Johns Hopkins Children’s Center Study Shows Negative Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on Youth Minority Mental Health

Recent historical, political and public health events, most notably the COVID-19 pandemic, have collectively contributed to increased stress and mental health challenges among many groups of people — including adolescents in racial and ethnic minorities.

Facilitators of Group Interventions Play a Vital Role in Reducing Drinking Among Young Adults Experiencing Homelessness

Skilled facilitators of an alcohol intervention based on motivational interviewing are key to promoting safer drinking behaviors among young adults experiencing homelessness, a new study suggests. The study is the first to examine the effects of the group process on emerging adults’ drinking outcomes using several different measures of group dynamics. Some young adults experiencing homelessness can access services at drop-in centers, but interventions must be brief and feasible in resource-stretched environments. Previous studies of AWARE, an intervention based on motivational interviewing in a four-session group format, found reductions in drinking in this vulnerable population. It is not well understood, however, which aspects of the group experience—process, structure, and clinician behavior—contribute to these outcomes. Research points to the importance of change talk (e.g., “I’m quitting for the summer”), cohesion (group bonding), climate (group engagement and mutual support), and

Young Adults’ Simultaneous Use of Alcohol and Marijuana Linked to More Drinking, More Negative Alcohol Consequences, and More Hours High

Up to one in four young adults use alcohol and marijuana simultaneously (i.e., use at the same time with overlapping effects), a behavior linked to a greater risk of adverse consequences. Given the expanding legalization of non-medical marijuana use, there is an urgent need to better understand the effects of simultaneous use and who is most vulnerable to adverse outcomes.

Hazardous Drinking in Young Adults: Personal Characteristics Can Help Identify Effective Interventions

Young adults whose drinking lands them in the emergency room respond differently to different interventions to reduce their hazardous drinking, and those differences may be driven by certain personal characteristics.

Web and Smartphone Apps Providing Personalized Feedback Can Help Hazardous Drinkers Substantially Reduce Their Alcohol Consumption Over Eight Weeks

Brief electronic intervention providing personalized feedback can help hazardous drinkers substantially reduce their drinking, according to a new study in Alcohol: Clinical & Experimental Research.

Parental provision of alcohol to adolescent children and peer influence linked to subsequent alcohol harms

Parental supply of alcohol is a relatively common practice in Australia, believed by some parents to be an effective means of teaching their children to drink responsibly. New research shows that family and peer factors each play a role in the development of excessive and risky drinking in early adulthood and associated harms. These results and others will be shared at the 46th annual scientific meeting of the Research Society on Alcohol (RSA) in Bellevue, Washington.

Neighborhood Access to Alcohol Might be Linked to A Raised Risk of Suicide Attempts

Living in a neighborhood with bars or government-run alcohol outlets may increase suicidal behavior among young adults, especially men and those with elevated genetic liability for attempting suicide, a new study suggests. The paper, in Alcohol: Clinical & Experimental Research, is the latest attempt to clarify the link between alcohol accessibility and suicidal behavior. This complex relationship is proving difficult to unravel. Both acute drinking and alcohol use disorder are associated with increased suicide risk, potentially because of behavioral inhibition, depressed mood, or aggression. The link between heavy drinking and suicidal behavior likely reflects, in part, genetic and environmental influences, including the proximity of alcohol outlets. Research has been inconclusive, however. For the new study, drawing on the experiences of hundreds of thousands of individuals in Sweden, investigators explored the association between neighborhood alcohol outlets and suicide attempts and

Stricter Alcohol Policies are Associated with Reduced Drinking, Multi-Country Analysis Finds

People who live in countries with more stringent alcohol policies drank less than people in countries with less strict policies, according to a large multi-country analysis published in Alcohol: Clinical and Experimental Research. The more stringent policies were associated with reduced drinking overall and showed more significant associations in drinkers aged 18 to 24 and those with 13 or fewer years of education. The findings suggest that countries could reduce adverse health consequences by adopting cost-effective alcohol policies.

