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Fiction or Not? Fifty Shades is Associated with Health Risks in Adolescent and Young Adult Females

September 12, 2014 Comments off

Fiction or Not? Fifty Shades is Associated with Health Risks in Adolescent and Young Adult Females
Source: Journal of Women’s Health

Background:
No prior study has empirically characterized the association between health risks and reading popular fiction depicting violence against women. Fifty Shades—a blockbuster fiction series—depicts pervasive violence against women, perpetuating a broader social narrative that normalizes these types of risks and behaviors in women’s lives. The present study characterized the association between health risks in women who read and did not read Fifty Shades; while our cross-sectional study design precluded causal determinations, an empirical representation of the health risks in women consuming the problematic messages in Fifty Shades is made.

Methods:
Females ages 18 to 24 (n=715), who were enrolled in a large Midwestern university, completed a cross-sectional online survey about their health behaviors and Fifty Shades’ readership. The analysis included 655 females (219 who read at least the first Fifty Shades novel and 436 who did not read any part of Fifty Shades). Age- and race-adjusted multivariable models characterized Fifty Shades’ readers and nonreaders on intimate partner violence victimization (experiencing physical, sexual and psychological abuse, including cyber-abuse, at some point during their lifetime); binge drinking (consuming five or more alcoholic beverages on six or more days in the last month); sexual practices (having five or more intercourse partners and/or one or more anal sex partner during their lifetime); and using diet aids or fasting for 24 or more hours at some point during their lifetime.

Results:
One-third of subjects read Fifty Shades (18.6%, or 122/655, read all three novels, and 14.8%, or 97/655, read at least the first novel but not all three). In age- and race-adjusted models, compared with nonreaders, females who read at least the first novel (but not all three) were more likely than nonreaders to have had, during their lifetime, a partner who shouted, yelled, or swore at them (relative risk [RR]=1.25) and who delivered unwanted calls/text messages (RR=1.34); they were also more likely to report fasting (RR=1.80) and using diet aids (RR=1.77) at some point during their lifetime. Compared with nonreaders, females who read all three novels were more likely to report binge drinking in the last month (RR=1.65) and to report using diet aids (RR=1.65) and having five or more intercourse partners during their lifetime (RR=1.63).

Conclusions:
Problematic depictions of violence against women in popular culture—such as in film, novels, music, or pornography—create a broader social narrative that normalizes these risks and behaviors in women’s lives. Our study showed strong correlations between health risks in women’s lives—including violence victimization—and consumption of Fifty Shades, a fiction series that portrays violence against women. While our cross-sectional study cannot determine temporality, the order of the relationship may be inconsequential; for example, if women experienced adverse health behaviors first (e.g., disordered eating), reading Fifty Shades might reaffirm those experiences and potentially aggravate related trauma. Likewise, if women read Fifty Shades before experiencing the health behaviors assessed in our study, it is possible that the book influenced the onset of these behaviors by creating an underlying context for the behaviors.

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Homeless LGBTQ Youth

September 12, 2014 Comments off

Homeless LGBTQ Youth
Source: Urban Institute

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, or Questioning (LGBTQ) youth are over-represented among the homeless youth population. Researchers and practitioners are working to improve data on homeless youth, especially LGBTQ youth, across the country. This brief summarizes the findings on LGBTQ homeless youth counted during the 2013 YouthCount!, a federal interagency initiative that aims to improve counts of unaccompanied homeless youth. The brief also shares best practices on how to improve counts of LGBTQ homeless youth, and areas where policymakers can act to improve LGBTQ youth outcomes.

Younger Americans and Public Libraries

September 10, 2014 Comments off

Younger Americans and Public Libraries
Source: Pew Research Internet Project

Younger Americans—those ages 16-29—especially fascinate researchers and organizations because of their advanced technology habits, their racial and ethnic diversity, their looser relationships to institutions such as political parties and organized religion, and the ways in which their social attitudes differ from their elders.

