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Three Lessons Learned about Graduate School from a Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought many changes to our personal and professional lives. Among these, for students who started graduate school in the Fall 2019 semester, the pandemic has created a (somewhat unique) experience of an entire year of acclimating to graduate student life followed by a year of separation from mentors, cohorts, and departments. Going into my third year of graduate school, I can now confidently say that I have learned a number of valuable lessons that apply to the graduate school experience both pre- and mid-pandemic—though these lessons were particularly emphasized during the height of COVID-19.  Here I share three of them:

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Polyvictimization and Suicide Risk among Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Teens

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer/questioning (LGBTQ) teens continue to face bullying, discrimination, and violence in their schools and communities, in large part due to the continued stigma against sexual and gender minority identities. LGBTQ teens also continue to attempt suicide at rates far greater than heterosexual teens. Here, we summarize key findings and implications of our recent study on the relationship between victimization and suicide risk among LGB teens.

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The Risks of Sharenting for Adolescents

Refresh your social media apps, scroll your timeline, and the chances are high that you’ll encounter sharenting. In other words, you’ll find pictures posted by your friends, family, and acquaintances of their children. Not only are these parents expressing pride in their children, but they are also archiving treasured memories and creating opportunities for receiving affirmation and support about the joys and hardships of parenting. For many millennial parents, social media documentation has been the norm since their own adolescence. In this sense, the rise of “sharenting” – the sharing of parenting experiences -- is of no surprise. However, a poll conducted by the Mott Children’s Hospital (2015) found that 75% of parents report knowing another parent who shares too much about a child on social media [1]. But what exactly is sharing too much? And should we be concerned about how these sharenting practices influence adolescents?

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Understanding Life Expectancy and Its Role in Why Youth in Disordered Neighborhoods Engage in Risk-Taking

Some adolescents severely underestimate how old they will live to be. The average life expectancy in the United
States is around 78 years old according to the World Bank, and 76 years for males specifically. However, some boys expect an early death. One large national study of adolescents found that 14% of youths did not expect to live past 35 years old. While it may not be immediately obvious why it is problematic that some adolescents do not expect to live very long, youth who expect to die earlier are more likely to engage in behavior that might promote that very outcome.  For example, they are more likely to attempt or plan suicide, drop out of school, and experience emotional distress. 

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A Systematic Literature Review of Resiliency Factors to Prevent Youth Suicide: A conversation with Dr. Sana Shahram

As we enter year 2 of the COVID-19 pandemic, many people are expressing concern about how this experience has affected our collective mental health. In particular, most of us are curious as to how we can bolster resilience among adolescents and young people in our lives.

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Understanding Puberty and Its Measurement: An interview with Dr. Jane Mendle

It is impossible to disentangle adolescence from puberty. Nonetheless, adolescence researchers are still just starting to understand how best to assess and make sense of puberty.

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LGBTQ+ is not enough

It’s a fact -- our nation is becoming more queer with each new generation. Recent studies show that millennials and Gen Z are more likely to identify as LGBTQ than any generation prior. We know that LGBTQ millennials are even closing the gap with non-LGBTQ people when it comes to parenthood.

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Social Justice, Research, and Adolescence: An interview with Dr. Stephen Russell

It’s another #MustReadMonday, and we are so excited to highlight a fantastic paper by our very own former SRA president, Stephen Russell.

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Gender Differences in Adolescent Career Interests: A conversation with Dr. John Schulenberg

It’s time for another #MustReadMonday, and maybe it’s the new year or the abundance of snow on the ground, but we’re feeling a little nostalgic here at SRA!

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From Apathy to Vigilance: Young Adolescents’ Reactions to the Unite the Right Rally in Charlottesville. An interview with Dr. Joanna Williams

For this week’s #MustReadMonday, we were very fortunate to speak with Dr. Joanna Williams about a recent article she published on adolescent perceptions of the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville: From Apathy to Vigilance: Young Adolescents’ Reactions to the Unite the Right Rally in Charlottesville.

