Filtered by category: Research Summaries Clear Filter

Beyond Imagination: Transformative Student Voice for Liberatory Schools

Imagine if public schools could live up to their potential to be liberatory spaces for students of color—the type of learning spaces where youth learned critical thinking skills, had their culture and identities validated, and learned the civic skills necessary to take control of their sociopolitical realities. The type of spaces that conservative think tanks and legislators seek to eliminate.

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Friendship similarity and substance use: A five-year study of adolescent offenders

Throughout adolescence, teens show an increasing propensity for experimentation and an increasing vulnerability to peer influence. These developmental processes are not necessarily harmful in and of themselves; for example, a teen might experiment with different hair styles or fashion choices and his or her friends might encourage one style over another, or a teen might experiment with activism in response to a perceived wrong. However, in the context of negative risk-taking behaviors, increased experimentation and susceptibility to peer influence could be particularly problematic during this developmental period.

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Cultivating Adolescents’ Compassion Skills for the Self and Other

As young people return to school this year, educators are facing the challenge of how best to support the mental and emotional health of their students. Many studies on the benefits of meditation practices have spurred the use of mindfulness-based programs in schools as one approach to supporting students. Newer programs, however, are focusing on building skills around not just mindfulness, but also care and compassion for self and others. By orientating toward compassion, these programs become more than personal and therapeutic, but also social and aimed at systems-level change. Skills of compassion include mindful awareness of suffering, perspective-taking, the ability to sense and tolerate uncomfortable feelings arising from the perception of suffering, a sense of interconnectedness and mutuality with others, and a concomitant desire to alleviate suffering. This collection of skills can expand our natural caring capacities and be directed toward the self (e.g., not being so hard on oneself during moments of struggle) and toward others (e.g., not judging quickly/listening to others’ struggles with curiosity and perspective).

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Chinese American Adolescents’ Experiences of COVID-19-Related Racial Discrimination and Anxiety: Person-Centered and Intersectional Approaches

The racialized COVID-19 pandemic has fueled historically rooted anti-Asian racism and xenophobia in the United States, especially against Chinese Americans, as the virus was first identified in Wuhan, China. Experiences of racism adversely impact the socioemotional adjustment of ethnic minoritized individuals, and adolescents may be particularly vulnerable due to their increasing understanding and awareness of race/ethnicity and racial discrimination, but still limited coping skills. Thus, it is crucial to examine how Chinese American adolescents are affected by heightened racial discrimination during the COVID-19 pandemic and potential risk and resilience factors.

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Psychometric evaluation of the Affect Regulation Checklist: An interview with Dr. Natalie Goulter

Affect dysregulation has been identified as a key underlying mechanism across a variety of mental health problems. In their 2022 paper, Psychometric evaluation of the Affect Regulation Checklist: Clinical and community samples, parent-reports and youth self-reports, Dr. Natalie Goulter and co-authors test the psychometric properties of the Affect Regulation Checklist—a measure designed to assess affect dysregulation, suppression, and reflection—across clinical and community samples.

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Hidden Wounds Inequities in Bereavement and Grief Experiences of Black and Latinx Adolescents: Considering the Role of Homicide Exposure in Symptoms and Implications for Treatment

On May 14th, 2022, 10 Black adults were murdered at a community grocery store, located in the predominately Black neighborhood of East Side, Buffalo, New York by a white supremacist. The majority of these victims were 60 and above and were parents and grandparents to multiple children and adolescents. On May 24th, 2022, 19 elementary school students and two teachers at Robb Elementary School were murdered in Uvalde, Texas, a predominately Latino city in south Texas, 60 miles from the United States-Mexico border. In both instances of domestic terrorism, the shooters were identified as 18-year-old males with automatic weapons; both targeted low-income communities of color and took the lives of vulnerable groups in traditionally secure community spaces. As a result, calls for solutions to the epidemic of mass shootings have reverberated across the U.S.

