Mom Psych

Teen Issues

Brainstorms: The Teenage Brain Podcast

Edge Conversation: Sarah Jane Blakeman on the Adolescent Brain

Zur Institute: The Major Issues Facing Teens

Mother to Son Relationship Key to Emotional Development

Father-Daughter Attachment Affects Communication in Future Relationships

AACAP: Normal Adolescent Development

National Institute of Health, US Gov: Teen Violence

CNN: Interrupting the Cycle of Teen Violence

Science Daily: Teen Health News



Follow Sara Bellum: NIDA for Teens


self-regulation and teen circadian rhythms



Poor Self-Regulation in Teens Associated with Circadian Rhythms and Daytime Sleepiness


Findings support later start times for middle schools and high schools

November 3, 2016—Chronic insufficient sleep is at epidemic levels in U.S. teens and has been associated with depression, substance use, accidents, and academic failure. Poor self-regulation or an inability to alter thinking, emotions, and behaviors to meet varying social demands is thought to be a key link between inadequate sleep in teens and poor health and school-related outcomes. However, a study led by Judith Owens, MD, MPH, at Boston Children's Hospital and Robert Whitaker, MD, MPH, at Temple University found that the number of hours teens sleep on school nights may not be the main problem. Instead, daytime sleepiness and a tendency to be a "night owl," referred to as an evening chronotype, appear to be more strongly associated with poor self-regulation. Findings were published online November 3 by Pediatrics.
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Teens Take Fewer Risks around Slightly Older Adults

January 28, 2016—Adolescents are known risk takers, especially when they're surrounded by same-aged peers. But new research suggests that being in a group that includes just one slightly older adult might decrease teens' propensity to engage in risky behavior.

The findings are published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

"The take home message is that decision making in groups of adolescents and young adults is more prudent when a somewhat older adult is present," explains psychological scientist and lead researcher Laurence Steinberg of Temple University. "The findings are important because they provide guidance to organizations that must decide on the age mix of their work teams."
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Study Finds Teasing Girls about Weight Is More than a Playground Joke


Researchers examine unhealthy eating behaviors, body perception in minority girls

November 10, 2015—Current research about childhood obesity has illustrated the complexity of the epidemic--how it intertwines with hunger, poverty, food deserts and socioeconomic status. A new University of Houston study examined a practice that may seem like a harmless playground antic, but could have long-lasting and harmful effects to a young girl's perception of herself and of food.
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Exercise Reduces Suicide Attempts by 23 Percent among Bullied Teens


Findings show importance of exercise for all teens as high schools cut physical education and sports programs

September 21, 2015—As high schools across the country continue to reduce physical education, recess, and athletic programs, a new study shows that regular exercise significantly reduces both suicidal thoughts and attempts among students who are bullied.
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Close Friendships in Adolescence Predict Health in Adulthood

August 31, 2015—Teens are often warned to beware the undue influence of peer pressure, but new research suggests that following the pack in adolescence may have some unexpected benefits for physical health in early adulthood.

The study was published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

Psychological scientists Joseph P. Allen, Bert N. Uchino, and Christopher A. Hafen found that physical health in adulthood could be predicted based on the quality of close friendships in adolescence. In addition, efforts to conform to peer norms were actually linked to higher quality health in adulthood.
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Resiliency Training Program Helps Teens Deal with Today's Stresses


Study documents successful application of Benson-Henry Institute program at Boston high school

June 22, 2015—Amid reports that rank today's teens as the most stressed generation in the country, a new study offers hope for helping them effectively manage stress and build long-term resiliency. A pilot study, published in the spring issue of the journal Advances in Mind-Body Medicine, describes how a stress-reduction/resiliency-building curriculum developed by the Benson-Henry Institute (BHI) at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) helped a group of Boston-area high school students significantly reduce their anxiety levels, increase productivity and effectively manage stress over time.
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Shoulder to the Wheel: Parental Intervention Improves Teen Driving

January 14, 2015—Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of teenage death in America. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, seven 16- to 19-year-olds die every day as a result of injuries incurred from road crashes. But attempts to address the problem through legislation and technological innovation have yielded limited results.
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The Ups and Downs of Support from Friends When Teens Experience Peer Victimization


New study looks at depressive symptoms and delinquency among harassed youth

December 10, 2014—There are pros and cons to the support that victimized teenagers get from their friends. Depending on the type of aggression they are exposed to, such support may reduce youth’s risk for depressive symptoms. On the other hand, it may make some young people follow the delinquent example of their friends, says a team of researchers from the University of Kansas in the US, led by John Cooley. Their findings are published in Springer’s Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment.
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Aggressive Behavior Increases Adolescent Drinking, Depression Doesn't

