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Use of alcohol, cigarettes, and a number of illicit drugs declines among U.S. teens

December 18, 2014 Comments off

Use of alcohol, cigarettes, and a number of illicit drugs declines among U.S. teens (PDF)
Source: University of Michigan Monitoring the Future Survey

A national survey of students in U.S. middle schools and high schools shows some important improvements in levels of substance use.

Both alcohol and cigarette use in 2014 are at their lowest points since the study began in 1975. Use of a number of illicit drugs also show declines this year.

These findings come from the University of Michigan’s Monitoring the Future study, which tracks trends in substance use among students in 8th, 10th and 12th grades. Each year the national study, now in its 40th year, surveys 40,000 to 50,000 students in about 400 secondary schools throughout the United States.

See also: E-cigarettes surpass tobacco cigarettes among teens (PDF)

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State Laws Prohibiting Sales to Minors and Indoor Use of Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems — United States, November 2014

December 16, 2014 Comments off

State Laws Prohibiting Sales to Minors and Indoor Use of Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems — United States, November 2014
Source: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (CDC)

Electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS), including electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) and other devices such as electronic hookahs, electronic cigars, and vape pens, are battery-powered devices capable of delivering aerosolized nicotine and additives to the user. Experimentation with and current use of e-cigarettes has risen sharply among youths and adults in the United States (1,2). Youth access to and use of ENDS is of particular concern given the potential adverse effects of nicotine on adolescent brain development (3). Additionally, ENDS use in public indoor areas might passively expose bystanders (e.g., children, pregnant women, and other nontobacco users) to nicotine and other potentially harmful constituents (4,5). ENDS use could have the potential to renormalize tobacco use and complicate enforcement of smoke-free policies (1). State governments can regulate the sales of ENDS and their use in indoor areas where nonusers might be involuntarily exposed to secondhand aerosol (4,5). To learn the current status of state laws regulating the sales and use of ENDS, CDC assessed state laws that prohibit ENDS sales to minors and laws that include ENDS use in conventional smoking prohibitions in indoor areas of private worksites, restaurants, and bars. Findings indicate that as of November 30, 2014, 40 states prohibited ENDS sales to minors, but only three states prohibited ENDS use in private worksites, restaurants, and bars. Of the 40 states that prohibited ENDS sales to minors, 21 did not prohibit ENDS use or conventional smoking in private worksites, restaurants, and bars. Three states had no statewide laws prohibiting ENDS sales to minors and no statewide laws prohibiting ENDS use or conventional smoking in private worksites, restaurants, and bars. According to the Surgeon General, ENDS have the potential for public health harm or public health benefit (1). The possibility of public health benefit from ENDS could arise only if 1) current smokers use these devices to switch completely from combustible tobacco products and 2) the availability and use of combustible tobacco products are rapidly reduced (1). Therefore, when addressing potential public health harms associated with ENDS, it is important to simultaneously uphold and accelerate strategies found by the Surgeon General to prevent and reduce combustible tobacco use, including tobacco price increases, comprehensive smoke-free laws, high-impact media campaigns, barrier-free cessation treatment and services, and comprehensive statewide tobacco control programs.

Ninth-Graders’ Mathematics Coursetaking, Motivations, and Educational Plans

December 5, 2014 Comments off

Ninth-Graders’ Mathematics Coursetaking, Motivations, and Educational Plans
Source: National Center for Education Statistics

This Statistics in Brief uses data from NCES’ High School Longitudinal Study (HSLS:2009) to examine what motivates high school students to take mathematics, and how those motivations vary depending on students’ plans for the year after high school. For students who have the same after-high-school plans, the report also examines how students from different socio-economic backgrounds compare in terms of their mathematics coursetaking and their motivations for coursetaking.

Youth Internet Safety: Risks, Responses, and Research Recommendations

November 24, 2014 Comments off

Youth Internet Safety: Risks, Responses, and Research Recommendations
Source: Brookings Institution

Despite the significant amount of research on these risks, improving child/youth Internet safety remains a challenge. In part, this is because definitions of terms and categories relevant to online safety (such as “cyberbullying”) often vary, making the comparison of statistics and findings among sources imprecise. In addition, there are complex overlaps among different online safety subtopics.

