Recent Studies Find Factors that Improve Outcomes for Teens Struggling with Substance Abuse
12/9/2011 9:57:43 AM
Tags: Adolescence, Health, Mental Health, Religion
Some Youth Incompetent to Stand Trial Due to Cognitive Impairments and Immaturity
10/13/2011 8:20:38 AM
A study published in September's issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law found that many youth in the juvenile justice system are determined as incompetent to stand trial due to cognitive impairments and an inability to understand the long-term consequences of their actions.The authors attribute the high rate of incompetency to stand trial in adolescents, especially those under fourteen, to a "myopic temporal perspective" which leads them to misunderstand or underestimate the consequences of their actions.
The researchers used the MacArthur Competence Assessment Tool-Criminal Adjudication (MacCAT-CA), the Judgement in Legal Contexts (JILC) instrument, the Welchsler Abbreviated Scale of Intelligence (WASI) and the Massachusetts Youth Screening Instrument-Second Version (MAYSI-2) to evaluate competence, future orientation, intellectual ability and psychopathy in 453 detained youth and 474 youth in the community who were not involved in the juvenile justice system. They found that competency was strongly associated with both intelligence and age. Additionally, youth with psychiatric symptoms were less competent than youth without psychiatric symptoms.
The authors note the importance of these findings in the juvenile justice system, as not all states require a consideration of maturity in evaluating juvenile defendant's competence. Aaron Kivisto, the lead author of the article, states, "When we're teenagers, we're focused on short-term consequences. Teens think about what might happen later today if they do something. Because courts can impose consequences that can affect someone's life for years, it appears that adolescents approach these longer-term and very serious implications blindly."Gabriella Celeste
, Child Policy Director, spoke with Faculty Associate Patrick Kanary
and Marcia Egbert of the George Gund Foundation on October 11, 2011 about recent reforms to juvenile justice programs in Ohio. These reforms will result in more youth remaining in their communities in evidence-based programs who would have previously been incarcerated. Download the powerpoint of their talk.
A number of Schubert Center Faculty Associates study child development, including:
Tags: Adolescence, Children, Development, Juvenile Justice, Violence
Article Brings Insight to How Adolescent Brains Work
10/6/2011 8:18:50 AM
This month’s National Geographic Magazine highlights new scientific understanding of adolescent brain development and the neurological changes that occur with adolescence. Although the brain doesn’t grow much between the ages of 12 and 25, massive changes lead to a faster and more sophisticated brain by adulthood.
During adolescence, axons, the nerve fibers used to send signals between neurons, become insulated with a fatty substance, myelin, in order to boost the axon’s transmission speed. Heavily used synapses grow much stronger. At the same time the brain goes through a process known as synaptic pruning, whereby infrequently used synapses wither allowing the brain to become more efficient.
Studies of impulse control show that although teens at age 15 can perform as well as adults if motivated, they were less able than adults to use regions of the brain that help them resist impulses. Among those performing the test at age 20, these regions of the brain were as easily accessed as adults. However, adults shouldn’t look at adolescents as neurologically inferior.
The article also states that from an evolutionary perspective teen brains are “exquisitely sensitive, highly adaptable creature[s] wired almost perfectly for the job of moving from the safety of home into the complicated world outside.” Thrill-seeking behaviors by adolescents, which peak at age 15, leads teens to have an openness to new and exciting experiences. Changes during adolescence also lead teens to seek out people of their own age, building important relationships for success in adulthood.
On October 6, Dr. Laurence Steinberg of Temple University, whose research on adolescent risk-taking is described in the article, will be speaking at Baldwin Wallace College on adolescent brain development and risk taking. Learn more about his talk.
Schubert Center Faculty Associate Andrew Garner recently spoke at the County Commissioners Association of Ohio about adolescent brain development as part of a panel organized by Voices for Ohio’s Children. He was accompanied by Child Policy Director Gabriella Celeste. View their presentation. Gabriella Celeste will also be speaking at an upcoming Schubert Center event on Tuesday October 11 on her involvement in juvenile justice reform in Ohio. Learn more about this event.
Read the National Geographic article.
Little known fact: Schubert Center graduate assistant Sarah C. Miller is from Austin, Texas, where National Geographic photographer Kitra Cahana followed teens for a year in the photographs accompanying the story
Tags: Adolescence, Children, Development, Juvenile Justice
Three Recent Studies on Eating Disorders Show New Trends and Concerns
6/22/2011 8:46:49 AM
Three recent studies on eating disorders show new trends in prevalence of eating disorders internationally and new comorbidities of eating disorders in the United States.