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What to Expect When You’re Expecting…in Academia

As I write this blog post, I feel a small but mighty foot (or is it an elbow?) jabbing at my ribs. I’m currently expecting my first child in just over a month. I’m also a tenure-track assistant professor whose pregnancy timeline has almost perfectly mirrored the academic year—I found out I was pregnant on the first day of Fall classes and my due date is 10 days after Winter semester ends.

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Racial socialization messages in White parents' discussions of current events involving racism: An interview with Dr. Jamie L. Abaied

Many of the current studies examining White parents’ messages to their children about race and racism have focused on children 12 years old or younger. In their recent article, Dr. Jamie L. Abaied and co-authors sought to extend our current knowledge of White parents’ and children’s discussions surrounding racism by instead examining such discussions among parents and teens (i.e., 14- to 17-year-olds).

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Peer Adversity Predicts Interpersonal Needs in Adolescent Girls

During the teenage years, as youth become more independent from their parents and choose how and with whom to spend their time, peers take on a prominent and important role[SHV2] . This increasing immersion in the peer group can have some beneficial effects[SHV4]  (e.g., improving social skills) but a desire to conform to the interests, behaviors, and activities of peers in order to fit in can also lead to risky behaviors[SHV6] , raising concerns from parents, teachers, administrators, and researchers alike. While all girls possess some desire to form and maintain meaningful relationships with their peer groups, as well as motivation to gain peer approval, girls vary in how strongly they feel these needs. This has led researchers to wonder—what contributes to some girls relying heavily on social approval or possessing a strong need to belong while others do not?

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The Impact of Discrimination on Latinx Immigrant Adolescents’ Well-Being and Development: An interview with Dr. Stephanie Torres, Susana Sosa, Roxanna Flores Toussaint, Sarah Jolie, and Yvita Bustos

Numerous anti-immigration policies have been instituted in the United States over the past several years, exacerbating stressors felt by Latinx adolescents and families nationwide. Dr. Stephanie Torres and co-authors Susana Sosa, Roxanna Flores Toussaint, Sarah Jolie, and Yvita Bustos examined an integrated conceptual model [the Multitiered Model of Oppression and Discrimination among Latinx Immigrant Adolescents (MMOD)] to advance the understanding of the varying levels of discrimination experienced by Latinx immigrant adolescents.

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Adolescent emotion regulation and future psychopathology: An interview with Dr. Robert Klein and Nhi Nguyen

In their March 2022 article titled Adolescent emotion regulation and future psychopathology: A prospective transdiagnostic analysis, Dr. Robert Klein, Nhi Nguyen, and co-authors examined associations between emotion regulation and subsequent pathological anxiety, depression, and substance dependence symptoms among 1,262 adolescents. Data for this study were collected at ten time points across seven years.

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Discriminatory experiences among Latinx youth: An interview with Dr. Michelle Pasco

Latinx youth living in the United States have long encountered discrimination (e.g., anti-immigration sentiment) in a variety of contexts. In their recent article, A retrospective analysis of racial of racial discrimination experiences for Latinx adolescents and young adults, Dr. Michelle Pasco and co-authors centered the voices of U.S.-born Latinx youths by exploring their experiences of discrimination through retrospective accounts.

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Racism and Indigenous Adolescent Development: An interview with Dr. Bep Uink

Few existing studies have examined the impacts of racism on adolescent development specifically with regard to Indigenous youths. Dr. Bep Uink and colleagues conducted a review of present literature to gain greater insight into the state of current research on this topic and to identify associations between racism and adolescent development among Indigenous adolescents. They present their findings in an article titled “Racism and Indigenous Adolescent Development: A Scoping Review” and featured in JRA’s Special Series: Dismantling Systems of Racism and Oppression during Adolescence.

