Psychologist Calls Attention to Social Media as a Public Health Hazard

In New York City Mayor Eric Adams’ State of the City speech, he discussed protecting kids’ mental health in the face of excessive social media usage.  Dr. Anthony Anzalone, a clinical psychologist at Stony Brook Medicine, also agrees that social media…

SLU Study: Adolescents of Color With A Disability Experience More Racial Discrimination

Adolescents of color with a disability or special health care need (SHCN) were almost twice as likely to experience racial discrimination compared to peers of color without SHCNs, according to Saint Louis University research published in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

Research Details Perils of Not Being Attractive or Athletic in Middle School

Life is harder for adolescents who are not attractive or athletic. New research shows low attractive and low athletic youth became increasingly unpopular over the course of a school year, leading to subsequent increases in their loneliness and alcohol misuse. As their unpopularity grows, so do their problems.

Among Young People, Being Around Peers May Elicit Greater Drinking Cravings than the Presence of Alcohol

The presence of peers is a key prompt for alcohol cravings among young people, according to a new study in Alcohol: Clinical & Experimental Research. When certain settings, people, or items—a bar, a friend, a glass—are paired with alcohol, they can become conditioned cues, eliciting drinking cravings. These learned reactions are associated with alcohol use disorder (AUD), treatment outcomes, and relapse. Adolescents and emerging adults are particularly susceptible to peer influence. In real-world settings, studies have found that the presence of peers predicts young people’s intensifying drinking cravings at the moment. In laboratory studies, however, peer influence is largely absent, potentially limiting the usefulness of their findings. Better understanding peers as alcohol cues could inform more effective AUD prevention and treatment programs. For the current study, researchers from Brown University, RI, evaluated alcohol cravings among youth in the human laboratory, using drinking-

Prompt Treatment for Functional Neurological Disorder in Children Is Highly Effective

Treatment is scarce for functional neurological disorder (FND), which requires a multidisciplinary approach. A special report published in the March/April issue of Harvard Review of Psychiatry (HRP) aims to show clinicians and institutions around the world what is needed to establish effective community treatment programs for FND, as well as hospital inpatient and outpatient interventions, in their own health care settings. HRP is published in the Lippincott portfolio by Wolters Kluwer.

Physicians Should Screen Youth for Cyberbullying, Social Media Use

Researchers recommend primary care physicians screen adolescents and young adults for inappropriate or misuse of social media and cyberbullying utilizing screening tools developed for use in the health care setting. Physicians also can ask about the many symptoms that could be warning signs of cyberbullying such as sleep disorders, mood disorders, eating disorders, suicidal thoughts, self-harm behaviors, academic problems, fatigue and headaches. They also can undergo training to detect bullying and ensure that their staff is trained appropriately.

Study Finds Computer-Based Intervention Is Cost-Effective at Reducing Binge Drinking among Adolescents

A computer-based intervention associated with reduced binge drinking episodes among high school students could yield a cost savings of eight thousand euros, according to a Spanish study published in Alcohol: Clinical and Experimental Research. The study found the computer-based intervention cost-effective, resulting in societal savings of €8,000 for each binge drinking episode averted. Computer and web-based interventions can potentially reach a far larger number of students than face-to-face screening and intervention.

Copy-cat? Youth with Few Friends Conform to Stay in a Friend’s ‘Good Graces’

What gives one friend influence over another? Considerable attention has focused on who influences whom; much less is known about why one partner is prone to be influenced by the other. A study tested the hypothesis that within a friend dyad, having fewer friends than one’s partner increases susceptibility to influence, because it reduces dissimilarity and promotes compatibility. Results showed that partners with fewer friends were influenced by children with more friends. In each case, the partner with fewer friends became more similar to the partner with more friends. Academic engagement was the only domain where partners with fewer friends also influenced partners with more friends.

Young chimpanzees and human teens share risk-taking behaviors

Adolescent chimpanzees share some of the same risk-taking behaviors as human teens, but they may be less impulsive than their human counterparts, according to research published by the American Psychological Association. The study gets at age-old nature/nurture questions about why adolescents take more risks: because of environment or because of biological predispositions?

Problems with Alcohol Increase After Weight-Loss Surgery in Adolescence

Youth who underwent metabolic and bariatric surgery as teenagers are at heightened risk for alcohol use, according to the first study to document long-term alcohol use and associated issues in this population. Researchers found that after eight years, nearly half of study participants had alcohol use disorders, symptoms of alcohol-related harm, or alcohol-related problems. Results were published in the journal Annals of Surgery.

Study compares adverse events after two types of bariatric surgery in adolescents

Adolescents who underwent sleeve gastrectomy, a type of weight-loss surgery that involves removing part of the stomach, were less likely to go the emergency room in the five years after their operations than those who had their stomachs divided into pouches through gastric bypass surgery, according to new research.

Which student-athletes can be safely released to an athletic trainer after concussion?

When a high school or college student consults a physician about a sport-related concussion, their age, severity of symptoms, number of previous concussions, and family history of psychiatric disorders predict whether they can be released to supervision by an athletic trainer or will need additional medical care, according to an article in the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine. The journal is published in the Lippincott portfolio by Wolters Kluwer.

