Filtered by author: Jacob Slonim Clear Filter

Discussing Adolescence: Where Do Video Discussion Assignments Fit?

A common classroom scenario: the instructor poses a question for discussion, followed by uncomfortable silence. No one wants to be the first to engage. Use of message boards for discussion, which increased during the COVID-19 pandemic, appears—from my experience anyway—to face a similar problem, with students generally seeming to submit only the minimum number of replies required per the course syllabus. Some instructors have taken advantage of the technological advances available to today’s online learning environment and incorporated video options into their discussion assignments. Such options may show promise in increasing student engagement. While it might be too early to conclude that video-based discussions are more successful than their text-based counterparts in maintaining student engagement, my experience as a Teaching Assistant (TA) for a course on Adolescent Development at the University of Texas at El Paso has led me to believe that video boards could be a helpful alternative (or supplement) to traditional text-based message board discussions.

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Slow life history strategies and increases in externalizing and internalizing problems during the COVID-19 pandemic

The ongoing COVID pandemic has had a psychological impact on people of all ages, including adolescents. Although the devastation wrought by COVID appears unprecedented, disease pandemics have recurred throughout human history. Any attempts to mitigate the psychological impact of the current pandemic should reflect the understanding that humans have evolved coping strategies shaped by evolutionarily recurrent adversities, including infectious diseases. Coping with environmental adversities requires coordination between physiological and psychological systems. These regulatory responses are known as fast and slow life history tradeoff strategies.

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Underrepresented Voices: Positive Youth Development among Roma and Egyptian Youth in Times of Pandemic

COVID-19 is disrupting youth development globally. Ethnic and racial minorities are disproportionately exposed to the virus and affected by the pandemic due to systemic social and economic disparities. Yet, there is a lack of research on how at-risk minority youth are coping with the present pandemic to shed light on the developmental assets that can boost their positive development during these uncertain times.

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Religious Support and Black Adolescent Girls’ Mental Well-being

Religion is a key source of better mental health and well-being across the life course for Black Americans. A constant among Black youth and their families, it is also a significant cultural and coping resource for Black girls, who tend to be more religious than Black boys. Attending worship services and participating in other organized religious activities has been shown to contribute to a wide range of positive outcomes, including mental well-being. This may be one significant factor to help us understand how to foster mental well-being among Black girls and the emotional support received from relationships formed within the religious communities that Black girls may access.

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Is the COVID-19 Pandemic Slowing Down the Teen Vaping Epidemic?

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Monitoring the Future (MTF), a national survey of teen substance use, reported that rates of electronic cigarette (e-cig) use among adolescents were steadily increasing (Miech et al., 2019; Willet et al., 2019). However, with the onset of the pandemic, rates of e-cig use seem to be stalling out. As of May 2020, over a third of underage e-cig users reported desisting use, while another third reported reducing the frequency of their use (Gaiha et al., 2020). Although mostly speculation, some emerging literature points to the COVID-19 as being an unintentional catalyst for this decrease in e-cig use among teens (Dumas et al., 2020; Gaiha et al., 2020)

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High-quality relationships with parents can protect high-risk adolescent girls from depressive symptoms

Time spent with peers increases during adolescence compared to childhood, and adolescents are believed to become more susceptible to peer influences and more vulnerable to the stressful peer experience of social exclusion.  As characterized in the movie “Mean Girls,” adolescent girls especially have a reputation for being exclusive, or “cliquey.”  Setting aside the question of whether such media portrayals are an exaggeration or caricature of adolescent behavior, parents might wonder whether they have any power to help their teens bounce back from the impact of negative experiences with peers.  Dr. Rudolph and colleagues’ research suggests they do.

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