full-text available
Compassion can be defined as a sensitivity to suffering, both in the self and others, with a motivation and commitment to alleviate and prevent this suffering. Mounting research has documented the countless benefits of compassion-based interventions. The Compassion Motivation and Action Scales (CMAS) were designed to assess motivation and action as...
Article
Full-text available
Objective: Shame contains external and internal aspects. However, a Japanese language scale for simultaneously assessing both aspects of shame has not been developed to date. This study aimed to standardize the Japanese version of the External and Internal Shame Scale (EISS-J). An online survey was conducted among university students (N = 203) at...
Article
Full-text available
The development of self-report instruments assessing the different facets of compassion adapted for different age groups is crucial for research and clinical practice. This study examined the factor structure and psychometric properties of the adaptation to adolescents of the Compassionate Engagement and Action Scales (CEAS-A) in a sample of 674 Po...
Article
Full-text available
Shame is a universal emotion, albeit having a bewildering constellation of causes, valuations, and behavioural consequences that differ across social ecologies. This transdiagnostic emotion may be categorized into two distinct components: external and internal shame. The External and Internal Shame Scale (EISS) has proven to be a brief and reliable...
Preprint
BACKGROUND Digital behavior change interventions (DBCIs) offer a promising channel for providing health promotion services. However, user experience of the technologies largely determines user engagement, which is necessary for their effectiveness. OBJECTIVE To evaluate user experiences with the NoHoW Toolkit (TK), a DBCI targeting weight loss mai...
Article
Background: Digital behavior change interventions (DBCIs) offer a promising channel for providing health promotion services. However, user experience largely determines whether they are used, which is a precondition for effectiveness. Objective: The primary aim of this study is to evaluate user experiences with the NoHoW Toolkit (TK)-a DBCI that...
Article
Background: Perinatal depression is a high prevalent mental health problem with serious consequences. Evidence about effective psychological interventions in treating perinatal depression has been increasing, but it lacks a comprehensive synthesis of findings. Methods: A systematic review of systematic reviews and meta-analyses concerning the effec...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Effective interventions and commercial programmes for weight loss (WL) are widely available, but most people regain weight. Few effective WL maintenance (WLM) solutions exist. The most promising evidence-based behaviour change techniques for WLM are self-monitoring, goal setting, action planning and control, building self-efficacy, and...
Article
Full-text available
Background: The COVID-19 pandemic is a massive global health crisis with damaging consequences to mental health and social relationships. Exploring factors that may heighten or buffer the risk of mental health problems in this context is thus critical. Whilst compassion may be a protective factor, in contrast fears of compassion increase vulnerabi...
Article
Full-text available
Past adverse experiences and negative self-schemas have been found to be a vulnerability factor to voice-hearing and also shape the content and emotional salience of these experiences. Past shameful experiences and their consequences (e.g., traumatic characteristics, self-criticism, shame) may also be relevant in the context of voice-hearing. This...
Article
Full-text available
There is a well-established relationship between self-criticism and depression. This cross-sectional study investigated the roles that rumination, worry, and fears of compassion for self and from others play in this relationship. Undergraduate students and community participants (N = 417; 68% female; mean age 21.42 years [SD = 6.45]) completed onli...
Article
Full-text available
Compassion focused therapy (CFT) is a promising treatment for depression, especially where there are features of shame. CFT works to reduce fears of compassion, and develop compassion competencies, to alleviate distress and cultivate safe affect. While the relationship between fears of compassion, early emotional memories and depression is empirica...
Article
The aim of this study was to test the multilevel multidimensional finite mixture item response model of the Forms of Self-Criticising/Attacking and Self-Reassuring Scale (FSCRS) to cluster respondents and countries from 13 samples ( N = 7,714) and from 12 countries. The practical goal was to learn how many discrete classes there are on the level of...
Article
Objectives Research has shown that rearing styles and early emotional memories, especially those related to feelings of threat or safeness, play a key role in subsequent emotional and social adjustment throughout the lifespan. Several authors have argued for the study of early memories of warmth and safeness rather than rearing styles. The Early Me...
Article
Full-text available
Given current retention and well-being crises within the teaching profession worldwide, this research sought to explore implementation efficacy of a Compassion Mind Training (CMT) programme in cross-cultural school-settings. A 6-module CMT curriculum was implemented in teaching staff of two primary schools in the UK (N=76) and one primary school in...
Preprint
Full-text available
BACKGROUND Many weight loss programs show short-term effectiveness, but subsequent weight loss maintenance is difficult to achieve. Digital technologies offer promising means to delivering behaviour change approaches at low cost and on a wide scale. The NoHoW project was a European Commission H2020-funded project aimed to develop, test, and evaluat...
