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Concept: The Adolescents


given the increase in worldwide obesity among children and adolescents, the long-term consequences of childhood obesity on the risk of adverse health outcomes in later life has garnered increased attention. Much of the work on earlier life weight status and later life health has focused on cardiovascular-related outcomes in mid- to late-adulthood; however, little is known about the later life mental health consequences of adolescent body weight.

Concepts: Nutrition, Obesity, Child, Childhood, Adolescence, The Adolescents, Body shape, The Work


Background. Shame has been associated with a range of maladaptive behaviours, including substance use. Young people may be particularly vulnerable to heightened shame sensitivity, and substance use is a significant problem amongst UK adolescents. Although there appears to be a relationship between shame and substance use, the direction of the relationship remains unclear. Aim. The purpose of this study was to undertake a systematic review of the literature relating to shame and substance use in young people. Method. Five electronic databases were searched for articles containing terms related to ‘adolescence,’ ‘shame’ and ‘substance use.’ Six articles were included in the final analyses. Results. Adverse early experiences, particularly sexual abuse, predict shame-proneness, and substance use is a mechanism by which some individuals cope with negative feelings. In general, there is a dearth of literature investigating the shame-substance use relationship in adolescent samples. The available literature associates shame-proneness with poorer functioning and suggests that it may potentially lead to psychopathology and early-onset substance use. Scant attention has been paid to the cognitive and emotional processes implicated. Further research is required to ascertain the strength of the shame-substance use relationship in young people and to develop appropriate interventions for this population.

Concepts: Psychology, Educational psychology, Adolescence, The Final, Metaphysics, The Adolescents, Adaptive Behavior, Young


Adolescent growth and social development shape the early development of offspring from preconception through to the post-partum period through distinct processes in males and females. At a time of great change in the forces shaping adolescence, including the timing of parenthood, investments in today’s adolescents, the largest cohort in human history, will yield great dividends for future generations.

Concepts: Human, Male, Reproduction, Educational psychology, Adolescence, Developmental psychology, The Adolescents, Star Trek: The Next Generation


The current study examined relationships between the neighborhood social environment (parental perceived collective efficacy (PCE)), constrained behaviors (e.g., avoidance or defensive behaviors) and adolescent offspring neighborhood physical activity in low- versus high-incivility neighborhoods.

Concepts: Psychology, Mind, The Adolescents, Community


This study examined how social media use related to sleep quality, self-esteem, anxiety and depression in 467 Scottish adolescents. We measured overall social media use, nighttime-specific social media use, emotional investment in social media, sleep quality, self-esteem and levels of anxiety and depression. Adolescents who used social media more - both overall and at night - and those who were more emotionally invested in social media experienced poorer sleep quality, lower self-esteem and higher levels of anxiety and depression. Nighttime-specific social media use predicted poorer sleep quality after controlling for anxiety, depression and self-esteem. These findings contribute to the growing body of evidence that social media use is related to various aspects of wellbeing in adolescents. In addition, our results indicate that nighttime-specific social media use and emotional investment in social media are two important factors that merit further investigation in relation to adolescent sleep and wellbeing.

Concepts: Anxiety, Psychology, Adolescence, Investment, Emotion, The Adolescents, Teenage pregnancy, Media, Pennsylvania


Facebook(©) is changing the way people interact and socialize. Despite great interest in psychology and sociology, little is known about Facebook behaviors in relation to physiological markers of stress. Given that the brain undergoes important development during adolescence and that glucocorticoids-a major class of stress hormones-are known to modulate its development, it is important to study psychosocial factors that may influence secretion of stress hormones during adolescence. The goal of the present study was to explore the associations between Facebook behaviors (use frequency, network size, self-presentation and peer-interaction) and basal levels of cortisol among adolescent boys and girls. Eighty-eight adolescents (41 boys, 47 girls) aged between 12 and 17 (14.5±1.8) were recruited. Participants provided four cortisol samples per day for two non-consecutive weekdays. Facebook behaviors were assessed in accordance with the existing literature. Well-validated measures of perceived stress, perceived social support, self-esteem, and depressive symptoms were also included. A hierarchical regression showed that after controlling for sex, age, time of awakening, perceived stress, and perceived social support, cortisol systemic output (area under the curve with respect to ground) was positively associated with the number of Facebook friends and negatively associated with Facebook peer-interaction. No associations were found among depressive symptoms, self-esteem, and cortisol. These results provide preliminary evidence that Facebook behaviors are associated with diurnal cortisol concentrations in adolescents.