Overall, these factors can make identifying the specific gaps in existing research and knowledge difficult. If these gaps can be better identified and filled, a data-based understanding of issues facing youth could play a key role in driving policy decisions regarding online safety.

In this paper, Adina Farrukh, Rebecca Sadwick and John Villasenor provide:

  1. an overview of existing online safety research across a wide range of categories
  2. an analysis of major findings
  3. an identification of knowledge gaps, and
  4. a set of recommendations for specific areas of research that can further the policy dialog regarding online safety

CRS — Child Welfare: Profiles of Current and Former Older Foster Youth Based on the National Youth in Transition Database (NYTD) (October 6, 2014)

November 12, 2014 Comments off

Child Welfare: Profiles of Current and Former Older Foster Youth Based on the National Youth in Transition Database (NYTD) (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

Congress has long been concerned with the well-being of older youth in foster care and those who have recently emancipated from care without going to a permanent home. Research on this population is fairly limited, and the few studies that are available have focused on youth in a small number of states. This research has generally found that youth who spend time in foster care during their teenage years tend to have difficulty as they enter adulthood and beyond.

The Chafee Foster Care Independence Act (P.L. 106-169), enacted in 1999, specified that state child welfare agencies provide additional supports to youth transitioning from foster care under the newly created Chafee Foster Care Independence Program (CFCIP). The law also directed the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which administers child welfare programs, to consult with stakeholders to develop a national data system on the number, characteristics, and outcomes of current and former foster youth. In response to these requirements, HHS created the National Youth in Transition Database (NYTD) under a final rule promulgated in 2008. The rule requires that each state child welfare agency commence collecting and reporting the data beginning in FY2011 (October 1, 2010).

This report provides summary and detailed data about current and former foster youth, as reported by states to HHS via the NYTD.

Use of Selected Nonmedication Mental Health Services by Adolescent Boys and Girls With Serious Emotional or Behavioral Difficulties: United States, 2010–2012

November 10, 2014 Comments off

Use of Selected Nonmedication Mental Health Services by Adolescent Boys and Girls With Serious Emotional or Behavioral Difficulties: United States, 2010–2012
Source: National Center for Health Statistics

Key findings
Data from the National Health Interview Survey, 2010–2012

  • About 4% of adolescents aged 12–17 had a serious emotional or behavioral difficulty and received nonmedication mental health services in the past 6 months.
  • Nearly 71% of adolescents with serious emotional or behavioral difficulties received nonmedication mental health services in the past 6 months.
  • Among adolescents with serious emotional or behavioral difficulties, boys were more likely than girls to receive nonmedication mental health services.
  • Boys with serious emotional or behavioral difficulties were more likely than girls to receive services in school settings.
  • The percentage of boys and girls with serious emotional or behavioral difficulties receiving nonschool services was similar for all settings except for the emergency department.

Delayed school progression and mental health problems in adolescence: a population-based study in 10,803 adolescents

November 7, 2014 Comments off

Delayed school progression and mental health problems in adolescence: a population-based study in 10,803 adolescents
Source: BMC Psychiatry

Background
Accumulating evidence suggests that several adult mental disorders, particularly psychoses, are preceded by impairments in cognitive function, reflected in scholastic underachievement. This study investigates the association between scholastic underachievement and general mental health problems in adolescence, using delay in school progression as a marker of poor scholastic performance.

Method
Cross-sectional secondary school survey comprising 10,803 adolescents. Participants completed the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) to assess mental health problems. The association of delayed school progression with the SDQ was investigated using logistic regression with SDQ as outcome and delayed school progression as primary exposure of interest while adjusting for socio-demographic characteristics, adverse life events, school-related factors, risk taking behaviour, healthy lifestyle and physical health.

Results
Unadjusted analysis showed an association between delayed school progression and total mental health problems (OR 1.83, 95% CI 1.27 ? 2.63) in adolescents. After adjusting for other risk factors (socio-demographic factors and life events) in a logistic regression model the association between delayed school progression en mental health problems was attenuated (OR 1.33, 95% CI 0.86 ? 2.05).

Conclusion
Delayed school progression is associated with general mental health problems in adolescence, but this relationship is heavily confounded by other factors. A causal relationship between impaired cognitive function such as poor scholastic performance and general mental health at adolescence is less likely and delayed school progression may merely be considered an indicator of risk for mental health problems.

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