Filtered by category: Research Summaries Clear Filter

Researchers who study adolescents are increasingly relying on data collection strategies based on teens’ smartphones. How well do adolescents understand their rights as research participants?

Ecological momentary assessment (EMA) is a term used to describe the collection of data in real time while subjects remain in their natural environments. Many adolescence researchers are familiar with contemporary beginnings in social science research, such as when Reed Larson and Claudia Lampman-Petraitis signaled adolescents to record their emotional state using electronic pagers. However, with the growing ubiquity of smart phone use and ownership among adolescents, EMA has become more common and more feasible.

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How can researchers study developmental constructs over time when age-appropriate measures change as their sample ages?

Studying Change In Depressive Symptoms In Youth Over Time Poses Specific Challenges For Researchers Related To Both Change In Symptom Manifestation And Change In Age-Validated Measurement.

Assessing change in mental health, such as depressive symptoms, across development is particularly challenging for two related reasons. First, the symptoms of depression look different at different ages; for example, in childhood, depression often manifests as angry mood, but as youth age, depression manifests as sadness and suicidal ideation. Second, and accordingly, the way clinicians and researchers measure mental health symptoms also changes across childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. To examine depressive symptoms, children are often assessed using tools like the Children’s Depression Inventory (CDI; validated for use with children age 8-17 years), while adults are assessed using measures like the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI-II; validated for use with adolescents and adults age 13 and older). Although both tools are reliable, valid, and age-appropriate, they include different items and response options. This makes it challenging to track how individuals’ level of depression changes with age. If different measures are used at different times, it is not possible to know whether the observed changes in depression are indicative of an individual’s symptoms changing over time or if they are a by-product of change in the measurement instrument. Tracking and answering questions about changes in depressive symptoms when different measurement tools are used requires some creative linking of the different tools.

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Teens with Incarcerated Parents: Developmental Trajectories and Interventions

Adolescents With Currently Or Previously Incarcerated Parents Are At Much Higher Risk Of Delinquency And Criminal Justice Involvement. How Can This Cycle Be Broken?

Over the past four decades, the incarceration rate in the United States has skyrocketed, resulting in nearly one in every hundred American adults being incarcerated at a given time. The majority of adult prisoners are parents, often to multiple children and teenagers. As a result, approximately 3 million minors in the U.S. have at least one parent currently behind bars, and up to 8 million–approximately 1 in 14–will experience parental incarceration at some point in their childhood or adolescence. Extensive research has shown that parental incarceration puts youth at risk of a range of negative developmental outcomes, leading some researchers to call them the “invisible victims” of the criminal justice system.

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I’m bored! Leisure Boredom, Depression, and Delinquency in Early Adolescence

Are Adolescents Bored All The Time? Actually, Most Of Them Are Not But Those That Are Might Be At Higher Risk For Depressive Symptoms.

By:  Tara Kuther

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Health Disparities Research with LGBTQ Youth

Find Out More About Researchers Focusing On LGBTQ Youth Who Are At Risk For Negative Health Outcomes.

By Elizabeth McConnell, Michelle Birkett, & Brian Mustanski

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Gains, Losses and Identity Development: Indian Adolescents’ Views of Globalization

Following Rapid Economic Development In The Past Decades, The Identity Of Contemporary Indian Teenagers Becomes Affected By Globalization.

By Margarita Azmitia

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Research on Neural Systems may Help Explain Adolescents’ Sensitivity to Social Feedback

Teenagers Are Very Sensitive To Social Environments – Now We Can See It In Their Brains As Well.

By Margarita Azmitia 

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Gender Infused Models of Antisocial Behavior: The Salience of Family Environment for Girls

Although the Majority Of Juvenile Offenders Are Boys, Girls Can Be Antisocial Too. However, Their Pathways To Problem Behaviors Might Be Unique.

By Mandi L. Burnette

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When Attractive Is Not Beautiful: A Look at Contemporary Labels of Beauty

Beauty Is In The Eye Of Beholder – Yet Many Of Our Preferences Are Influenced By Media And Cultural Values.