Concepts: Psychology, Brain, Sociology, Human brain, Cortisol, Adolescence, Developmental psychology, The Adolescents


This mixed-methods study examined gender differences in the social motivation and friendship experiences of adolescent boys and girls with autism relative to those without autism, all educated within special education settings. Autistic girls showed similar social motivation and friendship quality to non-autistic girls, while autistic boys reported having both qualitatively different friendships and less motivation for social contact relative to boys without autism and to girls with and without autism. Semi-structured interviews with the adolescents corroborated these findings, with one exception: autistic girls reported high levels of relational aggression within their friendships, suggesting that girls on the autism spectrum in particular may struggle with identifying and dealing with conflict in their social lives.

Concepts: Sociology, Educational psychology, Autism, Aggression, Relational aggression, Asperger syndrome, Autism spectrum, The Adolescents


BACKGROUND: Self-harm is prevalent in adolescence. It is often a behaviour without verbal expression, seeking relief from a distressed state of mind. As most adolescents who self-harm do not seek help, the nature of adolescent self-harm and reasons for not disclosing it are a public health concern. This study aims to increase understanding about how adolescents in the community speak about self-harm; exploring their attitudes towards and experiences of disclosure and help-seeking. METHODS: This study involved 30 qualitative individual interviews with ethnically diverse adolescents aged 15–16 years (24 females, 6 males), investigating their views on coping with stress, self-harm and help-seeking, within their own social context in multicultural East London. Ten participants had never self-harmed, nine had self-harmed on one occasion and 11 had self-harmed repeatedly. Verbatim accounts were transcribed and subjected to content and thematic analysis using a framework approach. RESULTS: Self-harm was described as a complex and varied behaviour. Most participants who had self-harmed expressed reluctance to talk about it and many had difficulty understanding self-harm in others. Some participants normalised self-harm and did not wish to accept offers of help, particularly if their self-harm had been secretive and ‘discovered’, leading to their referral to more formal help from others. Disclosure was viewed more positively with hindsight by some participants who had received help. If help was sought, adolescents desired respect, and for their problems, feelings and opinions to be noticed and considered alongside receiving treatment for injuries. Mixed responses to disclosure from peers, family and initial sources of help may influence subsequent behaviour and deter presentation to services. CONCLUSIONS: This study provides insight into the subjective experience of self-harm, disclosure and help-seeking from a young, ethnically diverse community sample. Accounts highlighted the value of examining self-harm in the context of each adolescent’s day-to-day life. These accounts emphasised the need for support from others and increasing awareness about appropriate responses to adolescent self-harm and accessible sources of help for adolescents.

Concepts: Psychology, Male, Female, Educational psychology, Qualitative research, Adolescence, The Adolescents, Peer group


The aim of the 6th phase of this longitudinal study was to establish whether children born through assisted reproduction involving reproductive donation were at risk for psychological problems following the transition to adolescence at age 14 and, if so, to examine the nature of these problems and the mechanisms involved. Eighty-seven families formed through reproductive donation, including 32 donor insemination families, 27 egg donation families, and 28 surrogacy families, were compared with 54 natural conception families. Standardized interviews, questionnaires, and observational assessments of the quality of parent-adolescent relationships and adolescent adjustment were administered to mothers, adolescents, and teachers. The mothers in surrogacy families showed less negative parenting and reported greater acceptance of their adolescent children and fewer problems in family relationships as a whole compared with gamete donation mothers. In addition, less positive relationships were found between mothers and adolescents in egg donation families than in donor insemination families as rated by both mothers and adolescents. There were no differences between family types for the adolescents themselves in terms of adjustment problems, psychological well-being, and self-esteem. Longitudinal analyses showed no differences between family types in negative parenting from age 7 to age 14, and a weaker association between negative parenting and adjustment difficulties for gamete donation than natural conception and surrogacy families. The findings suggest that the absence of a genetic link between mothers and their children is associated with less positive mother-adolescent relationships whereas the absence of a gestational link does not have an adverse effect. (PsycINFO Database Record

Concepts: Family, Reproduction, Sociology, Reproductive system, Adolescence, Assisted reproductive technology, The Adolescents, Artificial insemination


The present study examined age-trends and longitudinal bidirectional relations in self-esteem and prosocial behavior toward strangers, friends, and family over a four-year time period (age 11 to 14). A total of 681 adolescents were recruited in the United States (51% girls, 28% single parent families). A longitudinal panel model was conducted and the results showed that adolescent self-esteem was associated longitudinally with subsequent prosocial behavior toward strangers, and earlier prosocial behavior toward strangers promoted subsequent self-esteem. There were no such bidirectional relations between self-esteem and prosocial behavior toward friends and family. Findings also highlight the complexity of adolescent development of selfesteem and the multidimensional nature of prosocial behavior. Discussion focuses on understanding the dynamic interplay between adolescent selfesteem and prosocial behavior.

Concepts: Family, Present, Time, United States, Adolescence, Motivation, The Adolescents, Periodization