Peter H Brown Clinical Psychologist

Psychology News & Resources

Now That I’ve Got Your Attention: What Gets Your Attention?

Source: Association for Psychological Science.

Once we learn the relationship between a cue and its consequences—say, the sound of a bell and the appearance of the white ice cream truck bearing our favorite chocolate cone—do we turn our attention to that bell whenever we hear it? Or do we tuck the information away and marshal our resources to learning other, novel cues—a recorded jingle, or a blue truck?

Psychologists observing “attentional allocation” now agree that the answer is both, and they have arrived at two principles to describe the phenomena. The “predictive” principle says we search for meaningful—important—cues amid the “noise” of our environments. The “uncertainty” principle says we pay most attention to unfamiliar or unpredictable cues, which may yield useful information or surprise us with pleasant or perilous consequences.

Animal studies have supplied evidence for both, and research on humans has showed how predictiveness operates, but not uncertainty. “There was a clear gap in the research,” says Oren Griffiths, a research fellow at the University of New South Wales, in Australia. So he, along with Ameika M. Johnson and Chris J. Mitchell, set out to demonstrate the uncertainty principle in humans.

“We showed that people will pay more attention to a stimulus or a cue if its status as a predictor is unreliable,” he says. The study will be published in an upcoming issue of Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

The researchers investigated what is called “negative transfer”—a cognitive process by which a learned association between cue and outcome inhibits any further learning about that cue. We think we know what to expect, so we aren’t paying attention when a different outcome shows up—and we learn that new association more slowly than if the cue or outcome were unpredictable. Negative transfer is a good example of the uncertainty principle at work.

Participants were divided into three groups, and administered the “allergist test.” They observed “Mrs. X” receiving a small piece of fruit—say, apple. Using a scroll bar they predicted her allergic reaction, from none to critical. They then learned that her reaction to the apple was “mild.” Later, when Mrs. X ate the apple, she had a severe reaction which participants also had to learn to predict.

The critical question was how quickly people learned about the severe reaction. Unsurprisingly, if apple was only ever paired with a severe reaction, learning was fast. But what about if apple had previously been shown to be dangerous (i.e. produce a mild allergic reaction)? In this case, learning about the new severe reaction was slow. This is termed the “negative transfer” effect. This effect did not occur, however, when the initial relationship between apple and allergy was uncertain — if, say, apple was sometimes safe to eat. Under these circumstances, the later association between apple and severe allergic reaction was learned rapidly.

Why? “They didn’t know what to expect from the cue, so they had to pay more attention to it,” says Griffiths. “That’s because of the uncertainty principle.”

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June 22, 2011 Posted by | brain, Cognition, Identity, research | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“That’s One Small Step…”: Up To 92% Of Parents Plant Their Child’s First Digital Footprint Before They Are 2 Years Old

It seems like many of our children will no longer have to worry about those embarrassing photos popping up at 16,18th or 21st birthdays anymore. Many of them will have their lives broadcast as they grow via the internet, some before they are even born! The following article, based on research undertaken by internet security company AVG raises some interesting and concerning questions about how we publicly share our childrens’ lives, beginning before they are even old enough to speak, let alone protest…

Digital Birth: Welcome to the Online World

AVG Study Finds a Quarter of Children Have Online Births Before Their Actual Birth Dates

Source:AMSTERDAM–(BUSINESS WIRE)

Uploading prenatal sonogram photographs, tweeting pregnancy experiences, making online photo albums of children from birth, and even creating email addresses for babies – today’s parents are increasingly building digital footprints for their children prior to and from the moment they are born.

“Secondly, it reinforces the need for parents to be aware of the privacy settings they have set on their social network and other profiles. Otherwise, sharing a baby’s picture and specific information may not only be shared with friends and family but with the whole online world.”

Internet security company AVG surveyed mothers in North America (USA and Canada), the EU5 (UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain), Australia/New Zealand and Japan, and found that 81 percent of children under the age of two currently have some kind of digital profile or footprint, with images of them posted online. In the US, 92 percent of children have an online presence by the time they are two compared to 73 percent of children in the EU5.

According to the research, the average digital birth of children happens at around six months with a third (33%) of children’s photos and information posted online within weeks of being born. In the UK, 37 percent of newborns have an online life from birth, whereas in Australia and New Zealand the figure is 41 percent.