By Sybil Geldart & Stephanie Burgoyne

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Do friendships provide a training ground for adolescents’ romantic relationships?

If Friendship Is A Training Ground For Romantic Relationships, What Happens To Teens With Low Quality Friendships?

How do adolescents learn to form high quality romantic relationships? There are no doubt many factors, but friends may be a particularly important influence as interactions with friends provide a “training ground” for the development of skills that adolescents will need for romantic relationships. An exploration of the influence of friendships on romantic relationships is especially important because the quality of adolescents’ romantic relationships have been associated with a sense of self-worth, mental health status, and well-being (see hereherehere, and here), for better or for worse.

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Racial/Ethnic Teasing in Adolescence and Emerging Adulthood

“It’s Just A Joke!” Or Is It? Find Out More About The Research On Racial/Ethnic Teasing Among Teenagers.

By Sara Douglass

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Ethnic Identity: Protective Factor for First Nations Adolescents’ Development

Native American Adolescents Are At A High Risk For A Variety Of Negative Outcomes. However, Being Aware Of Their Traditional Cultural Identity Might Serve A Protective Factor.

By Margarita Azmitia

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Beyond the Battle Hymn to Empirical Research on Tiger Parenting

A Great Amount Of Interest And Controversy Emerged When Amy Chua Published Her Book On Tiger Parenting. But What Does Research Say About The Actual Effects Of This Parenting Style On Adolescents?

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

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Are Parental Monitoring and Peer Management Always Effective?

Traditionally, Parental Monitoring Has Been Found To Be One Of The Most Important Protective Factors Against Teenage Delinquency. However, Too Much Monitoring Might Sometimes Be Counter-Productive.

By Tara Kuther

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Should an adolescent receive individual or family therapy? It may depend on the level of their parents’ psychological distress

Does A Parent’s Mental Health Affect How Well An Adolescent Responds To Psychological Interventions?

Parents play an important role in their adolescents’ lives. When parents are suffering from their own mental health issues, their children suffer as well. For example, when parents experience psychiatric symptoms, their adolescent children are more likely to use substances or develop mood disorders. However, there is little research involving how parents’ mental health issues affect how well adolescents respond to psychological interventions, especially for interventions that target adolescents’ use of substances such as marijuana and alcohol, and their sexual risk behaviors such as engaging in unprotected sex. There is even less research of this type on adolescents involved in the juvenile justice system. Thus, the current study set out to fill these gaps in the literature.

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Boys and Girls Take Different Paths to Empathy

Empathy Is A Trait That Develops During Adolescence. However, It Seems That The Course Of Development Might Be Gender-Specific.

By Tara Kuther

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

What Determines Whether Adolescents Decide To Pursue Careers In STEM Fields? This Research Suggests That Friends Play A Huge Role.

By Rachael D. Robnett and Campbell Leaper

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Innovations to Close the Mentoring Gap

Everybody Would Agree That Mentoring Is Important For Positive Youth Development. However, Millions Of Adolescents Will Grow Up Without A Mentor In Their Life. Learn More About The Ways One University Tries To Close This Gap.

“Before meeting my mentor, I was thinking I’d never succeed, that I’d just live with my parents my whole life until I get kicked out because I’m such a problem. But then I met my mentor and got the support that I needed. Now, I feel like if I want to do something, and it’s something that I really want to do, I will do it no matter how many people tell me I can’t.  Talking to my mentor helps me because she tells me that I can do it and she supports me.”

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Does Joint Custody Benefit Adolescents?

Many People Opt For A Joint Custody Following A Divorce So That Children Can Keep Seeing Both Parents Regularly. However, For Some Of The Children, It Might Actually Be More Problematic.

By Tara Kuther

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Analyzing Hair to Expand Research on Puberty: Not Everyone’s Experience is the Same

Puberty Is A Normal Process, But How You Go Through Puberty Can Set Your Life On A Specific Trajectory.

Puberty is something we all go through and yet there is limited science to explain what is happening inside our bodies during this transition, and how it affects our physical and mental health.

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