Filtered by category: Research Summaries Clear Filter

Identifying pathways and patterns of adolescent depression

Strategies For Identifying And Preventing Adolescent Depression: Summarizing 15 Years Of Research

With depression predicted to contribute to an increased disease burden in coming decades, prevention efforts have become increasingly important. Prevention needs to commence early in the lifecycle, possibly even with children as young as four years of age. To identify children and adolescents who are most at risk, our research looked to understand sub-groups of children with similarities in the development of depressive symptoms over time. We reviewed twenty English language longitudinal studies published between 2002 and 2015 originating in USA (8), Canada (5), Netherlands (2), Germany, Finland, Chile, Holland, and the UK/Wales/Scotland. We found five subgroups of children and adolescents through a unique statistical analysis known as trajectory modeling. While the majority (56%) of children followed a ‘No or low’ depressive symptom trajectory over time, 26% followed a ‘Moderate’ depressive symptom trajectory and 12% followed ‘High’, ‘Increasing’, or ‘Decreasing’ depressive symptom trajectories (total of 94% is due to rounding across studies).

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Parent-Child Separation at the Border: Let’s Talk about the Teenagers

Being Forcibly Separated From Your Parents Is Traumatic. These Are The Effects Teenagers Often Experience.

There are currently hundreds of migrant children and adolescents who were forcibly taken from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border, and most of them are currently being detained in hastily-made, spartan holding facilities. This policy has been met with outrage by politicians and citizens alike, many of who have expressed concern about the effect even a temporary parental separation might have on young people. It almost goes without saying that being forcibly taken from parents, with no knowledge of if or when you will see them again, is deeply traumatic. From developmental and psychological perspectives, what makes familial separation so harmful for teenagers?

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Is Social Comparison on Social Media Detrimental? It Depends on Whether You Are Comparing Abilities or Opinions

Social Media Comparison Based On Opinion, Rather Than Ability, Is Adaptive For Youth.

In the digital age, social media makes social comparison easy by providing rich materials for comparison. Social comparison is a self-evaluation process in which people compare themselves with others. Social comparison comes in two forms: comparison of ability and comparison of opinion (see herehere, and here for additional details). Ability comparison is competition-based and thus inherently judgmental. It focuses on determining the superiority or inferiority of one’s performances and achievements, relative to others. Opinion comparison is information-based. It centers on identifying similarities and differences in ideas, values, and attitudes between oneself and others.

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New Special Issue on Intersectionality and Its Applications to Developmental Science

What Does Good Intersectional Research Look Like? What Questions Should Researchers Be Grappling With?

There is growing interest among developmental scientists in the applications of intersectionality to the study of adolescence. Although definitions and descriptions of intersectionality vary, this body of work is generally believed to argue that systemic oppressions (e.g., racism, able-ism, heterosexism, etc.) overlap to create unique conditions for individuals; conditions that are bound by the social contexts one is embedded in, and with implications for one’s well-being and development. This perspective raises critical and important questions about the study of adolescence. For example, How do we best theorize and measure overlapping oppressions among adolescents? How are overlapping oppressions experienced and how do they contribute to adolescents’ lives? Despite intersectionality’s increased popularity and presence in various fields, developmental scientists’ grappling with the emphasis on systemic overlapping oppressions has been limited.

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Retaining Black Faculty: 3 Mistakes Even Good Institutions Make

A Pre-Tenure Job Is Like Dating. Here Are Three Dating Mistakes Even “Good” Institutions Make That Contribute To Black/African American Faculty Leaving. 

In her weekly newsletter the Monday Motivator, Dr. Kerry Ann Rockquemore, President and CEO of the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity, wrote a post entitled “Don’t Act Like You’re Married When You’re Only Dating!” In this post, she cautions new faculty against overinvesting in their institution to the detriment of making progress in their research. Likening the pre-tenure years to a prolonged, dating relationship is apropos. Tenure represents an unparalleled level of job permanence but there is no guarantee you will get “the ring”, and your institution spends many years figuring out if you are “the one”. Moreover, in the first few years of “dating”, you are also trying to figure out if you can live with “this person”. Do they meet your needs? Do they value you the way you value yourself? Can you be happy with them for the long-term? As with dating, there is no perfect person or, in this case, job, and sometimes even “good” institutions make mistakes that contribute to faculty leaving.

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How Can Intersectionality Advance Developmental Science?

As the population of young people in the U.S. has become increasingly culturally diverse, the need for an interdisciplinary and contextualized approach to understanding the complexity of their lives is a critical next step. An intersectionality framework offers a promising starting point (e.g., Crenshaw, 1995; Grzanka, 2014; Lewis & Grzanka, 2016).

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Unequal Applications of School Disciplinary Policies Among Racial/Ethnic Groups

In 2014, the Society for Research on Adolescence Civil Rights Data Collection Emerging Scholars Grant was offered to researchers interested in studying potential ethnic/racial disparities in how disciplinary policies are applied in American schools. When I heard about the grant, I did not have much expertise in education policy. However, I decided to apply because the grant offered an opportunity to explore issues important to adolescent development using the Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC).