Almost a quarter (23%) of children begin their digital lives when parents upload their prenatal sonogram scans to the Internet. This figure is higher in the US, where 34 percent have posted sonograms online, while in Canada the figure is even higher at 37 percent. Fewer parents share sonograms of their children in France (13%), Italy (14%) and Germany (15%). Likewise only 14 percent of parents share these online in Japan.

Seven percent of babies and toddlers have an email address created for them by their parents, and five percent have a social network profile.

When asked what motivates parents to post images of their babies on the Internet, more than 70 percent of all mothers surveyed said it was to share with friends and family. However, more than a fifth (22%) of mothers in the US said they wanted to add more content to their social network profiles, while 18 percent of US mothers said they were simply following their peers.

Lastly, AVG asked mothers how concerned they are (on a scale of one to five with five being very concerned) about the amount of online information available on their children in future years. Mothers were moderately concerned (average 3.5), with Spanish mothers being the most concerned.

 


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According to AVG CEO JR Smith, “It’s shocking to think that a 30-year-old has an online footprint stretching back 1015 years at most, while the vast majority of children today will have online presence by the time they are two-years-old – a presence that will continue to build throughout their whole lives.

“Our research shows that the trend is increasing for a child’s digital birth to coincide with and in many cases pre-date their real birth date. A quarter of babies have sonogram photos posted online before they have even physically entered into the world.

“It’s completely understandable why proud parents would want to upload and share images of very young children with friends and families. At the same time, we urge parents to think about two things:

“First, you are creating a digital history for a human being that will follow him or her for the rest of their life. What kind of footprint do you actually want to start for your child, and what will they think about the information you’ve uploaded in future?

“Secondly, it reinforces the need for parents to be aware of the privacy settings they have set on their social network and other profiles. Otherwise, sharing a baby’s picture and specific information may not only be shared with friends and family but with the whole online world.”

The research was conducted by Research Now among 2200 mothers with young (under two) children during the week of 27 September. Mothers in the EU5 (UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain), Canada, the USA, Australia, New Zealand and Japan were polled.

Key results

1 – Mothers with children aged under two that have uploaded images of their child
Overall – 81%

USA – 92%
Canada – 84%

UK – 81%
France – 74%
Italy – 68%
Germany – 71%
Spain – 71%
(EU573%)

Australia – 84%
New Zealand – 91%
Japan – 43%

2 – Mothers that uploaded images of their newborn
Overall – 33%

USA – 33%
Canada – 37%

UK – 37%
France – 26%
Italy – 26%
Germany – 30%
Spain – 24%
(EU528.6%)

Australia – 41%
New Zealand – 41%
Japan – 19%

3 – Mothers that have uploaded antenatal scans online
Overall – 23%

USA – 34%
Canada – 37%

UK – 23%
France – 13%
Italy – 14%
Germany – 15%
Spain – 24%
(EU520%)

Australia – 26%
New Zealand – 30%
Japan – 14%

4 – Mothers that gave their baby an email address
Overall – 7%

USA – 6%
Canada – 9%

UK – 4%
France – 7%
Italy – 7%
Germany – 7%
Spain – 12%
(EU57%)

Australia – 7%
New Zealand – 4%
Japan – 7%

5 – Mothers that gave their baby a social network profile
Overall – 5%

USA – 6%
Canada – 8%

UK – 4%
France – 2%
Italy – 5%
Germany – 5%
Spain – 7%
(EU55%)

Australia – 5%
New Zealand – 6%
Japan – 8%

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October 13, 2010 Posted by | Child Behavior, Identity, Internet, Parenting, research, Technology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Helicopter Parenting? Why There Are No Medals In The Parenting Olympics

The following is re-posted from Psychcentral’s Dr John M Grohol, and poses some interesting questions about some trends towards over-parenting or “Helicopter Parenting” and it’s possible impacts on our kids. While there are many children who come from situations of parental neglect and laxity, there are also concerns regarding over protection. See what you think about what he has to say…

Let Your Children Be Children

By John M Grohol PsyD

Everyday, the same scene plays itself out across American neighborhoods across the United States. Mothers pull up in their Suburbans and Lexus SUVs at the entrance to their housing development. Even though the families live in perfectly safe, middle-class (or better) neighborhoods, parents feel the need to chauffeur their children the few blocks from the bus stop to home. Why?