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Racism, Stress, and Youth Safety in Activity Spaces

There is a gap in research wherein Black youths’ experiences of racism in routine spaces are sparsely documented. In their latest article titled “Using ecological momentary assessments to understand Black youths’ experiences of racism, stress, and safety”, Anna Ortega-Williams and colleagues aim to fill this gap through an ecological momentary assessment of emotions, racism, and social support among Black youths.

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Dismantling Oppression Series: Exposure to Online Racial Discrimination and Traumatic Events Online in Black Adolescents and Emerging Adults, An interview with Dr. Ashley D. Maxie-Moreman

Adolescents spend much of their time online, which can be detrimental for young people who experience race-related distress within this context. Alarmingly, research suggests that negative online experiences linked to race (e.g., racial discrimination, race-related traumatic events) are associated with psychological distress among Black youth. In their recent paper titled Exposure to Online Racial Discrimination and Traumatic Events Online in Black Adolescents and Emerging Adults, Drs. Ashley D. Maxie-Moreman and Brendesha M. Tynes probe these associations further by examining how online racial discrimination and traumatic events online relate to trauma symptoms of discrimination after accounting for gender identity and the college racial ethnic setting.

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School Pushout: The Role of Supportive Strategies Versus Punitive Practices for LGBT Youth of Color

Every year, nearly 3 million students in the U.S. get suspended or expelled from school. Suspension or expulsion from school ­are forms of school pushout, which refers to punitive school policies and/or practices that make it difficult for students to be successful in school.  School pushout is disproportionately experienced by students of color, (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and queer) LGBTQ youth, and other underrepresented and underserved youth. Yet, there are several supportive strategies schools can use that keep students in school and learning. In our research, we explored how supportive versus punitive strategies might impact school pushout for LGBT youth of color.

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Understanding Racial Attitudes Among Students and Teachers in an Ethnically/Racially Diverse High School: An interview with Dr. Alexandra Davis

School is one environment which may help facilitate youths’ exposure to a variety of attitudes towards race and diversity, and such attitudes may impact adolescents’ educational experiences in both positive and negative ways. It is therefore vital to understand how attitudes towards race are expressed in school settings, particularly by White teachers towards youth of color. Dr. Alexandra Davis’s recent article, Understanding racial attitudes among students and teachers in a ethnically/racially diverse high school, examines the role of racial attitudes among teachers within the high school setting.

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Youths’ Family and Non-Family Roles as Predictors of Subjective Adulthood in Three Low-Income Agricultural Settings: An interview with Mr. Erick Axxe

Much of the existing research on subjective adulthood (i.e., feeling like an adult) among adolescents has been conducted with participants from wealthy countries. In their recent article on this topic, Erick Axxe and his colleagues instead examined subjective adulthood among youth from less frequently studied settings—specifically, Jalisco, Mexico, Gaza Province, Mozambique, and Chitwan Valley, Nepal.

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The influence of sociocultural beliefs on adolescents’ moral and tolerance evaluations toward corruption: An interview with Cristhian A. Martínez

Adolescents’ sociocultural beliefs may be critical to their reasoning surrounding topics of morality, such as corruption. Cristhian Martínez’s recent article, The influence of sociocultural beliefs on adolescents’ moral and tolerance evaluations toward corruption, seeks to improve our understanding of adolescents’ socio-moral development to help illuminate the contexts in which adolescents are more or less tolerant in their evaluations of corruption.

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If you are anxious and depressive, later you feel socially unimpressive (and not vice versa)

We might not need research to tell us that giving and receiving affection seems to be ingrained in our very essence. Our mood lifts when a stranger smiles at us; we feel warm when people care about us. It might not come as a surprise that connecting with others have several physical and mental health benefits. Ironically, psychologically distressed people tend to withdraw from and avoid social situations, be rated as less socially skilled compared to others, and have unsatisfactory social functioning. Which begets the question, what comes first? Is it peoples’ negative belief in their ability to successfully interact with others or is it symptoms of anxiety and depression?

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