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Does Resilience Mean the Same Thing for Adolescents Around the World?

Some teens show resilience despite adverse conditions, but the individual, social, and community factors supporting resilience vary around the globe.

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Ambulatory Assessment May Be an Answer to Engaging ‘Hard to Reach’ Youth in Research

Some ethnic and demographic groups are difficult to recruit for research studies. Mobile devices and other new technologies can eliminate some barriers, especially when used mindfully.

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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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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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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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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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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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