This behavior may be understandable if the child is 5 or 6. But at 8 or 10, this behavior is ludicrous and symptomatic of a dangerous infection that has spread throughout this country in the latest generation of parents.

If not stopped, we may end up raising a whole generation or two of children who have little effective life coping skills and no connection or understanding to the world around them.

If you’re around 30 or older, think back to your own childhood. How much time was scheduled by your parents, and how much free time did you have on your own, to do with as you please? You may be surprised at the contrast between the scripted lives you as a parent plan for your children versus your own unscripted, imagination-driven childhood.

Here’s another scene from modern parenting. A child holds their 8th birthday party at a local birthday party place. All the parents not only arrive to drop off their child to attend the party, but also stay to supervise the child during the entire time they are at the party.

This isn’t just one or two worried parents — this appears to be very much the norm in many towns throughout middle-class America now. When it’s time to eat the cake, the birthday song is sung, the cake is cut, and then all the kids sit down at long rows of tables and begin eating. Their parents stand, like a prison lineup, along the outside walls of the room, keeping a close eye on their child.

At the first sign of a child’s conflict, parents are quick to intervene nowadays. “I just want everyone to play nicely,” they may explain. But they’re depriving their child of the opportunity to learn invaluable problem-solving skills. Especially if a child has no siblings, how else are they going to learn such skills except through trial-and-error interaction with their peers?

 

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There are many rationales for these kinds of parenting behaviors. But if we look at some of the most common ones, they all don’t stand up to tests of data, reasoning or logic.

One rationale is safety. “I’ll do anything to protect my child!” Okay, then why are you driving them home from the bus stop a few blocks away? Because statistics show that your child (age 15 years or younger) is 5 to 7 times more likely to die in your car than they are to be abducted by a stranger. And put into perspective, both are highly unlikely occurrences to begin with. With approximately 78 million children in the U.S., only 1,638 children died in car accidents in 2008, compared with only 200 who were abducted by a stranger.

Still another excuse for this behavior is a sense that there’s no reason not to help out our children or placate them with this thing or that. Why not buy them that toy while we’re out shopping for some new clothes? Why not pick them up at the entrance to our housing development?

Because it teaches our children that every outing is a chance for a reward. So much like a mouse in a cage pressing a button to receive a pellet of food, our children can inadvertently learn that any type of outing results in a toy and all of life is just another opportunity for a reward. When a reward isn’t granted, it’s an excuse to act out or punish those who grant the rewards.

Another rationale is wanting to provide our children with all the benefits we didn’t have. If our parents seemed uninterested or didn’t spend as much time with us as we may have wished, we’re going to ensure we’re there every minute for our children.

But somehow this has become twisted to trying to smooth over every life bump our child experiences, so that they experience virtually none at all. By the time they go off to college, they have had only this womb-like protected life that little prepares them for the realities of life — people who treat us badly, failure at something we want to be good at, rejection by others, and honest hardship.

Understandably, there may be times where a parent has good reason to need to pick up their child at their bus-stop, or attend a birthday party with them. But these should be exceptions, not the rule.

 

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If you see yourself in this entry, it’s not too late. I highly recommend one of the following books, either Richard Weissbourd’s The Parents We Mean To Be: How Well-Intentioned Adults Undermine Children’s Moral and Emotional Development or Free Range Kids by Lenore Skenazy. These books talk about the importance of letting children be children, exploring their imagination on their own, on their own unscripted and unscheduled time. The research we have on child development suggests this results not only in happier children, but children who grow up to be more well-adjusted adults.

There is no “right way” to parent (contrary to what the hundreds of parenting books suggest). The right way is to find the way that works for you and your partner, while respecting the needs of your child. Those needs include the need to be connected with nature, to be connected and learn how to interact with other children who aren’t their siblings, with no adults around.

What if your child doesn’t want to play outside or walk from the bus stop? Well, they often don’t want to learn arithmetic or do their chores, and yet we still find a way to have them understand the value of each. And if you’re feeling pressure from other moms, well, now’s the time to take a stand for what you believe in and what the research shows. Your child will thank you in the end.

Children — like adults — learn by doing, as much as they learn through formal teaching. If we take those informal learning opportunities away from our children, we ultimately hurt them while ironically trying to help them. We hurt their ability to learn the way they were intrinsically built to learn — through natural experiences, through interactive experiences with their peers, and through unscripted, unstructured play time.

