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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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Meet, Write, Collaborate: Networking in Working Groups

Networking Accomplished: First, Join The Group. Second, Find Your Person. Third, Create A Project.

Puberty is a complex and multifaceted process, and yet pubertal research typically resides in silos across fields such as medicine, genetics, psychology, anthropology, neuroscience, public health, or epidemiology. In each of these fields, novel measurement and theoretical approaches lead to incremental increases in our knowledge of puberty, but the most exciting discoveries usually happen when disciplines intersect. We had the opportunity to see this intersection of ideas first-hand at The New Biobehavioral Developmental Science of Puberty post-conference at SRA 2016 organized by Drs. Lorah Dorn, Liz Susman, and Anne Petersen.

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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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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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The Promises and Pitfalls of Youth Mentoring Programs

Youth Mentoring Is A Popular, Cost-Effective Intervention, And We Need To Be Realistic About What It Can And Can’t Do.

Youth mentoring relationships are formed between young people and caring, non-parent adults. Enthusiasm for mentoring – from researchers, practitioners, policy makers, and the general public alike – has exploded over the past two decades, resulting in a rapid expansion in the size and number of mentoring programs. These programs, such as Big Brothers Big Sisters, typically seek to match adult volunteers with a young person (often designated as “at risk”) who needs a positive adult role model. At a given time, mentoring programs are serving an estimated 4.5 million children and adolescents in the U.S.

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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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