August 6, 2014—Adolescents who behave aggressively are more likely to drink alcohol and in larger quantities than their peers, according to a recent study completed in Finland. Depression and anxiety, on the other hand, were not linked to increased alcohol use. The study investigated the association between psychosocial problems and alcohol use among 4074 Finnish 13- to 18-year-old adolescents. The results were published in Journal of Adolescence.
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Girls Feel They Must 'Play Dumb' to Please Boys, Says Research

August 5, 2014—Girls feel the need to play down their intelligence to not intimidate boys, concludes research by a sociologist who spent three months amongst a class of school children.
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Teen Dating Violence Cuts Both Ways: 1 in 6 Girls and Guys Are Aggressors, Victims or Both


ER-based study reinforces need for screening to get teens help

ANN ARBOR, MI; July 7, 2014—Dating during the teen years takes a violent turn for nearly 1 in 6 young people, a new study finds, with both genders reporting acts like punching, pulling hair, shoving, and throwing things.
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Discrimination Associated with Mental Health Woes in Black Teens


Researchers find racism a common 'toxic stressor' among African-American, Afro-Caribbean youth

VANCOUVER, BC; May 3, 2014—The vast majority of African-American and Afro-Caribbean youth face racial discrimination, and these experiences are associated with an increased risk of mental health problems, according to a study to be presented Saturday, May 3, at the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) annual meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
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Altruistic Adolescents Less Likely to Become Depressed

CHAMPAIGN, IL; April 24, 2014—It is better to give than to receive—at least if you're an adolescent and you enjoy giving, a new study suggests.
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Loud Talking and Horseplay in Car Results in More Serious Incidents for Teen Drivers

April 17, 2014—Adolescent drivers are often distracted by technology while they are driving, but loud conversations and horseplay between passengers appear more likely to result in a dangerous incident, according to a new study from the UNC Highway Safety Research Center.
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Indoor Tanning by Teens Linked to Unhealthy Weight Control Methods


Indoor tanning may be marker of eating disorder-related behaviors, suggests recent study

Philadelphia, PA; April 4, 2014—High school students who use indoor tanning also have higher rates of unhealthy weight control behaviors—such as taking diet pills or vomiting to lose weight, reports a study in the April Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics, the official journal of the Society for Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics. The journal is published by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, a part of Wolters Kluwer Health.
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Youth Who Help Others and Volunteer are Less Likely to Associate with Deviant Peers and Engage in Problem Behaviors


Intervention programs should focus on encouraging “prosocial” behaviors in youth

Columbia, MO; March 11, 2014—Prosocial behaviors, or actions intended to help others, remain an important area of focus for researchers interested in factors that reduce violence and other behavioral problems in youth. However, little is known regarding the connection between prosocial and antisocial behaviors.  A new study by a University of Missouri human development expert found that prosocial behaviors can prevent youth from associating with deviant peers, thereby making the youth less likely to exhibit antisocial or problem behaviors, such as aggression and delinquency.
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Social Ties More Important than Biology When It Comes to Teen Sleep Problems

WASHINGTON, DC, December 5, 2013—Medical researchers point to developmental factors, specifically the decline of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin, as an explanation for why children get less sleep as they become teenagers. But a new study suggests that social ties, including relationships with peers and parents, may be even more responsible for changing sleep patterns among adolescents.
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Are Youth More Likely to Be Bullied at Schools with Anti-Bullying Programs?


How do situational factors interact with individual-level characteristics to influence peer victimization?

September 12, 2013—Anti-bullying initiatives have become standard at schools across the country, but a new University of Texas at Arlington study finds that students attending those schools may be more likely to be a victim of bullying than children at schools without such programs. [Note: The authors qualify that a limitation of their study is that it did not investigate the temporal relationship between preventive measures and peer victimization. In other words, did peer victimization exist before the implementation of preventive measures? If so, could this explain the finding that schools with anti-bullying programs showed more victimization?]
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Obese Teenagers Who Lose Weight at Risk for Developing Eating Disorders


Teens also likely to go undiagnosed, develop more severe medical complications

ROCHESTER, MN; September 9, 2013—Obese teenagers who lose weight are at risk of developing eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa, Mayo Clinic researchers imply in a recent Pediatrics article. Eating disorders among these patients are also not being adequately detected because the weight loss is seen as positive by providers and family members.

In the article, Mayo Clinic researchers argue that formerly overweight adolescents tend to have more medical complications from eating disorders and it takes longer to diagnose them than kids who are in a normal weight range. This is problematic because early intervention is the key to a good prognosis, says Leslie Sim, Ph.D., an eating disorders expert in the Mayo Clinic Children's Center and lead author of the study.
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What Are the Risks of Student Cyberbullying?


Almost one in three students admit to being bullied at school

September 5, 2013—Details of a survey of middle and high school student attitudes to cyberbullying and online safety will be published in the International Journal of Social Media and Interactive Learning Environments. The analysis of the results shows that many children are bullied and few understand internet safety.