A study from Taiwan published in the Journal of Clinical Nursing found that 16% of boys and 10% of girls ages 10 to 18 had vomited in order to lose weight. Younger children were more likely to report inducing vomiting to lose weight, as 16% of 10 to 12 years olds vomited to lose weight compared to 15% of 13 to 15 year olds and 8% of 16-18 year olds. Self-induced vomiting was more common in adolescents with a sedentary lifestyle, who slept less and who ate unhealthily. Using a computer screen for more than two hours a day, eating fried food everyday and having nighttime snacks increased the odds of vomiting.
Another recent study from the University of North Texas found that pressure from peers to be thin accounts for a significant amount of lost sleep for white female adolescents. Author Katherine Marczyk said “There is a significant amount of research on other areas regarding pressure on adolescent females to minimize body weight, but this pressure as it relates to sleep health is a less-explored topic and its consequences are mostly unknown.”
The Journal of Women’s Health published a study this month on the relationship between pregnancy related depression and eating disorders. A survey of women receiving treatment in a perinatal psychology clinic found that one third of patients reported a history of eating disorders. Postpartum depression has serious consequences for both mothers and their children. Author Dr. Samantha Meltzer-Brody stated “Children of depressed mothers are more likely to develop mental health problems, and children of mothers with an active eating disorder may also be more likely to develop an eating disorder themselves.” The authors also note that pregnancy is a key time for mental health screenings and for helping women get access to mental health treatment services.
Dr. Lucene Wisniewski of the Cleveland Center for Eating Disorders recently gave a talk on current best practices for girls with eating disorders as a part of the Schubert Center’s Girlhood Series. A policy brief on her talk can be downloaded here. Schubert Center Faculty Associate Dr. Eileen Anderson-Fye joined discussants from the Cleveland Clinic and the University School to talk about her work studying eating disorders in adolescent girls in Belize.
To read the study from Taiwan, click here. A press article on the study is also available here.
To read an article on the study on eating disorders and sleep loss, click here.
To read the article on pregnancy-related depression and eating disorders, click here. A popular article on the study can be found here.
Tags: Adolescence, Children, Healthy Eating, Girls, Mental Health, Parenthood
Nursing School Researcher Studies Mental Illness Stigma Among Adolescents
6/10/2011 1:43:48 PM
“About one in five Americans has a mental illness, with half of these individuals first experiencing symptoms of mental illness in their teen years, “ says Dr. Melissa Pinto-Foltz of the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing. She recently published a study in Social Science and Medicine on educational programs for adolescents aimed to reduce the stigma of mental illness and improve mental health literacy. Click here to read Dr. Pinto-Foltz's study.
The study followed the reactions of 156 girls in 9th and 10th grade, half of whom had seen an educational program called In Our Own Voice and half of whom had not. The program invites people who have experienced mental illness to tell their stories. At four and eight weeks after the program, Dr. Pinto-Foltz conducted follow-up interviews. In these interviews, she found that participants enjoyed the program and that those who had seen the program scored significantly better on a test of mental health literacy at 4 and 8 weeks. However, the intervention was too short to change some girls stigmas about mental illness.
Many Schubert Center Faculty Associates study mental health in children and adolescents.
Click here to read an article summarizing the study.
Click here to learn more about In Our Own Voice, the program studied by Dr. Pinto-Foltz.
Tags: Adolescence, Education, Mental Health
The Creativity Crisis
2/25/2011 11:13:53 AM
Authors Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman discuss the decline in creativity among Americans in their recently published article “The Creativity Crisis” in Newsweek Magazine. Creativity is the production of something original and useful and requires divergent thinking skills (generating many ideas) and convergent thinking skills (combining those ideas for the best result). Kyung Hee Kim of the College of William and Mary analyzed the creativity scores of 300,000 children and adults over time and found that American creativity scores were on the rise until 1990 and then started to fall. The article entertains several hypotheses, from increased tv and video game time, to standardized education to explain for the fall in creativity scores in the 1990’s.
While there is no clear cause for the creativity decline researchers like James C. Kaufman of California State University, San Bernardino are finding that creativity can be taught. The article goes on to talk about progressive schools like the National Inventors Hall of Fame School in Akron, OH that are using project-based learning methods and finding that children are not only enjoying school they are mastering the demands of curriculum requirements while utilizing creative thinking and problem solving skills to learn. If finding children enjoying school wasn’t a hard enough sell for encouraging creative thinking in schools, in the first year of opening the school’s state achievement scores placed them among one of the top 3 schools in Akron, Ohio.