Article
Full-text available
Background Many weight loss programs show short-term effectiveness, but subsequent weight loss maintenance is difficult to achieve. Digital technologies offer a promising means of delivering behavior change approaches at low costs and on a wide scale. The Navigating to a Healthy Weight (NoHoW) project, which was funded by the European Union’s Horiz...
Preprint
Full-text available
Background: Many weight loss programs show short-term effectiveness, but subsequent weight loss maintenance is difficult to achieve. Digital technologies offer promising means to delivering behaviour change approaches at low cost and on a wide scale. The NoHoW project was a European Commission H2020-funded project aimed to develop, test, and evalua...
Article
This paper presents the case of a 28-year-old woman diagnosed with major depressive disorder, with strong features of perfectionism, shame, and self-criticism, treated via 12 sessions of compassion-focused therapy (CFT). CFT is an integrative therapeutic approach that draws upon evolutionary psychology, attachment theory, and applied psychological...
Article
Full-text available
The last few years have seen increasing research on self-report measures of compassion. The Compassionate Engagement and Action Scale (CEAS) is rooted in an evolutionary approach to compassion, which focuses on the competencies of compassion those are engagement with distress or suffering, and taking action to alleviate and prevent it. This study s...
Article
Full-text available
The purpose of this study was to examine the measurement invariance of the Forms of Self-Criticising/Attacking & Self-Reassuring Scale (FSCRS) in terms of Item Response Theory differential test functioning in thirteen distinct samples (N = 7714) from twelve different countries. We assessed differential test functioning for the three FSCRS subscales...
Article
Compassion, a social mentality, is shaped by social context. Social roles may facilitate or hinder compassionate motivations directed to others, received from others, or expressed to oneself. As such, cultural differences may emerge in compassion competencies and fears of compassion. However, current research has been limited in understanding such...
Article
Full-text available
Introduction Obesity and associated diseases place a severe burden on healthcare systems. Behavioural interventions for weight loss (WL) are successful in the short term but often result in weight regain over time. Self-regulation of eating and activity behaviours may significantly enhance weight loss maintenance (WLM) and may be effectively augmen...
Article
Full-text available
There is general agreement that styles of leadership evolved from mammalian group living strategies that form social ranks. In both non-human primates and humans, different styles of hierarchical dominant-subordinate and leader-follower behavior can be observed. These can be described in terms of dimensions of antisocial (relatively self-focused, a...
Article
Full-text available
There is considerable evidence that self-criticism plays a major role in the vulnerability to and recovery from psychopathology. Methods to measure this process, and its change over time, are therefore important for research in psychopathology and well-being. This study examined the factor structure of a widely used measure, the Forms of Self-Criti...
Article
Full-text available
This paper explores indicators of practice quality of a brief compassion mind training (CMT) intervention and their impact on the development of an inner sense of one’s compassionate self (CS) and a range of self-report measures. Participants were randomly assigned to one of two conditions: compassionate mind training (CMT; n = 77) and wait-list co...
Article
Full-text available
The full-text of the article is available here https://rdcu.be/WX1o There is considerable evidence that self-criticism plays a major role in the vulnerability to and recovery from psychopathology. Methods to measure this process, and its change over time, are therefore important for research in psychopathology and wellbeing. This study examined th...
Article
Full-text available
Background Studies of the value of compassion on physical and mental health and social relationships have proliferated in the last 25 years. Although, there are several conceptualisations and measures of compassion, this study develops three new measures of compassion competencies derived from an evolutionary, motivational approach. The scales asse...
Article
Full-text available
The development of the compassionate self, associated with practices such as slow and deeper breathing, compassionate voice tones and facial expressions and compassionate focusing, is central to Compassion-Focused Therapy. This study explores the impact of a 2-week compassionate mind training (CMT) program on emotional, self-evaluative and psychopa...
Article
Full-text available
Empirical and clinical research suggests that some individuals find self-generating compassion and receiving compassion from others difficult and aversive. However, it is unclear how these fears of compassion are linked to early experiences and to psychopathological symptoms. This study explores the relationship between shame traumatic memories, ce...
Article
Objectives: Previous research has demonstrated a link between early experiences of warmth, safeness, and soothing, and positive feelings, health, and well-being outcomes. Although the impact of positive parent-related early relationships and its posterior recall is well documented, research on the recall of warmth and safeness experiences within e...
Article
Full-text available
Resumo O objetivo do presente estudo foi validar a Impact of Event Scale-Revised em uma amostra de adolescentes portugueses. Esta foi constituída por 383 adolescentes com idades compreendidas entre os 12 e os 18 anos. Foram usados outros questionários, que avaliavam a centralidade da memória de vergonha e sintomatologia psicopatológica. Foram testa...