If you want to help your child today, give them time to be a child.
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Dr. John Grohol is the CEO and founder of Psych Central. He has been writing about online behavior, mental health and psychology issues, and the intersection of technology and psychology since 1992.
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October 8, 2010 Posted by | Bullying, Child Behavior, Internet, Parenting, research, Resilience, stress | , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The “Science” Of Physical Attractiveness: Now You Can Participate In The Research Online

Scientists in Australia and Hong Kong have conducted a comprehensive study to discover how different body measurements correspond with ratings of female attractiveness.

The study, published in the Journal of Evolutionary Biology, found that across cultural divides young, tall and long armed women were considered the most attractive.

You can participate in the ongoing research at www.bodylab.biz The current research online involves the rating of male and /or female body shape and male facial attractiveness.

Physical attractiveness is an important determining factor for evolutionary, social and economic success,” said lead author Robert Brooks from the University of New South Wales. “The dimensions of someone’s body can tell observers if that person is suitable as a potential mate, a long term partner or perhaps the threat they pose as a sexual competitor.”

Traditional studies of attractiveness have been bound to the Darwinian idea of natural selection, which argues that an individual will always choose the best possible mate that circumstances will allow. Such studies have focused on torso, waist, bust and hip measurements. In this study the team measured the attractiveness of scans of 96 bodies of Chinese women who were either students or volunteers, aged between 2049 years of age.

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Videos of the models were shown to a sample of 92 Australian adults, 40 men and 52 women, aged between 18 to 58 years of age, and mostly of European descent. They then compared the attractiveness ratings given by the Australian group to the ratings from a group in Hong Kong to avoid cultural bias.

Both sample groups were asked to rate the models’ attractiveness on a 7 point scale; on average the raters took just 5.35 seconds to rate each model. The team then explored the statistical results, focusing on age, body weight and a range of length and girth measurements.

The results showed that there was a strong level of agreement between the 4 groups of Australian men and women, and Hong Kong men and women, with scans of younger, taller and lighter women being rated as more attractive. Women with narrow waists, especially relative to their height, were also considered much more attractive.

The study also revealed that BMI (Body mass index) and HWR (Hip to waist ratio) were both strong predictors of attractiveness. Scans of taller women who had longer arms were also rated highly, however leg size did not contribute significantly to the ratings.

“Our results showed consistent attractiveness ratings by men and women and by Hong Kong Chinese and Australian raters, suggesting considerable cross cultural consistency,” concluded Brooks. “In part this may be due to shared media experiences. Nonetheless when models are stripped of their most obvious racial and cultural features, the features that make bodies attractive tend to be shared by men and women across cultural divides.”

Brooks and his colleagues have taken their studies of the complexities of male and female attractiveness online at www.bodylab.biz.

Source: Wiley Blackwell

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October 4, 2010 Posted by | Cognition, Intimate Relationshps, Marriage, research, Sex & Sexuality, Social Psychology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Look Both Ways: Keeping Your Kids Safe On Facebook

With a bit of strategic parental guidance, you can educate your kids about the potential hazards of social media and give them the tools they need to protect themselves from online predators, guard their personal information, preserve their online reputation, and avoid suspicious downloads that could harm your PC.

Source: http://www.pcworld.com

Facebook and Kids

An iStrategyLabs study documents the growth rates of Facebook profiles in the United States based on age, gender, location, education level, and interests. The study shows that from January 2009 to January 2010, the 13-to-17-year-old age group grew about 88 percent in the U.S., jumping from about 5.7 million teenage Facebook users to almost 10.7 million. Those figures, of course, don’t include minors who lied about their age upon creating their profile.

Despite a legal requirement that kids must be 13 or older to sign up for Facebook, many younger children are using the service. Because no perfect age-verification system exists, younger kids are able to slip by unnoticed through falsifying their age. (For instance, I have one friend whose 12-year-old daughter listed her birth year as 1991 on Facebook, thereby claiming that she was 19 years old.)

The safety and public-policy teams at Facebook are aware of their young audience, and the site has rolled out privacy settings specifically for the under-18 set. Users between the ages of 13 and 17 get what Facebook’s privacy policy calls a “slightly different experience.” Minors do not have public search listings created for them when they sign up for Facebook, meaning their accounts cannot be found on general search engines outside of Facebook.

