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Journal: Journal of adolescence


Peer support among adolescents has been positively associated with heath behaviors; however, enhancing peer support for weight loss has rarely been studied among adolescents. This study examined whether a peer support training component delivered to enhance a standard weight loss program led to improved outcomes. Forty-one overweight adolescent females were randomly assigned to a Standard or Enhanced Peer Support intervention. The Enhanced group received in person peer support skills training and practiced skills using social networking. At 16 weeks, participants in the Enhanced condition reported significantly increased perceptions of friend support. Both groups demonstrated significant weight loss (6.4 lbs, ± 8.3). Attendance and self-monitoring were associated with weight loss. Perceptions of peer support can be increased with a peer training component, but did not increase weight loss during the short term.

Concepts: Psychology, Randomized controlled trial, Weight loss, Adolescence, Randomness, Behavior, Term, Dieting


The aim of this study investigated the prevalence of Internet addiction (IA) in a large representative sample of secondary school students and identified the risk and protective factors. Using a crosssectional design, 2170 participants were recruited from senior high schools throughout Taiwan using both stratified and cluster sampling. The prevalence of IA was 17.4% (95% confidence interval, 15.8%-19.0%). High impulsivity, low refusal self-efficacy of Internet use, high positive outcome expectancy of Internet use, high disapproving attitude of Internet use by others, depressive symptoms, low subjective well-being, high frequency of others' invitation to Internet use, and high virtual social support was all independently predictive in the logistic regression analysis. The prevalence of IA among secondary school students in Taiwan was high. Results from this study can be used to help educational agencies and mental health organizations create policies and design programs that will help in the prevention of IA in adolescents.

Concepts: Middle school, High school, Secondary education, College, Secondary school, Vocational school, Grammar school, Comprehensive school


Adolescents' development of two empathy dimensions, affective empathic concern and cognitive perspective taking, may be associated with shifts towards more constructive behaviors in conflict with parents. This six-year longitudinal study (ages 13-18) used multivariate latent growth curve modeling to investigate correlations between the developmental trajectories of adolescents' (N = 497) empathic dispositions and trajectories of their conflict behaviors towards both parents. There were some similarities between the associations of both empathy dimensions with conflict behaviors. Both empathy dimensions were associated with reduced conflict escalation with mothers, and increased problem solving with both parents. However, these associations were consistently stronger for perspective taking than for empathic concern. Furthermore, higher levels of compliance with mothers in early adolescence were uniquely associated with over-time increasing empathic concern. Perspective taking was uniquely associated with decreased withdrawal from conflicts. Perspective taking thus appears to be more strongly associated with a pattern of constructive conflict behaviors.

Concepts: Psychology, Educational psychology, Adolescence, Empathy, Emotion, Problem solving, Jean Decety, Empathic concern


This paper investigates potential mental health benefits of outdoor and adventure education programs. It is argued that experiences made in successful programs can increase self-efficacy, mindfulness and subjective well-being. Furthermore, programs may reduce feelings of time pressure and mental stress amongst participants. Evidence comes from two pilot studies: In the school project “Crossing the Alps” (Study 1), 14-year-old participants reported an increase in life satisfaction, mindfulness and a decrease in the PSQ Subscale ‘demand’ after a successful nine-day hike through the German, Austrian, and Italian Alps. In the university project “Friluftsliv” (Study 2) participants scored higher in life satisfaction, happiness, mindfulness, and self-efficacy and lower in perceived stress after having spent eight days in the wilderness of the Norwegian Hardangervidda region, miles away from the next locality. The findings suggest that outdoor education and wilderness programs can foster mental health in youths and young adults.