Article
Full-text available
This study explores differences in shame memories and memories of affiliation with parents during childhood and adolescence, as well as in internal shame and depression, between gay men (N = 53) and heterosexual men (N = 52). Also, it aims to explore whether psychological flexibility and self-compassion play a role on the association between these...
Technical Report
Full-text available
Overweight, obesity and associated diseases are major societal challenges for the health of European citizens. Most individuals can manage to lose weight, but few manage to maintain their weight loss in the long term. The key challenge in managing obesity in Europe and beyond is therefore not weight loss per se, but weight loss maintenance. The ove...
Article
Full-text available
Objective: Certain psychological and emotional factors can undermine attempts at weight management. Previously we have found that shame and self-criticism were significantly associated with disinhibition and perceived hunger in 2,236 participants of a weight management programme. This effect was fully mediated through weight-related negative affec...
Poster
Introduction Compassion can be defined as an intentional sensitivity to the suffering, with a motivation and commitment to try to relieve it, which can have a positive impact on individuals’ emotional and psychological well-being. The relevance of compassion focused therapies is well established and this makes the development of reliable instrument...
Article
Introduction There is evidence suggesting that for some individuals self-generating compassion and being open to compassion from others can be difficult or aversive. To date, however, no study has explored how these fears of compassion are associated with early emotional memories, such as shame or safeness memories, and to symptoms of depression an...
Article
Introduction Compassion and self-compassion can be protective factors against mental health difficulties, in particular depression. The cultivation of the compassionate self, associated with a range of practices such as slow and deeper breathing, compassionate voice tones and facial expressions, and compassionate focusing, is central to compassion...
Article
Full-text available
Objective: To test the acceptability and efficacy up to 6-month postintervention of a psychological program based on psychoeducation, mindfulness, and self-compassion for obese or overweight women with BED. Design: A controlled longitudinal design was followed in order to compare results between BEfree (n = 19) and waiting list group (WL; n = 17...
Article
Full-text available
Recent research has suggested that obesity is a stigmatised condition. Concerns with personal inferiority (social rank), shame and self-criticism may impact on weight management behaviours. The current study examined associations between social comparison (shame, self-criticism), negative affect and eating behaviours in women attending a community...
Data
Data set used in the analysis for this study. (SAV)
Data
Supplementary material- scales used in the survey. (DOCX)
Article
Full-text available
This study explores the efficacy of BEfree, a 12-session group intervention that integrates psychoeducation, mindfulness, compassion and values-based action, in a sample of overweight and obese women with Binge Eating Disorder (N=31). We used repeated measures ANOVAs, and explored processes of change in binge eating and eating psychopathology. At p...
Article
Full-text available
Self-criticism has been shown to be a vulnerability factor that can lead to and maintain depression. We examined the moderating effect of fear of receiving compassion from others on the positive association between self-criticism and depression. Self-report measures were administered to four separate samples (total N = 701) varying in age (students...
Article
Background: Very few comprehensive treatments are currently available for weight loss maintenance (WLM). Research suggests that if interventions are to be effective in promoting sustained health behaviour change they should use theory- and evidence-based techniques. Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) have the potential for wide reach...
Article
Full-text available
Early adverse experiences, particularly shaming experiences may function as traumatic memories and be central to formation of self-identity. This paper aims to analyse the dimensional structure and psychometric properties of the Portuguese version of the Centrality of Event Scale (CES) for adolescents. Participants were 397 adolescents with ages ra...
Conference Paper
Introduction Growing evidence points to the pathogenic effects of shame and shame memories on psychopathological symptoms, but studies on the phenomenology of shame memories in clinical populations are scant. This research explores the phenomenology of early shame experiences, involving attachment figures and other social agents, and their traumati...
Conference Paper
Early adverse experiences and feelings of shame are thought to be present among gay men. Growing evidence points to the pathogenic effects of shame memories and shame on psychopathological symptoms and to the protective role of psychological flexibility and compassion on these relationships. However, these associations have never been explored taki...
Article
Full-text available
External shame arises from the perception of negative judgements about the self in the mind of others and is currently measured by Other As Shamer Scale (OAS). This scale has been used in numerous studies. This study sought to develop a valid and reliable shorter form of the scale, called OAS2, in an adult sample of 690 participants, using experts’...
Article
Full-text available
Introduction: Obesity is a key economic and healthcare challenge for Europe. Effective interventions for weight loss are widely available, but few comprehensive solutions exist to help with weight loss maintenance (WLM) and most people regain lost weight. Research suggests promising evidence-based behaviour change techniques for WLM are self-monito...