The “Everyone” setting is not quite as open for minors as it is for adults. If a minor’s privacy settings are set to “Everyone,” that includes only friends, friends of friends, and people within the child’s verified school or work network. However, the “Everyone” setting still allows adults to search for minors by name and send them friend requests (and vice versa), unless the account owner manually changes that. Also, only people within a minor’s “Friends of Friends” network can message them.

Facebook recently premiered a new location-based service called Places, which has some restrictions for minors as well. Minors can share their location through Places only with people on their Friends lists, even if their privacy settings are set to “Everyone.”

As for the teens who lie about how old they are, Facebook does have a way of verifying age. If, for instance, a 19-year-old is mostly friends with 13- and 14-year-olds, and they seem to be taking lots of photos together, then Facebook might suspect that the user is actually 12 or 13–and then it may flag the user’s page for removal or give the user a warning.

The Basics: Protecting Personal Information

Even with Facebook’s privacy policy for minors, a child’s personal information is still widely on display. A young person’s Facebook account is just the beginning of their online footprint, and they need to take that fact seriously, since it can affect their reputation today and potentially come into play later in life when they’re applying for college and for jobs.

Facebook public-policy representative Nicky Jackson Colaco advises parents to sit down with their kids and talk about the importance of protecting one’s online identity. Maintaining open communication with your children is the key to understanding exactly how they’re using Facebook.

“I’d never send my son onto the football field without pads and knowledge of the game,” Colaco says, “and it’s exactly the same with Facebook.”

If you have a Facebook profile, consider sending your child a friend request–not necessarily as a spying tool, but to remind your child of your own online presence. If you don’t have a Facebook account, ask your child to show you their profile. It helps to familiarize yourself as much as possible with the site’s privacy controls and other settings, because the more you know about Facebook, the better equipped you can be if something serious ever arises.

It’s also a good idea to take a look at your child’s photos and wall posts to make sure they are age appropriate. Remind your child that the Internet in general, but especially Facebook, is not a kids-only zone, and that adults can see what’s on their profile as well. Maintaining an appropriate online presence as a teenager will help your child build a respectable online footprint. Remember: The Internet never forgets.

If your kid really has something to hide, they might make a Facebook profile behind your back, or have one account that’s parent-friendly and a separate account for their friends. If they show you a profile that seems skimpy on content, that could be a red flag. That’s where PC and Web-monitoring tools could come into play (see the “Monitoring Behavior” section on the next page).

Finally, go over Facebook’s privacy settings with your child, and show them how to activate the highest level of security. Emphasize that Facebook is a place for friends and not strangers, and then change their profile to “friends only.” Again, remind your child to be wary of what they post in their status updates, since oversharing online can lead to consequences in the real world.

“As the site gets bigger, it’s important to have everyone working together–us, parents, kids, our safety advisory board–to make sure the site remains a safe place,” Colaco says.

Cyberbullying

The suicides of 13-year-old Megan Meier and 15-year-old Phoebe Prince have brought media attention to the potentially devastating effects of cyberbullying. A study performed as part of the Pew Internet & American Life Project, a division of the Pew Research center, reports that “32 percent of online teens have experienced some sort of harassment via the Internet,” including private material being forwarded without permission, threatening messages, and embarrassing photos posted without their consent.

Report/Block this Person

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The best way to deal with a cyberbully is to report them and block them from your kid’s Facebook profile.

Research performed at the Massachusetts Aggression Reduction Center shows that, while adults are inclined to moderate their online behavior, children and teens are “significantly more willing to ‘go further’ and to type very shocking things that they would never say in person… Kids believe that online statements simply ‘don’t count’ because they’re not being said to someone’s face.”

Because young people tend to believe that they aren’t accountable for their online actions, Facebook becomes a convenient place to target victims for bullying. Although you can’t do much to prevent your child from being bullied online, you can help them end the harassment if it starts.

The MARC Center has several guides offering tips on how to handle cyberbullying, and all of them start with communicating directly with your child–don’t be afraid to get involved. If you think your child is being bullied, advise your child to spend less time on the site in question, or flag the bully by notifying the Website. If the behavior is also happening at school, notify the school’s administrators so that they, too, can get involved.

Facebook also makes it easy to report harassment issues, and encourages users to do so. But what if you find out that your child is the one doing the bullying? Both scenarios are possible, and both should be dealt with.