The team found that an alarming number of students, almost one in three admitted to being bullied at school. They also found that parental involvement in monitoring internet activity is low among this group with about a third of middle school and 17% of high school students reporting that their parents monitor their internet. Overall, the researchers found that students had little or no knowledge of internet safety.
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Far from Being Harmless, the Effects of Bullying Last Long into Adulthood

APS; August 19, 2013—A new study shows that serious illness, struggling to hold down a regular job, and poor social relationships are just some of the adverse outcomes in adulthood faced by those exposed to bullying in childhood.
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Teen Eating Disorders Increase Suicide Risk


Johns Hopkins researchers find connection between body dissatisfaction, depressive/anxious symptoms, and binge eating.

NEW YORK; July 22, 2013—Is binge eating a tell-tale sign of suicidal thoughts?

According to a new study of African American girls, by Dr. Rashelle Musci and colleagues from the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University, those who experience depressive and anxious symptoms are often dissatisfied with their bodies and more likely to display binge eating behaviors. These behaviors put them at higher risk for turning their emotions inward, in other words, displaying internalizing symptoms such as suicide. The study is published online in Springer's journal, Prevention Science.
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Consider a Text for Teen Suicide Prevention and Intervention, Research Suggests

COLUMBUS, OH; June 24, 2013—Teens and young adults are making use of social networking sites and mobile technology to express suicidal thoughts and intentions as well as to reach out for help, two studies suggest.
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Talk to Teens about Health, Not Weight, Say Researchers

June 24, 2013—Conversations between parents and adolescents that focus on weight and size are associated with an increased risk for unhealthy adolescent weight-control behaviors, according to a study published Online First by JAMA Pediatrics, a JAMA Network publication.
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Study Examines Suicide Risk and Protective Factors for Youth Involved in Bullying

MINNEAPOLIS/ST. PAUL; June 19, 2013—New research out of the University of Minnesota identifies significant risk factors for suicidal behavior in youth being bullied, but also identifies protective factors for the same group of children.

The article, "Suicidal Thinking and Behavior Among Youth Involved in Verbal and Social Bullying: Risk and Protective Factors" is being published in a special supplemental issue of the Journal of Adolescent Health. The supplement identifies bullying as a clear public health issue, calling for more preventative research and action.

The analysis showed clear risk factors for suicidal thinking and behavior among young people involved in bullying. Among them: self injury, such as cutting, emotional distress, running away, and previous trauma in childhood, such as physical or sexual abuse.
(Full story . . . )

Childhood Bullying Increases the Risk of Self-Harm During Adolescence

WARWICK, U.K; May 28, 2013—A new study has proven that being bullied during childhood directly increases the likelihood of self- harm in late adolescence.

The analysis, led by researchers from the University of Warwick in association with colleagues at the University of Bristol, highlights that being bullied at primary school age can cause enough distress to significantly increase the risk of self-harming in later adolescence.
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Parent and Teacher Support Protects Teens from Sleep Problems and Depression

DARIEN, IL; May 22, 2013—A new study suggests that disturbed sleep in adolescents is associated with more symptoms of depression and greater uncertainly about future success.  However, perceived support and acceptance from parents and teachers appears to have a protective effect.

Results show that disturbed sleep was significantly associated with depressed mood and greater uncertainty about future success. Higher levels of perceived support from parents and from teachers were associated with significantly fewer sleep disruptions and subsequently with fewer symptoms of depression and greater optimism about the future. These associations with better outcomes were not observed from perceptions of support from peers.
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Nearly 20 Percent of Suicidal Youths Have Guns in Their Home

WASHINGTON, DC; May 6, 2013—Nearly one in five children and teens found to be at risk for suicide report that there are guns in their homes, and 15 percent of those at risk for suicide with guns in the home know how to access both the guns and the bullets, according to a study to be presented Monday, May 6, at the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) annual meeting in Washington, DC.
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Teen Girls Who Exercise Are Less Likely to Be Violent

WASHINGTON, DC; May 6, 2013—Regular exercise is touted as an antidote for many ills, including stress, depression and obesity. Physical activity also may help decrease violent behavior among adolescent girls, according to new research to be presented Monday, May 6, at the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) annual meeting in Washington, DC.
(Full story . . . )

Don't Txt n Drive: Teens Not Getting Msg

WASHINGTON, DC; May 4, 2013—Teens can get hundreds of text messages a day, but one message they aren't getting is that they shouldn't text and drive. Nearly 43 percent of high school students of driving age who were surveyed in 2011 reported texting while driving at least once in the past 30 days, according to a study to be presented Saturday, May 4, at the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) annual meeting in Washington, DC.
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Teen Moms at Greater Risk for Later Obesity

ANN ARBOR, MI; April 19, 2013—A new study debunks the myth that younger moms are more likely to “bounce back” after having a baby—teenage pregnancy actually makes women more likely to become obese.

