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Teen Dating Violence: How Peers Can Affect Risk & Protective Factors

January 13, 2015 Comments off

Teen Dating Violence: How Peers Can Affect Risk & Protective Factors (PDF)
Source: National Institute of Justice

Compared to childhood, adolescence is a period marked by significant changes in the nature and importance of interpersonal relationships. Relationships with friends become more autonomous and central to personal well-being and, for the first time, many youth become involved in romantic relationships. Although the initiation of romantic relationships is a positive and healthy experience for many youth, it is a source of violence and abuse for others. Approximately 9 percent of high school students report being hit, slapped or physically hurt on purpose by their boyfriend or girlfriend in the past year. Teen dating violence rates appear to be even higher among certain populations, such as youth who have a history of exposure to violence.

Recognizing the large number of youth who experience dating violence, policymakers at the federal and state levels have worked to raise awareness of dating violence, prevent violence from occurring, and offer more protection and services to victims. In response to this increased focus on teen dating violence, research has begun to flourish. Since 2008, the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) has provided close to $15 million in funding for basic, applied and policy-level research on dating violence. These projects have led to increased knowledge about risk and protective factors and psychosocial health behaviors associated with teen dating violence, and to the development and evaluation of dating violence prevention programs targeting diverse samples of youth. Research has also examined adolescents’ knowledge of and barriers to using protection orders against violent partners.

This Research in Brief looks at the research from the perspective of one key emerging theme: Peers and the contexts in which peers interact can contribute to their risk for and protection against dating violence. Although we focus primarily on findings from NIJ-funded research, we also draw upon the broader literature on adolescent development and romantic relationships to show ways that teens shape each other’s experiences across the spectrum of entering into and leaving violent romantic relationships.

National Survey of Kids and Parents Provides Insight Into What Makes Children Frequent Readers

January 12, 2015 Comments off

National Survey of Kids and Parents Provides Insight Into What Makes Children Frequent Readers
Source: Scholastic

Scholastic (NASDAQ: SCHL) the global children’s publishing, education and media company,?today released results from the fifth edition of the Kids & Family Reading Report™, a biannual national survey of children ages 6–17 and their parents exploring their attitudes and behaviors around reading books for fun. Key findings reveal predictors of reading frequency, the importance of reading aloud to children at various ages, how frequently children have opportunities to read for pleasure at school and much more. For the first time, this year’s survey also includes data from parents of children ages 0–5 to shed a light on the role parents play in children’s literacy development before they enter school.

Frequent readers—defined as children who read books for fun 5–7 days a week—differ substantially in a number of ways from infrequent readers—those who read books for fun less than one day a week. For instance, among children ages 6–11, frequent readers read an average of 43.4 books per year, whereas infrequent readers read only 21.1. There is an even more profound difference among frequent readers ages 12–17, who read 39.6 books annually, and infrequent readers, who read only 4.7 books. The Kids & Family Reading Report asks what makes children frequent readers, creating two models for predicting children’s reading frequency—one each among kids ages 6–11 and 12–17—constructed through a regression analysis of more than 130 data measures from the survey.

Major Depression in the National Comorbidity Survey–Adolescent Supplement: Prevalence, Correlates, and Treatment

January 8, 2015 Comments off

Major Depression in the National Comorbidity Survey–Adolescent Supplement: Prevalence, Correlates, and Treatment (PDF)
Source: Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry

Objective
To present the 12-month prevalence of DSM-IV major depressive disorder (MDD) and severe MDD; to examine sociodemographic correlates and comorbidity; and to describe impairment and service use.

Method
Data are from the National Comorbidity Survey–Adolescent Supplement (NCS-A), a nationally representative survey of 10,123 adolescents aged 13 to 18 years that assesses DSM-IV disorders using the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI) Version 3.0. One parent or surrogate of each participating adolescent was also asked to complete a self-administered questionnaire.