Concepts: Positive psychology, Austria, Wilderness, WILD Foundation, Adventure, National Outdoor Leadership School


Digital dating abuse (DDA) behaviors include the use of digital media to monitor, control, threaten, harass, pressure, or coerce a dating partner. In this study, 703 high school students reported on the frequency of DDA victimization, whether they were upset by these incidents, and how they responded. Results suggest that although both girls and boys experienced DDA at similar rates of frequency (with the exception of sexual coercion), girls reported that they were more upset by these behaviors. Girls also expressed more negative emotional responses to DDA victimization than boys. Although DDA is potentially harmful for all youth, gender matters. These findings suggest that the experience and consequences of DDA may be particularly detrimental for girls.

Concepts: Childhood, Experience, Control theory, High school, Abuse, Psychological abuse, Bullying, Intimidation


This study examined associations among depression, suicidal behaviors, and bullying and victimization experiences in 1491 high school students using data from the 2009 Youth Risk Behavior Survey. Results demonstrated that depression mediated the association between bullying/victimization and suicide attempts, but differently for males and females. Specifically, depression mediated the link between traditional victimization and suicide attempts similarly across gender, whereas depression mediated the link between cyber victimization and suicide attempts only for females. Similarly, depression mediated the link between traditional bullying and suicide attempts for females only. Depression did not mediate the link between cyberbullying and suicide attempts for either gender. Implications of the findings are discussed, including the importance of greater detection of depression among students involved in bullying, and the need for a suicide prevention and intervention component in anti-bullying programs. Findings suggest that bullying prevention efforts be extended from middle school students to include high school students.

Concepts: Psychology, Male, Female, Gender, Middle school, High school, College, Suicide


Adolescents are particularly susceptible to social influence. Here, we investigated the effect of social influence on risk perception in 590 participants aged eight to fifty-nine-years tested in the United Kingdom. Participants rated the riskiness of everyday situations, were then informed about the rating of these situations from a (fictitious) social-influence group consisting of teenagers or adults, and then re-evaluated the situation. Our first aim was to attempt to replicate our previous finding that young adolescents are influenced more by teenagers than by adults. Second, we investigated the social-influence effect when the social-influence group’s rating was more, or less, risky than the participants' own risk rating. Younger participants were more strongly influenced by teenagers than by adults, but only when teenagers rated a situation as more risky than did participants. This suggests that stereotypical characteristics of the social-influence group - risk-prone teenagers - interact with social influence on risk perception.

Concepts: Risk, Sociology, United Kingdom, Social psychology, Risk perception, Cultural Theory of risk


This study explores the role that digital media technologies play in adolescents' experiences of friendship and identity. The author draws on findings from in-depth interviews with 32 adolescents (15 girls, 17 boys) ages 13-18 (M = 15.5 years) attending one of seven secondary schools in Bermuda. The adolescents were asked to describe the nature of their online exchanges with friends and the value they ascribe to these conversations. A thematic analysis of their responses revealed that online peer communications promote adolescents' sense of belonging and self-disclosure, two important peer processes that support identity development during adolescence. At the same time, the unique features of computer-mediated communication shape adolescents' experiences of these processes in distinct ways. Gender and age differences show that adolescents' online peer communications are not uniform; the characteristics that distinguish adolescents offline also shape their online activities.

Concepts: Sociology, Interpersonal relationship, Adolescence, High school, Gender identity, Communication, College, Communication studies


To date, research on the role of the Internet in self-harm has focused on young people’s interaction via the medium of text, with limited consideration of the effect of images. This qualitative study explores how young people understand and use online images of self-harm. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with a community sample of 21 individuals aged 16-24 living in Wales, UK, with a previous history of self-harm. Interviewees reported the role of the Internet in normalising young people’s self-harm. Images rather than textual interactions are the primary reason cited for using the Internet for self-harm purposes. Images invoke a physical reaction and inspire behavioural enactment, with Tumblr, which permits the sharing of images by anonymous individuals, being the preferred platform. Viewing online images serves a vital role in many young people’s self-harm, as part of ritualistic practice. Online prevention and intervention need to attend to the importance of images.

Concepts: Psychology, Sociology, United Kingdom, Semi-structured interview, History of the Internet


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