Despite the decline in creativity scores among children over the past 20 years, there is hope that with a better understanding of the creative process, policymakers, educators, and caregivers will be better able to foster a sense of creativity throughout a child’s development.
To read the Creativity Crisis click here
To read more about how to foster creativity click here
Listen to Po Bronson, James Kaufman, and Robert Slavin discuss issues of Creativity on NPR
If you are interested in learning more about this area, the following Schubert Center faculty associates conduct research on similar topics:
Sandra Russ, PhD
- Dr. Russ' research interests include investigating how creativity and pretend play is involved in child development and understanding the role of affect in the creative process.
Elizabeth Short, PhD
- Dr. Short's research interests include cognitive development in preschoolers and school-aged children; cognitive, metacognitive, affective, and motivational factors that impact academic achievement; and individual differences in learning.
Tags: Adolescence, Children, Development, Early Childhood, Education, School
Eating Disorders Rise Among Young Children
11/30/2010 2:08:19 PM
Eating disorders, which include anorexia, bulimia, and other behavior patterns marked by extreme emotions, attitudes, and behaviors surrounding weight and food, continue to be a pervasive problem affecting children and youth. An estimated 0.5 percent of American women suffer from anorexia, and between one to two percent from bulimia, resulting in 0.8 to 14 percent of Americans generally having at least some of the physical and psychological symptoms of an eating disorder. These disorders can have significant and long-term effects on the physical, mental and emotional health of both the affected individual and his or her family and friends. Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness, and anorexia is particularly deadly. The mortality rate associated with anorexia is 12 times higher than the death rate for all causes of death for females 15 – 24 years old.
A recent report published in the journal Pediatrics suggests that not only are eating disorder rates continuing to rise, these disorders are spreading into new populations. Of particular concern is the significant increase in eating disorders for children under the age of 12; hospitalizations for eating disorders for this age group have jumped by 119 percent in recent years. Also of concern are the increasing rates of eating disorder among boys, minority populations and individuals from a lower socioeconomic background, all groups that have previously had low rates of eating disorders. These data suggest the need for more intensive research into both the etiology and treatment of eating disorders.
Also of note, the report suggests an increase in eating disorders both among immigrant populations in the United States and in other non-Western countries. Dr. Eileen Anderson-Fye, Assistant Professor of Anthropology at CWRU and a Schubert Center Faculty Associate, conducts research examining the phenomenon of eating disorders in other cultural contexts. Her work focuses on the role of culture in mediating notions of body image and norms around food and eating, specifically in Belize. Dr. Anderson-Fye’s work also addresses how body image and eating may change in the context of globalization, a process which is itself associated with increased rates of eating disorders. Click here to learn more about Dr. Anderson-Fye’s work.
To learn more about recent trends in eating disorder rates, access the original article in Pediatrics by clicking here.
To read a summary of the journal article, click here.
Tags: Adolescence, Children, Healthy Eating, Mental Health
"Hyper-texting" and Teen Health
11/11/2010 9:17:15 AM
Recent research has found a new link between technology use and teen health. Dr. Scott Frank, Schubert Center Faculty Associate and director of the Case Western Reserve School of Medicine Master of Public Health Program, is the lead researcher on the project, which surveyed high school students on their cell phone and computer use habits and their health risk behaviors, including smoking, drinking and sexual activity. Dr. Frank and colleagues found that that “hyper-texting,” defined as texting more than 120 messages per school day, was associated with a number of health risk behaviors. Specifically, “hyper-texting” teens are:
An even stronger link to these risk behaviors were seen in teens who practiced “hyper-networking,” defined as spending more than three hours per school day on social networking websites. Hyper-networking was also found to be associated with poorer health outcomes for teens, including a higher odds ratios for stress, depression, suicide, and poor sleep.
- 41 percent more likely to have used illicit drugs,
- 2 times more likely to have tried alcohol,
- 43 percent more likely to be binge drinkers,
- 40 percent more likely to have tried cigarettes,
- 55 percent more likely to have been in a physical fight,
- nearly 3.5 times more likely to have had sex,
- 90 percent more likely to report four or more sexual partners.
Overall, 19.8 percent of teens in the sample were identified as "hyper-texters," and 11.5 percent were "hyper-networkers." Teens identified as hyper-texters and hyper-networkers were more likely to be female, minority, from lower socioeconomic status, and to have no father in the home. While Dr. Frank and colleagues emphasize that their results cannot be used to prove that excessive cell phone and computer causes these risky behaviors, the strength of the associations found suggest that hyper-texting and hyper-networking could be useful indicators of a teen’s risk for negative health outcomes.