Results
Lifetime and 12-month prevalence of MDD were 11.0% and 7.5%, respectively. The corresponding rates of severe MDD were 3.0% and 2.3%. The prevalence of MDD increased significantly across adolescence, with markedly greater increases among females than among males. Most cases of MDD were associated with psychiatric comorbidity and severe role impairment, and a substantial minority reported suicidality. The prevalence of severe MDD was about one-fourth of that of all MDD cases; estimates of impairment and clinical correlates were of 2- to 5-fold greater magnitude for severe versus mild/moderate depression, with markedly higher rates for suicidal thoughts and behaviors. Treatment in any form was received by the majority of adolescents with 12-month DSM-IV MDD (60.4%), but only a minority received treatment that was disorder-specific or from the mental health sector.

Conclusion
Findings underscore the important public health significance of depression among US adolescents and the urgent need to improve screening and treatment access in this population.

Medical Marijuana Laws and Teen Marijuana Use

January 7, 2015 Comments off

Medical Marijuana Laws and Teen Marijuana Use
Source: Cato Institute

Medical marijuana is popular with the general public. A recent Gallup poll found that 70 percent of Americans say they favor making marijuana legally available for doctors to prescribe in order to reduce pain and suffering (Mendes 2010).

Given this level of support, it could be viewed as surprising that approximately half of the states still have not legalized medical marijuana. Opponents of medical marijuana, however, have employed a number of arguments, several of which focus on marijuana use by teenagers. For instance, Montana state senator Jeff Essmann was quoted in 2011 as saying, “The number one goal is to reduce access and availability to the young people of this state that are being sent an incorrect message that this is an acceptable product for them to be using” (Florio 2011).

UK — Social attitudes of young people

January 6, 2015 Comments off

Social attitudes of young people
Source: Cabinet Office

The report explores how sustained changes in the attitudes of people in different generations lead to long-term, changes in societal attitudes. It uses surveys to see whether there are differences in the attitudes of today’s young people and the attitudes of older generations when they were young. It looks at:

  • values and personal autonomy
  • attitudes to society and government
  • aspirations
  • wellbeing

It also explores the how young peoples’ circumstances may change over the next 10 years. Also using current attitudinal trends, the report analyses how young people’s attitudes, behaviours and experiences may evolve over time.

Early-Life Exposure to Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons and ADHD Behavior Problems

December 29, 2014 Comments off

Early-Life Exposure to Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons and ADHD Behavior Problems
Source: PLoS ONE

Importance
Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons are widespread urban air pollutants from combustion of fossil fuel and other organic material shown previously to be neurotoxic.

Objective
In a prospective cohort study, we evaluated the relationship between Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder behavior problems and prenatal polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon exposure, adjusting for postnatal exposure.

Materials and Methods
Children of nonsmoking African-American and Dominican women in New York City were followed from in utero to 9 years. Prenatal polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon exposure was estimated by levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon- DNA adducts in maternal and cord blood collected at delivery. Postnatal exposure was estimated by the concentration of urinary polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon metabolites at ages 3 or 5. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder behavior problems were assessed using the Child Behavior Checklist and the Conners Parent Rating Scale- Revised.

Results
High prenatal adduct exposure, measured by elevated maternal adducts was significantly associated with all Conners Parent Rating Scale-Revised subscales when the raw scores were analyzed continuously (N = 233). After dichotomizing at the threshold for moderately to markedly atypical symptoms, high maternal adducts were significantly associated with the Conners Parent Rating Scale-Revised DSM-IV Inattentive (OR = 5.06, 95% CI [1.43, 17.93]) and DSM-IV Total (OR = 3.37, 95% CI [1.10, 10.34]) subscales. High maternal adducts were positivity associated with the DSM-oriented Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Problems scale on the Child Behavior Checklist, albeit not significant. In the smaller sample with cord adducts, the associations between outcomes and high cord adduct exposure were not statistically significant (N = 162).

Conclusion
The results suggest that exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons encountered in New York City air may play a role in childhood Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder behavior problems.

See: A Link Between Air Pollution and Adolescent ADHD (The Atlantic)

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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