This report pulls together several years of research into the role of libraries in the lives of Americans and their communities with a special focus on Millennials, a key stakeholder group affecting the future of communities, libraries, book publishers and media makers of all kinds, as well as the tone of the broader culture.

Following are some of the noteworthy insights from this research.

There are actually three different “generations” of younger Americans with distinct book reading habits, library usage patterns, and attitudes about libraries. One “generation” is comprised of high schoolers (ages 16-17); another is college-aged (18-24), though many do not attend college; and a third generation is 25-29.

Millennials’ lives are full of technology, but they are more likely than their elders to say that important information is not available on the internet. Some 98% of those under 30 use the internet, and 90% of those internet users say they use social networking sites. Over three-quarters (77%) of younger Americans have a smartphone, and many also have a tablet (38%) or e-reader (24%). Despite their embrace of technology, 62% of Americans under age 30 agree there is “a lot of useful, important information that is not available on the internet,” compared with 53% of older Americans who believe that. At the same time, 79% of Millennials believe that people without internet access are at a real disadvantage.

Millennials are quite similar to their elders when it comes to the amount of book reading they do, but young adults are more likely to have read a book in the past 12 months. Some 43% report reading a book—in any format—on a daily basis, a rate similar to older adults. Overall, 88% of Americans under 30 read a book in the past year, compared with 79% of those age 30 and older. Young adults have caught up to those in their thirties and forties in e-reading, with 37% of adults ages 18-29 reporting that they have read an e-book in the past year.

The community and general media-use activities of younger adults are different from older adults. Those under age 30 are more likely to attend sporting events or concerts than older adults. They are also more likely to listen to music, the radio, or a podcast in some format on a daily or near-daily basis, and socialize with friends or family daily. Older adults, in turn, are more likely to visit museums or galleries, watch television or movies, or read the news on a daily basis.

As a group, Millennials are as likely as older adults to have used a library in the past 12 months, and more likely to have used a library website. Among those ages 16-29, 50% reported having used a library or bookmobile in the course of the past year in a September 2013 survey. Some 47% of those 30 and older had done so. Some 36% of younger Americans used a library website in that time frame, compared with 28% of those 30 and older. Despite their relatively high use of libraries, younger Americans are among the least likely to say that libraries are important. Some 19% of those under 30 say their library’s closing would have a major impact on them and their family, compared with 32% of older adults, and 51% of younger Americans say it would have a major impact on their community, compared with 67% of those 30 and older.

As with the general population, most younger Americans know where their local library is, but many say they are unfamiliar with all the services it may offer: 36% of Millennials say they know little or nothing about the local library’s services, compared with 29% of those 30 and older. At the same time, most younger Americans feel they can easily navigate their local library, and the vast majority would describe libraries as warm, welcoming places, though younger patrons are less likely to rate libraries’ physical conditions highly.

Mapping youth transitions in Europe

September 10, 2014 Comments off

Mapping youth transitions in Europe
Source: Eurofound

Young people in Europe continue to experience great difficulties in entering the labour market. Although the youth unemployment rate in a few Member States has started to fall, overall 23% of young European job-seekers aged 15–24 could not find a job in January 2014. In 2012, 14.6 million young people across Europe were not in employment, education or training (NEETs), accounting for 15.9% of the entire population of those aged 15–29. This report analyses the labour market situation of young people in Europe, focusing in particular on their school-to-work transition, while also monitoring their more general transition to adulthood. The report also investigates the ability of young people to remain in employment against the odds during the crisis and charts their transitions from temporary to permanent contracts. The report concludes with a discussion on the strengths and weaknesses of selected policy measures. An executive summary is also available.

Weight Misperception and Unhealthy Weight Control Behaviors Among Sexual Minorities in the General Adolescent Population

September 5, 2014 Comments off

Weight Misperception and Unhealthy Weight Control Behaviors Among Sexual Minorities in the General Adolescent Population
Source: Journal of Adolescent Health

Purpose
Gay, lesbian, and bisexual youth may experience significant body dissatisfaction. We examined sexual orientation differences in self-perceived weight status and the prevalence of potentially dangerous weight control behaviors in a representative sample of adolescents.