Tags: Adolescence, Health
Family-Based Treatment for Anorexia
10/13/2010 7:41:28 AM
New research published in the Archives of General Psychiatry this month suggests that family-based treatment may be an effective long-term strategy for treating anorexia-nervosa in adolescents. As featured in the New York Times (Oct. 5th, 2010), these results are based on a longitudinal, randomized control trial involving 120 adolescents.
The adolescents involved received either traditional individual-based therapy for anorexia or family-based treatment. Family-based treatment is designed to give parents the tools to first help their child gain weight and then to address other mental health issues that may be associated with anorexia. This is different than traditional therapy both in the emphasis on the role of the family and in addressing weight gain as the first step in treatment.
In the study, both individual and family-based treatment strategies were effective in treating patients with anorexia in the short-term. However, adolescents receiving family-based therapy were far less likely to relapse. After one year of treatment, only 10 percent of patients receiving family-based treatment had experienced a relapse of anorexia, compared to 40 percent of those receiving traditional individual treatment. These results suggest that family-based treatment may be a more effective strategy for treating adolescents suffering from anorexia.
To read the New York Times article, click here.
To access the original article published in the Archives of General Psychiatry, .
Dr. Eileen Anderson-Fye, Assistant Professor of Anthropology at CWRU and a Schubert Center Faculty Associate, also conducts research on adolescent mental health, and has specifically examined the phenomenon of eating disorders in other cultural context. Click here to learn more about Dr. Anderson-Fye’s work.
Dr. Arin Connell, Assistant Professor of Psychology at CWRU and a Schubert Center Faculty Associate, also conducts research on adolescent mental health, and has specifically examined the role of family in treatment of adolescent mental health disorders. Click here to learn more about Dr. Connell’s work
Tags: Adolescence, Family, Girls, Health, Mental Health
Effects of Health Care Reform on Children and Adolescents
9/23/2010 7:49:15 AM
The New York Times article “For Many, Health Care Relief Begins Today,” marks the first round of amendments to the health care system, enacted September 23rd, 2010, as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). A number of the PPACA provisions that go into effect on this date have important implications for health care access for children and adolescents.
First, a new provision in the PPACA requires group health plans and health insurers issuing group or individual policies to extend coverage until dependents reach age 26. This provision will allow children to stay on their parents’ insurance plan for a longer period of time. This change could have a significant impact on the large numbers of adolescents and young adults who are currently uninsured.
Second, the patients' “Bill of Rights” takes effect. These provisions eliminate most annual and lifetime limits on insurance coverage, prohibit private insurers from refusing any individual (including children) coverage based on a pre-existing condition, and prevent health plans from dropping coverage when a child or adult becomes ill. These provisions will relieve the burden of health care costs on the chronically ill of any age, including parents of chronically ill children, many of whom are currently forced to purchase an expensive individual insurance policy for a sick child.
Finally, new provisions require private insurers to cover routine preventive services (e.g. physical examination, immunizations, hearing and vision screening and developmental screening) without any cost-sharing. This provision has the potential to greatly improve access to prevention and screening for children and adults alike.
These provisions represent only a small sample of the provisions within the PPACA that will impact children and adolescents. The Center for Adolescent Health and the Law, a nonprofit organization working to promote the health of youth and their access to comprehensive health care, publishes policy briefs containing cogent analysis of the effects of health care policy on youth. For more information on the impact of these and other aspects of the new health care reform laws on youth, please see their most recent publication:
Tags: Adolescence, Children, Health Insurance
Domestic Violence: Perspectives from Cleveland
9/13/2010 12:33:05 PM
The recent deaths of two Cleveland women at the hands of their domestic partners have spurred a series of discussions on domestic violence. Judge Ronald Adrine, presiding judge of the Cleveland Municipal Court and Linda Dooley Johanek, executive director of the Domestic Violence Center were featured on a recent segment on WCPN’s The Sound of Ideas to discuss these high-profile cases and the many issues surrounding domestic violence. In this segment, both guests emphasized the prevalence of domestic violence in our community. Statistics continue to show that one in four women in the United States will experience some form of domestic violence in their lifetime. This violence may take the form of physical, emotional, sexual or financial violence, or a combination of violent strategies imposed on the victim by her abuser. However, these statistics are only estimates, as the rate of underreporting of domestic violence remains unknown. While many may be unaware of the high prevalence of domestic violence, perhaps even more surprising is the diversity in the profiles of domestic violence victims, which include women of all age groups and educational and socioeconomic levels. Indeed, domestic violence is an issue that affects all sectors of society and must be addressed at the community level.
