Filtered by category: Research Summaries Clear Filter

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

When We Say That There Is “Chemistry” Between People, We Are Not Probably Referring To The Activity Of The MHC-Genes. However, This Mechanism Might Be One Of The Key Components For Finding The Love Of Your Life.

By Karen Wu

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Latino Adolescents’ Ethnic Identity is a Buffer Against Perceived Discrimination

Latino Adolescents Might Become Targets Of Discrimination Due To Their Origin. However, Research Shows That Engaging With Their Ethnic Identity Might Serve As A Protective Factor.

By Tara Kuther

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Introduction to interdisciplinary research: The importance of getting your feet wet

Everybody Talks About The Need For Interdisciplinarity In Research – But What Does It Mean And Where Do I Start? Check Out Our Article For Some Insights And Tips On Interdisciplinarity.

By Arielle Deutsch

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Driving Under the Influence of Risky Peers

Adolescents Engage In A Great Deal Of Risky Behaviors, Particularly When Their Friends Are Around. This Is Especially Problematic When Adolescents Become Drivers. 

By Tara Kuther

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Adolescents’ Daily Experiences with Parents and Stress: Physical Health Problems and Cortisol Levels

During Adolescence, Interaction With Parents Can Become A Source Of Stress. Although It Might Seem That These Daily Hassles Are Trivial, The Stress Tends To Accumulate And Negatively Impact Health.

By Tara Kuther

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The Pros and Cons of Dating and Sex During Adolescence

Dating And Sexual Intercourse During Adolescence Is Often Seen As Negative, But Some Researchers View It As An Important Developmental Milestone.

Romantic relationships and sexual activity during adolescence are often viewed in the popular media as a complex topicOne popular news article from a parents-of-teens website suggests that teens should not be allowed to date until the parent has discussed with them all aspects of romance and dating, including sexual activity. However, opinions on “The Talk” and discussing sexual intercourse with adolescents vary by region. For example, I grew up in a highly conservative area of the South and had to sign a chastity pledge as part of my abstinence-only sexual education. Meanwhile, my friends in other states learned about various birth control methods. Some researchers maintain that early romantic relationships and sexual debut have harmful effects. Other researchers insist that these processes are all part of natural development and may have positive effects.

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Culture of Health Accelerator: Empowering Youth to be Leaders in Research and Practice

Boston High School Aged Youth Spent The Summer As Researchers In Their Communities And Shared Their Thoughts On What Contributes To Barriers To Wellness For Youth Of Color

This summer I worked on a research team that initiated a project called the Culture of Health Accelerator. The goal was to engage, mentor and support local youth to organize and implement culture of health initiatives in the shared community of Boston, MA. The idea was to empower youth to become active participants in decisions that impact their overall health and well-being. Youth can provide a perspective that is different from adults which can lead to innovative solutions to health problems and unique forms of data collection. Youth who participated in the first iteration of a six week summer institute had the opportunity to conduct and present their own research on the major issues that influence the health of those in their communities. One of the issues that the youth discussed in their presentation was the lack of access to healthy foods. They talked about how many of them purchase unhealthy foods and snacks from corner stores because there are no grocery stores in their neighborhoods.

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Gay-Straight Alliances and Well-Being of Sexual Minority and Majority Youth

What Can We Do For LGBTQ Youth That Are Too Often Targets Of Victimization And Discrimination? School-Based Gay-Straight Alliances (GSA) Might Be Instrumental In Promoting Resilience.

By Tara Kuther

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A Matter of Trust: How Trust and Reciprocity Change over the Course of Adolescence

Making And Keeping Friends: Examining Change And Stability In Trust, Reciprocity, And Empathy As Teens Age.

Adolescence, the period between ages 10 – 22, is a phase in life in which the social world becomes increasingly important. Maybe you recall this from your own teenage years: adolescents become more and more preoccupied with questions such as “What do others think about me?”, “How do I become popular?”, and “How can I make sure to make a lot of friends?” The increasingly complex social world of adolescents poses challenges, but also opportunities to develop social skills and work towards mature, long-term social goals. It has been argued that adolescents show a shift from self-oriented behavior towards other-oriented behavior, which helps them to attain the ‘adult goal’ of developing and maintaining stable, close relationships. There are several developmental changes in adolescence, such as increased sensitivity to rewards and improved perspective-taking skills, that make adolescence a period in which other-oriented behaviors are likely to emerge and become more complex.

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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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