Debunking pain myths could help teens recover faster

Whether it’s headaches, abdominal pain, or unrelenting joint soreness, up to a third of young people in Australia experience chronic pain. Now, a world-first study from the University of South Australia is providing valuable insights about how young people understand chronic pain, potentially helping thousands of sufferers to better manage their symptoms and long-term wellbeing.

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.

New Study Finds Depression, Poor Mental Health Linked to Higher Heart Disease Risks Among Young Adults

Young adults who feel down or depressed are more likely to develop cardiovascular disease (CVD) and have poor heart health, according to a new study led by Johns Hopkins Medicine researchers who analyzed data from more than a half million people between the ages of 18 and 49. The findings add to a growing body of evidence connecting CVD with depression among young and middle-aged adults and suggest the relationship between the two could begin in early adulthood.

Transition to Telehealth during the COVID-19 Pandemic Accompanied by Increased Utilization of Alcohol Treatment

The transition to telehealth-based care at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic was followed by an increase in initiation of and engagement with specialty alcohol treatment, according to a study of health records at one large U.S. health system. The study, published in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, found the greatest increases in odds of initiating treatment were among 18- to 34-year-olds, a group that has historically been less likely to seek treatment for alcohol problems. Notably, the transition to telehealth did not appear to worsen racial and ethnic disparities in treatment for alcohol problems and may have facilitated treatment for specific populations. The findings provide timely considerations for structuring post-pandemic models of health care for alcohol use problems.

Youngest Girls Who Get Pregnant Have Highest Risk of Poor Outcomes, Study Finds

Pregnant teens in the U.S. have long been known to face increased health risks and pregnancy complications, but a new study for the first time finds that girls ages 13 or younger who get pregnant face even greater risks. These very young girls are significantly more likely to experience preterm birth, cesarean delivery, and admission to the intensive care unit (ICU) compared to older pregnant teens.

The COVID-19 pandemic increased depression among young adults, particularly women

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound effect on many people’s lives. Emerging adults may have been particular impacted, given their transition from adolescence to adulthood during such a time of upheaval, with their educational and career aspirations thrown into disarray. A new study has found that the risk for depression tripled among young people – particularly younger women – during the pandemic, and that this risk persisted into 2021.

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.

Five New Studies Examine Eating Behaviors in Teens and Young Adults

The developmental changes and growing independence that characterize adolescence and young adulthood can make these stages of life both exciting and challenging. New studies at NUTRITION 2022 LIVE ONLINE shed light on the eating behaviors and diets of teens and young adults around the world.

How personality and genetics impact link between racial discrimination and problem drinking

A study published in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence shows that the connection of racial discrimination to problem drinking differs based on personality traits. People who tend to act impulsively in response to negative experiences are more likely to report problematic alcohol use that is associated with racism. But, people who enjoy seeking out new experiences are less likely to report problematic alcohol use that is associated with racism. Though this personality trait is thought to be a common risk factor for alcohol use disorder, this study suggests that people with sensation-seeking personalities can better tolerate or cope with difficult situations such as racism.

A lifeline for primary care amid a crisis in youth mental health

Most mental health care in America doesn’t happen in psychiatrists’ offices – especially when it comes to children, teens and young adults. It happens in primary care settings. As needs spike due to the pandemic, a program offers a psychiatry “lifeline” for Michigan’s primary care providers, and online education for providers anywhere.

Worldwide Risk of Death in Road Crashes Caused by Drinking is Higher for Men, Younger People, Motorcyclists, and Europeans

Men, young adults, motorcyclists, and people in European and other reasonably well-developed countries are more likely to die in road crashes caused by drinking, according to a novel review of global data. Researchers found that the risk of dying in a road crash attributed to alcohol consumption varied markedly around the world and across population groups. The new review may be the first to provide detailed information on the rate of fatal injury in traffic crashes caused by alcohol use and its variation by location, the sex and age of victims, or transit circumstances. The World Health Organization estimates that in 2018, one in four road deaths worldwide were attributable to drinking. For the review in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, investigators in Mexico explored how these fatalities are distributed, geographically and demographically. This more granular information can potentially help target prevention resources at locations and communities where they may most eff

Racial discrimination linked to drinking through mental health in Black college students

A new study from Arizona State University and Virginia Commonwealth University examined the pathways that contribute to and protect against alcohol use problems in Black American college students. Racial discrimination led to depressive symptoms and to problem alcohol consumption. Positive feelings about being a Black American were associated with a weaker link between discrimination, mental health and alcohol use. The study was published in Psychology of Addictive Behaviors.