To continue the discussion on domestic violence as it relates specifically to youth, the Schubert Center for Child Studies has recently published a policy brief examining teen dating violence. Research suggests that one in five teens report experiencing abuse in relationships, and that young women ages 16-24 are more vulnerable to intimate violence than all other age groups. This abuse not only has serious consequences for teens, but has also been linked to a pattern of violence which may lead to intimate partner violence in adulthood. This research suggests the importance of taking a developmental approach to understand both the roots and effects violence across the lifecourse.
To listen the discussion on domestic violence from WCPN, click here.
To read the Schubert Center for Child Studies policy brief on Teen Dating Violence and Girls, click here.
Nutrition Interventions in Cleveland
8/20/2010 11:29:39 AM
Jessica Kelley-Moore, PhD and Schubert Center Associate Elaine Borawski, PhD are leading the way in building better opportunities for Cleveland community members to make healthy choices when eating. Their work on the Corner Store Project has improved the accessibility of fresh produce for members of the Cleveland community. The pilot Cleveland Corner Store Project, completed in the summer of 2009, and served as valuable evidence to support expanded efforts in this and other areas of neighborhood health. Recently, the School of Medicine went after and won a prized grant from the CDC to launch the Case Western Reserve University Prevention Research Center for Healthy Neighborhoods (PRCHN).
“Increasing Access to Healthy Foods in Urban Neighborhoods” is the first major research effort—the core project—for the PRCHN. “The kick-off project takes aim at the problem of poor nutrition and its adverse health effects, which disproportionately plague those in underserved urban communities,” says Borawski, who is director of the School of Medicine’s Center for Health Promotion Research and co-director and principal investigator of the PRCHN.
Of the scope of the new project, Kelley-Moore, says, “Multiply the corner store project by four. Add schools, community gardens and community centers as points of impact with corner stores, and you have an idea of the promise of this Healthy Neighborhoods core project.”
To read an article about Drs. Kelley-Moore and Borawski's research click here
To read more about health food initiatives in Cleveland and nationwide:
Center for Health Promotion Research at Case Western Reserve University
The Senate passed the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act on August 6, 2010, a bill that provides an additional $4.5 billion over 10 years to federal child nutrition programs including school lunch. If signed into law, it will be the first time that the federal government has increased funding for the programs in 30 years.
Tags: Adolescence, Children, Development, Early Childhood, Healthy Eating, Health Insurance, Obesity
New research finds shared risk factors and predictors of becoming a bully, victim, or both
7/14/2010 10:45:53 AM
A press release by the American Psychological Association highlights recently published research by Clayton Cook, PhD and colleagues examining predictors for those at risk becoming bullies, victims, or both. The major finding of the study was that both the bullies and victims shared deficits in problem solving abilities and often had academic difficulties. Second, the authors found that age effected how much bullies and victims acted out their aggressions or internalized their feelings. Overall they found that younger bullies tend to be more defiant, aggressive and disruptive, whereas older bullies were more withdrawn, depressed and anxious. Moreover, older bullies were more bothered by rejection and being unpopular. In looking at the characteristics of victims, the researchers found that older victims suffered from depression and anxiety more than younger victims.
The authors advocate that that it may be more promising to develop interventions that target the behaviors and the environments that are putting these young people at risk of becoming bullies and/or victims. In particular, Cook suggests: “Intervene with the parents, peers and schools simultaneously. Behavioral parent training could be used in the home while building good peer relationship and problem-solving skills could be offered in the schools, along with academic help for those having troubling in this area.”
Click here to read the press release discussing this article
Click here to read the full text of the article
Article: "Predictors of Bullying and Victimization in Childhood and Adolescence: A Meta-analytic Investigation," Clayton R. Cook, PhD, Louisiana State University; Kirk R. William, PhD, Nancy G. Guerra, EdD, Tia E. Kim, PhD, and Shelly Sadek, MA, University of California, Riverside; School Psychology Quarterly, Vol. 25, No.2.
If you are interested in learning more about this area, the following Schubert Center faculty associates conduct research on similar topics:
- Interests include translating developmental models into prevention and intervention programs for at-risk youth; development and treatment of conduct problems and substance use in youth
- Research interests include child and family interventions; social/behavioral interventions for youth. Dr. Fischer is co-director of Center for Urban Poverty and Community Development
- Research interests include youth violence and adolescent behavior problems
Tags: Adolescence, Bullying, Children, School