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5 Things to Know about Race even if Race is not the Point of your Research

After posting the SRA Black Lives Matter Syllabus, Part 1, we’ve engaged in several formal and informal conversations with colleagues about what racial justice means for us as scientists. We’ve heard one question in particular weaving throughout these discussions:

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Heading to Minneapolis: The SRA Black Lives Matter Syllabus, Part 1

We will be heading to Minneapolis for the SRA 2018 Biennial Meeting. Minneapolis is about a 15-minute drive from Falcon Heights, where, last week, a policeman killed Philando Castile (July 16, 1983 – July 6, 2016), the day after a Baton Rouge policeman killed Alton Sterling (June 14, 1979 – July 5, 2016). Both were 30-something year-old Black men. Grief and protest followed, across the U.S.

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“We’ll come to you”: Reflections on the #BlackLivesMatter pre-conference community panel

When planning the SRA preconference “#BlackLivesMatter: Can Adolescent Researchers Contribute to Racial Justice,” our priority was to connect adolescent researchers to racial justice organizing within Baltimore. The central focus of our preconference was a panel discussion in which four Baltimore community activists shared their perspectives on adolescent development and adolescent research. The outstanding panelists were Abdul Salaam, C Harvey, RaLinda Wimbush, and ShaiVaughn Crawely. The panel was co-facilitated by Qiara Butler, a Baltimore activist and also the keynote speaker for the preconference, and Elise Harris, preconference co-chair.

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#BlackLivesMatter Baltimore Pre-Conference: An opportunity for connection, critique, and collaboration

Weeks after we left SRCD last spring, 25-year-old Freddie Gray died of spinal injuries he sustained while in police custody. The SRA membership had already been engaging in conversations about the deaths of Black adolescents and young adults in encounters with the police, on the President’s Blog and in SRA News. Now, the SRA membership will be gathering one of the central hubs of the grassroots movement to address these issues: Baltimore Maryland. We don’t want to miss this opportunity to engage with each other, and to connect with local community organizers, around dismantling structural racism and promoting social justice. We have designed this preconference to address how structural racism manifests both in the lives of the young people we study, and in the ways in which we study them. We hope you will join us.

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Predictors of Adolescents’ STEM Career Aspirations: Illuminating the Contours of Friendship Group Norms

Our interest in understanding how friends shape adolescents’ career aspirations evolved from our background in studying children’s gender development. Children’s peers play a critical role in socializing adherence to gender-role norms. Indeed, many gender-sensitive parents are dismayed to realize that their attempts to raise gender-flexible children are undone soon after their children begin interacting with peers at school. Among other things, children’s peers are responsible for transmitting messages about what types of academic pursuits are appropriate for girls and boys.

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Can dreams tell the future? Unique dreaming patterns predict later behavioral problems in a healthy early-adolescent sample

Nirit Soffer-Dudek, Ph.D.; Avi Sadeh, D.Sc.

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Armenian Adolescents and Globalization

Have you ever wondered how globalization is affecting adolescents in parts of the world that are more isolated, for example, in countries like Armenia? First, I will situate you in the context of Armenia by relating recent history, recent exposure to computers, changes in the school system, and the genesis of this research project. Next, I describe the practical matters involved in setting up and conducting the research. Finally, I summarize evidence we found regarding globalization influences on adolescents in Armenia. 

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Hmong American Adolescent Sexual Health and the Parents Who Care

Laurie L. Meschke, PhD, University of Tennessee at Knoxville

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Understanding Adolescent Health Risk and Protection in Rural Kenya

Molly Secor-Turner, Ph.D., R.N., and Brandy A. Randall, Ph.D.

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Things May Fall Apart…but You Will Make it Through with a Little Help from your Family, Friends, Teachers, and School

The transitions from childhood to adolescence and then from elementary to middle and high school and into college can be challenging for all youth.  However, they can be especially difficult for youth from low income, ethnic minority, or immigrant families.  As they transition to middle school, high school, and college, these youth often begin to exceed their parents’ level of schooling, thus making it necessary for them to rely on peers, teachers, and community mentors for help with school work and education/career goals  (Azmitia & Cooper, 2011; Cooper, 2011; Dennis, Phinney, & Chuateco, 2005).  In some cases, youths’ academic and career goals may be in conflict with the needs of their families and friends.  For example, families of college-bound youth may pressure them to attend a college close to home so they can continue to help the family economically, provide childcare, or serve as English translators (Chao, 2006; Grau, Azmitia, & Quatelbaum, 2008; Orellana, 2009; Syed, Azmitia, & Cooper, 2011).  Also, while their less-academically oriented friends often provide encouragement and support, over time higher achieving, low income, ethnic minority, or first generation students can feel alienated from their friends and peers. Because they also often feel they have little in common with their high achieving middle/upper income ethnic majority peers, these youth can feel that they do not belong at school, home, or their community (Azmitia & Radmacher, 2012; Azmitia, Syed, & Radmacher, in press; Johnson, Solbe, & Leonard, 2007; Orbe 2008; Ostrove & Long, 2009).

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Who’s more likely to have sex, a girl who likes her body or one who doesn’t?

Rosalie Corona, Ph.D., Virginia Commonwealth University

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Talking about conflict with parents: Five observations and two questions

Adolescence is frequently portrayed as a time of increasing parent-child conflict, thanks in large parts to the roles played by G. Stanley Hall and Anna Freud.  As adolescents and their parents actively negotiate new roles, responsibilities, values, and expectations on the way to adulthood, parents also tend to disclose more personal information with their soon-to-be-adult adolescents than with younger children.  However, parent-adolescent conflict, even in small doses, can be distressing to children and is associated with emotional distress and unhappiness. 

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