Distance from hospital impacts cancer diagnosis, survival in young adults

Adolescents and young adults living in rural versus metropolitan U.S. counties and those living farther from the hospital where they were diagnosed are more likely to be detected at a later cancer stage, when it is generally less treatable and have lower survival rates compared with those living in metropolitan counties and closer to the reporting hospital, finds a new study from the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis.

Young Adults’ Alcohol Use and Cannabis Use Rise and Fall Together Rather than Substituting for Each Other

Young adults’ use of cannabis and alcohol tends to rise and fall together, rather than one substance substituting for the other, according to a new study. Understanding the relationship between cannabis use and alcohol use is critical for informing policy and public health strategies. Legalizing recreational cannabis use has raised the possibility that cannabis may substitute for risky drinking or other substance use, potentially with less severe public health consequences.

Does cannabis affect brain development in young people with ADHD? Too soon to tell, reports Harvard Review of Psychiatry

At least so far, the currently limited research base does not establish that cannabis has additional adverse effects on brain development or functioning in adolescents or young adults with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), concludes a review in the July/August issue of Harvard Review of Psychiatry. The journal is published in the Lippincott portfolio by Wolters Kluwer.

Preventive interventions can improve mental health outcomes in children, teens and young adults

Offering interventions to young people in the general community can prevent the emergence of certain mental health disorders, according to the first comprehensive systematic review to address this question. The results appear in the May/June issue of Harvard Review of Psychiatry, which is published in the Lippincott portfolio by Wolters Kluwer.

Most young people eager for COVID-19 vaccine, poll shows

As older teens and young adults become eligible for COVID-19 vaccination across the country, and younger teens await their turn, new survey data suggest a strong readiness that has grown since fall. But just as with older generations, a shrinking but still sizable minority of people age 14 to 24 say they’re not willing to get vaccinated, or that their decision will depend on safety.

Dual health-risk behaviors in young adults: Problem drinking and maladaptive eating both linked to the brain’s reward pathway and impulsivity

Risky drinking often co-occurs with maladaptive eating in young adults, according to a study reported in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. While previous research had suggested a link between heavy alcohol use and obesity-related factors in college students, the latest study aimed to identify specific profiles of problematic drinking, food addiction, and obesity within a more diverse sample of community-dwelling young people. The researchers also explored shared theoretical risk factors for heavy drinking and overeating, and how these differ across the profiles. Calorie-dense food and alcohol both require little effort to obtain and consume, and each generates immediate and potent experiences of reward in the brain. According to ‘reinforcer pathology’ theory, people who place a high value (‘demand’) on unhealthy items, and who also favor small immediate rewards (such as food and alcohol) over larger delayed rewards (such as health), are at highest risk for overconsumption

People who Use Alcohol and Cannabis Together May Reduce Risks by Choosing Certain Products and Combinations

Young adults who combine alcohol and cannabis use experience fewer negative consequences when they stick with a single type of drink versus consuming multiple types of alcohol, according to a new study. In addition, by avoiding cannabis concentrate they may steady or lower their overall consumption. The findings suggest that for those who choose to sustain their levels of alcohol and cannabis use, judicious choice of products may reduce the risks.

More Young Adults Are Thinking About Suicide and Death, National Survey Finds

More than one-third of young adults in the United States report having thoughts of death and suicide, while nearly half show at least moderate symptoms of depression, according to a nationwide survey led by researchers from Rutgers University–New Brunswick, Harvard Medical School, Northeastern, Harvard and Northwestern universities.