Teen Alcohol Use Decreasing, But More Slowly among Girls

Teen use of alcohol and alcohol in combination with cannabis is decreasing, but use by girls is decreasing more slowly than it is for boys, according to a study published in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research. And, rates of cannabis use among teens who didn’t use alcohol, which more than doubled in the last decade, are increasing more rapidly in female students than in their male counterparts. Despite the declines in alcohol use, teen alcohol use remains high, and far more prevalent than cannabis use. The simultaneous use of cannabis and alcohol amplifies the health risks for teens, including risk of intoxication, injury, impairment and other short- and long-term consequences for adolescents. As one in five students reports simultaneously using both substances, continued public health efforts to reduce teen alcohol and cannabis use, as well as interventions specifically aimed at female students, are important.

‘Years of Life Lost’ to unintentional drug overdose in adolescents spikes during pandemic

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The first year of the COVID-19 pandemic saw a 113% increase in the “Years of Life Lost” among adolescents and young people in the United States due to unintentional drug overdose, according to researchers at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and College of Medicine.

With Back to School Comes Back to Sleep: Third Annual Student Sleep Health Week to be Held Sept. 12-18

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine is holding the third annual Student Sleep Health Week Sept. 12-18, 2022, to educate students, parents and educators about the importance of sleep for success, well-being and overall health.

Greater Empathy in Adolescents Helps Prevent Bias-based Cyberbullying

Little is known about cyberbullying and empathy, especially as it relates harming or abusing others because of race or religion. A study is the first to examine general cyberbullying, race-based cyberbullying, and religion-based cyberbullying in young adolescents. Results show that the higher a youth scored on empathy, the lower the likelihood that they cyberbullied others. When it came to bias-based cyberbullying, higher levels of total empathy were associated with lower odds of cyberbullying others based on their race or religion.

Under 30 Percent of U.S. Kids Have High Scores for Heart Health

Most children and adolescents living in the U.S. have suboptimal scores for cardiovascular health (CVH), according to the first study to use the American Heart Association’s new “Life’s Essential 8” metrics and scoring algorithm for quantifying CVH levels in adults and children. Overall, under 30 percent of 2-19-year-olds had high CVH. The proportion of children with high CVH declined markedly with older age: 56 percent of 2-5-year-old children had high CVH, compared with 33 percent of 6-11-year-olds and 14 percent of 12-19-year-olds.

Mistaken views of peer drinking can increase risk of dating violence among LGBTQIA2S+ teens

Research shows that adolescents and young adults frequently overestimate the extent to which their peers drink alcohol, and that these overestimations increase risk for problem drinking behaviors, as well as dating violence. A recent study found that LGBTQIA2S+* teens likewise overestimate the frequency and quantity of alcohol use of other LGBTQIA2S+ teens, but also drink alcohol and experience dating violence at disproportionately higher rates than heterosexual, cisgender teens.

Alcohol use among sexual minority adolescents is linked to discrimination and stigmatization

Sexual minority adolescents – lesbian, gay, or bisexual youth – are at an increased risk for substance use, including alcohol. A new study finds that discriminatory and stigmatizing experiences may be to blame. These results and others will be shared at the 44th annual scientific meeting of the Research Society on Alcoholism (RSA), which due to the COVID-19 pandemic will be held virtually this year from the 19th – 23rd of June 2021.

Alarming Rising Trends in Suicide by Firearms in Young Americans

Researchers explored suicide trends by firearms in white and black Americans ages 5 to 24 years from 1999 to 2018. From 2008 to 2018, rates of suicide by firearms quadrupled in those ages 5 to 14 years and increased by 50 percent in those ages 15 to 24 years. Suicide deaths by firearms were more prevalent in white than black Americans – a marked contrast with homicide by firearms, which are far more prevalent in black than white Americans.

Research News Tip Sheet: Story Ideas from Johns Hopkins Medicine

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Johns Hopkins Medicine Media Relations is focused on disseminating current, accurate and useful information to the public via the media. As part of that effort, we are distributing our “COVID-19 Tip Sheet: Story Ideas from Johns Hopkins” every other Wednesday.

UNH Receives Nearly $3 Million to Research Effectiveness of Wilderness Therapy

The University of New Hampshire’s Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare Center will receive $2.97 million in grants to conduct a first-of-its-kind randomized study looking at the effectiveness of outdoor behavioral health (OBH), or wilderness therapy, a prescriptive treatment for teens struggling with depression, anxiety and substance use disorders.

Being Aware of How Social Media Affects Adolescents’ Body Image, During National Eating Disorder Awareness Week

As National Eating Disorder Awareness Week (Feb. 22-28) approaches, it’s important for parents to be aware of how social media affects adolescents’ body image.  Linda Charmaraman, Ph.D., a senior research scientist and director of the Youth, Media and Wellbeing Research…

Mean or Nice? These Traits Could Make or Break a Child’s Friendships

While it’s logical to assume that children who are mean have friendships characterized by growing strife and that children who are nice report little of the same, these assumptions haven’t been tested in the real-world friendships. A study of elementary-school children is the first to examine the extent to which being “nice” and being “mean” shape changes in friend perceptions of their relationship. Results confirm the widespread assumption that one child’s behavioral traits drive the other child’s friendship experiences.