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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Why you should care about #BlackPanther and #WakandaWeek

I  put Black Panther on my calendar months ago. When they announced the opening date, primed for the middle of Black History Month, I proclaimed that–come hell or high water–I was going to watch it on Friday, February 16.

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How to Support the Adolescent Activists in your Life

We are watching them mobilize across the country: youth fighting for gun control; youth fighting for a Clean DREAM Act; youth fighting against police brutality and structural racism. Here are ways you can offer support to the adolescent activists in your life — and maybe also help a young person along the pathway to plugging into these social movements for change.

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Discerning and Decoding Campus Culture(s): Questions Early Career Professionals Should Ask

My first faux pas as a faculty member happened in my first semester during a department meeting. We were having an animated discussion about our curriculum and it became clear the room was split on the issue. As the meeting approached its end, I, being helpful of course, quipped, “will we be voting on this before we leave today?” I then learned that in my department, we made most decisions by consensus— a revelation of department culture.

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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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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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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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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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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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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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Hmong American Adolescent Sexual Health and the Parents Who Care

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

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Ethnic Identity Development among Latino Adolescents…Who, What, When, Where???

Adriana J. Umaña-Taylor, Ph.D.

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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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