Women who give birth as teens are significantly more likely to be overweight or obese later in life than women who were not teen moms, University of Michigan Health System researchers found.
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Iowa State Researchers Find Parent-Child Violence Leads to Teen Dating Violence

AMES, Iowa; March 25, 2013—Teens today are involved in intimate relationships at a much younger age and often have different definitions of what is acceptable behavior in a relationship. Violence is something that is all too common and according to researchers at Iowa State it is a reflection of the relationships teens have with their parents or their parent’s partner.

“It is true that if you grow up in a violent household you have a higher likelihood of being in a violent relationship,” said Brenda Lohman, lead author and an associate professor of human development and family studies at Iowa State University.

The research focused on psychological violence instead of physical violence. Lohman and her colleagues discovered that psychological violence between a parent and child was more significant than a child witnessing violence between two adults in the home.  
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Myths and Facts about Adolescent Suicide

October 24, 2012—According to Maurizio Pompili, Professor of Suicidology at Sapienza University's Medical School in Rome, Italy, the first step in suicide prevention is trustful communication between adults and adolescents. Achieving this requires correcting some of the enduring myths people hold about adolescent suicide.
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What Killed Amanda Todd? A Look at Cyberbullying and Teen Suicide

The tragic death by suicide of fifteen-year-old Canadian Amanda Todd on October 10, 2012, brought several important issues into the media spotlight. Chief among them were cyberbullying, mental health issues and Internet safety. It also sparked discussions about vigilante vengeance as Anonymous “hacktivists” trained their sights on Amanda’s online tormenter and blackmailer, whose cyber-weapon was a risqué Webcam image of the young girl taken when she was only twelve.
(Full story . . . )

Cyberbullying: 1 in 2 Victims Suffer from the Distribution of Embarrassing Photos and Videos

July 25, 2012—Researchers at Bielefeld University have discovered that young people who fall victim to cyberbullying or cyber harassment suffer most when fellow pupils make them objects of ridicule by distributing photographic material. According to an online survey published this month, about half of the victims feel very stressed or severely stressed by this type of behaviour.
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Cyberbullying and Bullying Are Not the Same, Says Research

April 13, 2012—University of British Columbia research comparing traditional bullying with cyberbullying finds that the dynamics of online bullying are different, suggesting that anti-bullying programs need specific interventions to target online aggression.
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Sleep Changes Predict the Onset of Physical Changes Associated with Puberty

December 1, 2009—A study in the Dec.1 issue of the journal Sleep suggests that changes in children's sleep patterns that typically occur between the ages of 11 and 12 years are evident before the physical changes associated with the onset of puberty.
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Who Am I? The Question of Teen Violence

“In violence we forget who we are,” wrote American novelist and literary critic Mary McCarthy in 1961. Her indictment was aimed at writers who had come to depend heavily on “sensation” and had “lost interest in the social,” but it has become all the more relevant in a world where a focus on the sensational has escaped from fiction to permeate real life.

Sadly, concern about losing oneself in violence has become as relevant to children as it has always been to adults. Almost half a century after McCarthy wrote, there is reason to believe that far too many young people—despite any number of profile pages they may have on such social networking sites as Facebook, MySpace, Twitter or Bebo—may not be entirely sure of their identity. How can parents and other key adults instill a positive identity in children to protect them the risk of violent behavior?
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Teen Pregnancy: The Tangled Web

It was the summer of 2008. As school doors across America closed behind hordes of scattering students, the principal of a high school in Gloucester, Massachusetts, made a comment that would launch his community into the media spotlight overnight. The remark (that his school’s recently discovered pregnancy boom was due to a “pact” between seven or eight girls who wanted to have babies and raise them together) was made to a reporter from Time magazine. At the moment he spoke, the principal couldn’t have known how explosive the story would prove to be.

The topic continued to resurface over the next several months as subsequent events reminded the media that teenage pregnancy is not confined to one New England town, or even to three English-speaking countries—America, New Zealand and Britain—widely considered as having the highest teen pregnancy rates among developed nations. But why does any of this matter? What are the issues involved in the tangled tale of teenage pregnancy? (Full story . . . )

Stork Realities

As parents and teachers know (but many teens don’t), parenthood is not all fun and games and cuddly babies who chortle happily in their prams.

A study published in the March 2004 issue of Pediatrics suggests that this is one reality parents need to explain to teens. In considering “a racially diverse group of 340 inadequately contracepting” teens who had never yet been pregnant, the researchers hoped to test the hypothesis that teen girls who take home pregnancy tests are less likely to use contraceptives and, if this is true, to find out why. (Full story . . . )


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