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Why are some youth more prone to engage in substance use than others? Applying the dual systems model to a high-risk population

Adolescence is a life stage defined by significant biological and social changes.  Youth with underlying risk for substance use involvement may experience difficulty navigating these changes, increasing the likelihood of maladjustment.

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Historical Trends in Concerns About Social Issues Across Four Decades Among U.S. Adolescents: An interview with Dr. Benjamin Oosterhoff

For this week’s #MustReadMonday, we are very excited to highlight a recent paper by Dr. Benjamin Oosterhoff and colleagues: Historical Trends in Concerns About Social Issues Across Four Decades Among U.S. Adolescents.

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Relational Victimization and Telomere Length in Adolescent Girls: A conversation with Dr. Erika Manczak

Thanks to some amazing anti-bullying campaigns in North America, most of us know that bullying can have some serious & harmful negative consequences for our mental health. But what if we told you that bullying can also affect adolescents at a cellular level?

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Youth Anti-Racist Engagement: Conceptualization, Development, and Validation of an Anti-Racism Action Scale

For our third #MustReadMonday, we are very excited to highlight a recent paper by Dr. Adriana Aldana that’s all about how to measure youth anti-racism: Youth Anti-Racist Engagement: Conceptualization, Development, and Validation of an Anti-Racism Action Scale

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Adolescents' Civic Engagement: Concordant and Longitudinal Associations Among Civic Beliefs and Civic Involvement

We’re doing our best to avoid all things election, so for our second #MustReadMonday we’re focusing on the silver linings of politics: youth and civic engagement.

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Ethical Considerations in Recruiting Adolescents for Research on Social Media: A Case Study

Alongside the devastating impacts of COVID-19 on people’s lives and livelihoods, academia has had to adjust to a new world where in-person research may not be possible in the near future. Social media — where 45% of teenagers spend time “almost constantly” (Anderson & Jiang, 2018) — is a promising option for research with adolescents. However, this type of research presents special ethical considerations.

Just Because We Can, Doesn’t Mean We Should
On June 17th, a White PhD student tweeted that he had scraped 10,000 tweets containing the hashtag #BlackinIvory. This hashtag was originally created for Black scholars to share personal stories of racism and discrimination in academia. Within minutes, dozens of scholars commented to discourage the PhD student from conducting this research without obtaining consent. The PhD student deleted the post and apologized.


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Authoritative parenting and adolescent adjustment across varied ecological niches - Interview with Dr. Laurence Steinberg

Here at SRA, we are passionate about staying up to date on the newest research being done within the field of adolescence. In pursuit of this goal, we have recently started a new initiative across our social media platforms, #MustReadMonday.  

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The formation of scholars: Understanding graduate socialization through the lens of oppression

I am sitting at home, and the students in my class are neatly positioned in 2x2 inch squares on a screen. Already this semester is different from our long summer days of doctoral student residency where we sat in our poorly ventilated seminar room, navigating a table of notebooks, printed research articles, and the occasional spilled coffee. Instead, we are in our homes and apartments interacting through a camera and a screen that resembles the opening of The Brady Bunch (a reference many of the younger doctoral students don’t even know).

Despite this new method of engagement, familiar and recurring feelings arise for these new students: imposter syndrome; wondering if the program made the right choice of “letting them in”; afraid that being a doctoral student will pull them away from their communities and widen the gap between their educational achievements and those of their family members. They worry about learning a new set of vocabulary which includes words like epistemology and critical discourse and everyone’s favorite word to say aloud, phenomenology.'

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Factors Influencing Adolescents' Decision to Meditate

Meditation can help adolescents reduce stress and self-regulate (thoughts, emotions, behaviors), but they may need help creating the time and space to practice this behavior.

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Quaranteened! Helping Adolescents Cope with Boredom during COVID-19 and Summer

Elizabeth Weybright, Ph.D., Linda Caldwell, Ph.D., Erica Doering, M.S.

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