In a New York Times Q&A session on cyberbullying, expert Elizabeth K. Englander of the MARC Center addresses an approach that parents should take if they discover that their child is the bully. She first recommends that you discuss with your child why cyberbullying is hurtful, and bring up some of the tragic cases of teen suicide related to online harassment. Try to understand that your child could be reacting to pressure from friends, or that your child may be retaliating against someone who hurt their feelings in a similar manner. Although such circumstances don’t excuse the behavior, learning about them could bring a larger issue to your attention.

Finally, establish a set of rules for your teen to follow when using Facebook and other social networking sites, and monitor your child’s usage, perhaps even placing a daily time limit.

Stranger Danger

Earlier this year, 33-year-old Peter Chapman was sentenced to life in prison for kidnapping, raping, and murdering a 17-year-old girl he met through Facebook. Chapman, a registered sex offender, had created a fake profile and pretended to be 17 years old to gain the victim’s trust.

Report a sex offender

If you or your child encounters a known sex offender on Facebook, report that person right away. Facebook has a special form for this.

Despite Facebook’s valiant efforts to rid its site of online predators, the system isn’t foolproof. The site has banned convicted sex offenders from joining, and in 2008 all of the known sex offenders already on the site were removed. However, considering the case of Peter Chapman, predators are still finding ways to cheat the system.

As mentioned earlier, you can limit privacy settings so that your child is directly interacting only with people they know–and more important, you can hide information such as your child’s age, school, and full name from people who are not direct friends.

Stress to your child the importance of avoiding people they do not know in real life. Even if the stranger’s profile says that they are the same age as your child and that they go to a nearby school, the profile could be a decoy. Your child can report to Facebook any stranger who tries to contact them or engage in inappropriate activity.

Third-Party Applications

Many third-party applications on Facebook are aimed directly at teens–often they involve games, establishing crushes, or sprucing up profiles. But many kids don’t quite grasp that these Facebook components are not actually created by Facebook, and that therefore they have different terms of service.

Request for Permission

Be sure to explain to your kids that apps can’t use their profile without permission, and make sure they know what they’re allowing.

Even worse, some of these external downloads could contain malware. Sunbelt Software has reported several suspicious Facebook scams, from a Texas Hold’em poker app containing adware to various phishing scams under similar disguises.

Make sure you have an up-to-date antivirus program and ad-blocking software that could catch these threats. Talk to your kids about skimming through the terms of service and privacy policies for applications before they accept the download. Also advise them never to open a link posted on their wall from someone they don’t know–it could point to a malicious site.

Monitoring Behavior

If you want to keep a more watchful eye on your kids’ online behavior, you can use any of several effective tools.

SafetyWeb is an online service geared toward parents who wish to keep tabs on what their kids are doing online. It checks across 45 different social networking sites to see if your child has a registered public profile, and it monitors those accounts for any potentially threatening activities. Monitored platforms include Facebook, Flickr, MySpace, Twitter, and YouTube. It also recognizes LiveJournal as a social network and will monitor that site, but it has yet to include other blogging platforms such as Tumblr.

SafetyWeb

SafetyWeb monitors your child’s online activity for you, so you’re not in the dark about their accounts and activities.

The service will notify you, the parent, if your child has posted anything potentially unsafe or inappropriate, within categories related to drugs and alcohol, sex, depression, profanity, and cyberbullying. That way, you can check your child’s public activity without having to join every site or read every post they make.

McGruff Safeguard software takes online monitoring a step further: It can record every move your child makes on the Internet, covering everything from instant-message logs to search terms on Google. Parents can keep a close eye on their children and discuss any behavior found to be dangerous or inappropriate.

Whether you use a software monitoring tool or not, experts agree that having regular conversations with your children about their online usage is the most important element to keeping them safe and aware of the dangers of the Web.

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October 1, 2010 Posted by | Adolescence, Books, Bullying, Child Behavior, Girls, Identity, Internet, Parenting, research, Technology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Under Pressure: Why We “Choke” At The Critical Moment

A star golfer misses a critical putt; a brilliant student fails to ace a test; a savvy salesperson blows a key presentation. Each of these people has suffered the same bump in mental processing: They have just choked under pressure.

Credit: and Source: ScienceDaily

It’s tempting to dismiss such failures as “just nerves.” But to University of Chicago psychologist Sian Beilock, they are preventable results of information logjams in the brain. By studying how the brain works when we are doing our best — and when we choke — Beilock has formulated practical ideas about how to overcome performance lapses at critical moments.