Re-Train Your Brain: Online intervention tackles co-occurring alcohol misuse and social anxiety in young adults

Clinical testing of an online cognitive training intervention for co-occurring alcohol misuse and social anxiety will soon be underway, following successful evaluation of a demo program in young adults. In a study reported in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, researchers assessed the demo’s acceptability and ease-of-use among service providers and target users in Sydney, Australia, with the feedback used to develop and refine the full program.

One-Off Extreme Drinking May Cause Structural Brain Atrophy in Young Adults

A new study suggests that a single episode of extreme drinking in young adults may be linked to almost immediate structural brain atrophy. Adolescence and emerging adulthood are known to represent critical stages for brain development, involving heightened vulnerability to the toxic effects of drinking. Chronic alcohol use among young adults is associated with structural brain abnormalities, especially in the corpus callosum, which transfers information between brain hemispheres — a key function in learning and memory. Preclinical research in rodents suggests that a single drinking episode might result in brain atrophy. However, it was unclear whether and how a single episode of extreme drinking in young adults could affect brain structure. The study, published in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, assessed participants before and after a single episode of extreme drinking — consuming more than four to five alcohol-containing beverages in a single episode — scanning the br

One size does not fit all for young-adult binge-drinkers: Research reveals high-risk clusters that may inform future trajectories and treatment interventions

Young adults who binge drink can be categorized within distinct subgroups based on substance use and mental health symptoms, according to research reported in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. Binge drinking in young people is very common and linked to adverse outcomes including academic underachievement, risky behaviors, alcohol poisoning, other substance use, and harm to the brain. While some ‘age out’ of binge-drinking in their mid-to-late 20s, others continue with harmful patterns of alcohol use. Previous research has shown that other substance use and mental health indicators vary widely among binge-drinking youth, and could help explain the differences in trajectories. It is also important to understand young people’s motivation for drinking alcohol to inform why some people naturally reduce and others persist or worsen. In the new study, researchers sought to identify distinct patterns of drinking, drug use, and mental health symptoms among young binge drinkers, an

Study Affirms That Educational Intervention Before ‘First Sex’ Can Protect Sexual Health Of Black Males And Prevent Unwanted Pregnancies

A new Johns Hopkins Medicine study adds to evidence that the earlier parents, educators and health care workers have age-appropriate and frank discussions about safe sex, the better will be their — and their partners’ — long-term sexual health and development. Specifically, the research concludes, these early interventions can lead to fewer unintended pregnancies.

Who Could Benefit From Exercise and Behavioral Treatment?

Aerobic exercise clearly benefits young adults with major depression, and a Rutgers-led study suggests it may be possible to predict those who would benefit from behavioral therapy with exercise. Unique to this precision medicine study, published in the journal Psychological Medicine, is an assessment of cognitive control and reward-related brain activity, two facets of brain function that are impaired in people with depression. Like previous studies, this one showed that aerobic exercise helps young adults with major depression.

Which Comes First: The Heavy Drinking Young Adult or the Alcohol-Saturated Social Culture?

Heavy-drinking peer groups increase young adults’ desire to drink, according to a study in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. Investigators used behavioral economic theory — the science of how people make choices — to assess motivations for consuming alcohol among a diverse sample of young adult drinkers. Young adults’ motivation to drink alcohol, as well as their likelihood of misusing it, is associated with how it is consumed within their social networks. But it is not well understood how these factors influence each other, and how those effects may vary depending on sex, race, and education level. For example, does the culture of heavy drinking in US colleges drive the high demand for alcohol there, or is alcohol demand high among young adults generally?

New study shows majority of patients do not believe e-cigarettes and vapes impact bone fracture healing

The use of e-cigarettes, vapes and mods have increased as smokers liken these alternatives as healthier and not having the same side effects of traditional cigarettes. Because e-cigarettes are readily available over the internet, unlike the sale of cigarettes, it perpetuates the notion that these are a safer alternative. A new study, “The New Era of Nicotine: Better for Patients?” released as part of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons’ (AAOS) Virtual Education Experience found that smokers and non-smokers believe the use of e-cigarettes and other smoking alternatives have less of an impairment on bone fracture healing than smoking traditional cigarettes, when in fact the nicotine found in both cigarettes and e-cigarettes can impede the healing process.