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Defining Adolescence: Five Questions for the First Day of Class

How Do We Define Adolescence?: Five Questions About The Definition Of Adolescence To Facilitate Classroom Conversation

On the first day of class, I realized that the Obama Administration’s health insurance reform has affected my introductory exercise. Typically, on the first day, I ask students to write down responses to five questions:

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Our Genes, Our “Chemistry”: The Search for the Perfect Match

Imagine that you are speed-dating. You anxiously sit in your chair, scanning the other speed-daters and wondering how you will fare tonight. Will you find your perfect match? Your first partner approaches you. This person is simply gorgeous. However, once they sit down in front of you, everything changes. They smile charmingly and say all the right things, but you feel nothing for them. You begin to question your judgment.

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Moms Behaving Badly? Conflict in Mothers’ Friendships with Other Adults May Impact Adolescents’ Social and Emotional Adjustment

What does it mean to say that parents should “set a good example” for their children? Although modeling positive behavior and values may initially come to mind, in what context is this example set? Many such contexts are interpersonal, such as how a parent interacts with his or her spouse or with their children themselves. But it may be that parents’ behavior in contexts outside of the family, such as interacting with their own adult peers, can influence children as well.

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Ethnic and Racial Identity: Moving Toward Greater Clarity and Synergy

Research on ethnic identity and racial identity has been growing at a rapid rate over the past several decades, and this body of work suggests these constructs are central aspects of the normative development of diverse youth of color, especially over the course of adolescence and young adulthood. A great deal of research suggests that ethnic and racial identity can promote positive outcomes among youth who have been exposed to risks such as discrimination or economic hardship. In some cases, ethnic and racial identities actually mitigate the deleterious consequences of adverse life events.

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Beyond the Battle Hymn to Empirical Research on Tiger Parenting

Linda P. Juang, Desiree Baolin Qin, and Irene J. K. Park

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Racial/Ethnic Teasing in Adolescence and Emerging Adulthood

If you are like me, you’ve used humor to help an awkward situation pass, made a joke to lighten the mood, or teased a friend in a lighthearted way.  But how far does the power of humor reach?  What if that humor is used in the context of race and ethnicity?  For some adolescents (whose names have been changed), these experiences come to mind easily: 

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Permanent Change: Oxymoron or Possible?

A major advantage of being members of the Society for Research on Adolescence is that we have access to a vast amount of evidence about the social, emotional, and cognitive development of children and adolescents. In addition, we have learned a great deal about the risk factors for dysfunctional development in those areas. Using this information, many educational programs and clinical treatments have been developed that have shown significant pre- to post-treatment decreases in adolescents’ drinking, smoking, and risky sexual behaviors. Unfortunately, many studies that have followed participants over longer periods (6 months to several years) have found that the small to moderate effect sizes tend to dissipate. Perhaps we are missing a piece of the puzzle. Why do these effects often disappear in the longer run? I would suggest that what might be missing is something physiological that interferes with the retrieval of information learned in these programs. Recent research shows that at high levels of emotional arousal, cognitive functioning is disrupted, often inaccessible, resulting in a panic-ridden reversion to over-learned, habitual, and sometimes maladaptive behaviors. In addition, previous attachment research has helped us to understand how these over-learned, habitual, and sometimes maladaptive behaviors develop. I suggest here that we attend to coupling these two lines of research – attachment and physiological arousal – in order to improve the efficacy of our educational and clinical interventions.

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