Methods
Data were obtained from 12,984 youth between 2003 and 2009 over four cycles of the Massachusetts Youth Risk Behavior Survey, a statewide survey of ninth- through 12th-grade students. Self-perceived weight status and past-month unhealthy weight control behaviors (fasting >24 hours, using diet pills, and vomiting or using laxatives) were compared among gay/lesbian, bisexual, or self-identified heterosexual youth with same-sex partners, unsure youth, and exclusively heterosexual youth using logistic regression, adjusting for age and race/ethnicity.

Results
Compared with exclusively heterosexual males, heterosexual males with prior same-sex partners and bisexual males were more likely to self-perceive as overweight despite being of healthy weight or underweight (respectively, adjusted odds ratio [AOR], 2.61; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.68–4.05; and AOR, 2.56; 95% CI, 1.64–4.00). Compared with exclusively heterosexual females, lesbians and bisexual females were more likely to self-perceive as being of healthy weight or underweight despite being overweight or obese (respectively, AOR, 3.17; 95% CI, 1.15–8.71; and AOR, 2.00; 95% CI, 1.20–3.33). Unhealthy weight control behaviors were significantly more prevalent among sexual minority males (32.5%; AOR, 4.38; 95% CI, 3.38–5.67) and females (34.7%; AOR, 2.27; 95% CI, 1.85–2.78) when considered together relative to exclusively heterosexual males (9.7%) and females (18.8%).

Conclusions
One third of sexual minority youth engage in hazardous weight control behaviors. Future research should investigate underlying mechanisms and determine whether clinicians should routinely screen for these behaviors.

Spreading information on the risks of drug use: a European challenge

August 29, 2014 Comments off

Spreading information on the risks of drug use: a European challenge
Source: Eurobarometer

Young Europeans are less informed about the effects and risks of drugs than just a few years ago. While they widely use the Internet to gather knowledge, a new Eurobarometer survey shows that compared to 2011, respondents are less likely to have received such information from most sources, in particular from media campaigns and school prevention programmes.

More than one quarter of young people (29%) say they have not been informed at all in the past year about the effects and risks of so-called legal highs – currently legal substances that imitate the effects of illegal drugs. This comes at a time when the number of young people saying they have used ‘legal highs’ has risen to 8%, from 5% in 2011.

More than 13,000 citizens aged 15-24 were interviewed for the Eurobarometer “Young People and Drugs” across the EU. Drug use and drug-related problems continue to be a major concern for EU citizens. They are also a significant public health and public safety issue. According to studies by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), drug experimentation often starts in the school years, and it is estimated that one in four 15-16 year-olds have used an illicit drug. In recent years, the use of ‘legal-highs’ has become increasingly popular, and the European Commission is working to strengthen the EU’s ability to protect young people by reducing the availability of harmful substances, as part of an overall drug policy regulatory framework

Recent Declines in Nonmarital Childbearing in the United States

August 28, 2014 Comments off

Recent Declines in Nonmarital Childbearing in the United States
Source: National Center for Health Statistics

Key findings
Data from the National Vital Statistics System and the National Survey of Family Growth

  • Nonmarital births and birth rates have declined 7% and 14%, respectively, since peaking in the late 2000s.
  • Births to unmarried women totaled 1,605,643 in 2013. About 4 in 10 U.S. births were to unmarried women in each year from 2007 through 2013.
  • Nonmarital birth rates fell in all age groups under 35 since 2007; rates increased for women aged 35 and over.
  • Birth rates were down more for unmarried black and Hispanic women than for unmarried non-Hispanic white women.
  • Nonmarital births are increasingly likely to occur within cohabiting unions—rising from 41% of recent births in 2002 to 58% in 2006–2010.

See also: National and State Patterns of Teen Births in the United States, 1940–2013 (_DF)

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