“Choking is suboptimal performance, not just poor performance. It’s a performance that is inferior to what you can do and have done in the past and occurs when you feel pressure to get everything right,” said Beilock, an associate professor in psychology.

Preventing choking in sports Some of the most spectacular and memorable moments of choking occur in sports when the whole world is watching. Many remember golfer Greg Norman’s choke at the 1996 U.S. Masters. Norman had played brilliantly for the first three days of the tournament, taking a huge lead. But on the final day, his performance took a dive, and he ended the Masters five shots out of first place.

Choking in such cases happens when the polished programs executed by the brains of extremely accomplished athletes go awry. In “Choke,” Beilock recounts famous examples of these malfunctions in the context of brain science to tell the story of why people choke and what can be done to alleviate it.

Thinking too much about what you are doing, because you are worried about losing the lead (as in Norman’s case) or worrying about failing in general, can lead to “paralysis by analysis.” In a nutshell, paralysis by analysis occurs when people try to control every aspect of what they are doing in an attempt to ensure success.

Unfortunately, this increased control can backfire, disrupting what was once a fluid, flawless performance.

“My research team and I have found that highly skilled golfers are more likely to hole a simple 3-foot putt when we give them the tools to stop analyzing their shot, to stop thinking,” Beilock said. “Highly practiced putts run better when you don’t try to control every aspect of performance.” Even a simple trick of singing helps prevent portions of the brain that might interfere with performance from taking over, Beilock’s research shows.

Preventing choking on tests and in business The brain also can work to sabotage performance in ways other than paralysis by analysis. For instance, pressure-filled situations can deplete a part of the brain’s processing power known as working memory, which is critical to many everyday activities.

Beilock’s work has shown the importance of working memory in helping people perform their best, in academics and in business. Working memory is lodged in the prefrontal cortex and is a sort of mental scratch pad that is temporary storage for information relevant to the task at hand, whether that task is doing a math problem at the board or responding to tough, on-the-spot questions from a client. Talented people often have the most working memory, but when worries creep up, the working memory they normally use to succeed becomes overburdened. People lose the brain power necessary to excel.

One example is the phenomenon of “stereotype threat.” This is when otherwise talented people don’t perform up to their abilities because they are worried about confirming popular cultural myths that contend, for instance, that boys and girls naturally perform differently in math or that a person’s race determines his or her test performance.

Beilock’s research is the basis of her new book, “Choke: What the Secrets of the Brain Reveal About Getting it Right When You Have To,” published Sept. 21 by Simon and Schuster, Free Press.

In Choke, Beilock describes research demonstrating that high-achieving people underperform when they are worried about confirming a stereotype about the racial group or gender to which they belong. These worries deplete the working memory necessary for success. The perceptions take hold early in schooling and can be either reinforced or abolished by powerful role models.

In one study, researchers gave standardized tests to black and white students, both before and after President Obama was elected. Black test takers performed worse than white test takers before the election. Immediately after Obama’s election, however, blacks’ performance improved so much that their scores were nearly equal with whites. When black students can overcome the worries brought on by stereotypes, because they see someone like President Obama who directly counters myths about racial variation in intelligence, their performance improves.

Beilock and her colleagues also have shown that when first-grade girls believe that boys are better than girls at math, they perform more poorly on math tests. One big source of this belief? The girls’ female teachers. It turns out that elementary school teachers are often highly anxious about their own math abilities, and this anxiety is modeled from teacher to student. When the teachers serve as positive role models in math, their male and female students perform equally well.

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Meditation and practice can help Even when a student is not a member of a stereotyped group, tests can be challenging for the brightest people, who can clutch if anxiety taps out their mental resources. In that instance, relaxation techniques can help.

In tests in her lab, Beilock and her research team gave people with no meditation experience 10 minutes of meditation training before they took a high-stakes test. Students with meditation preparation scored 87, or B+, versus the 82 or B- score of those without meditation training. This difference in performance occurred despite the fact that all students were of equal ability.

Stress can undermine performance in the world of business, where competition for sales, giving high-stakes presentations or even meeting your boss in the elevator are occasions when choking can squander opportunities.

Practice helps people navigate through these tosses on life’s ocean. But, more importantly, practicing under stress — even a moderate amount — helps a person feel comfortable when they find themselves standing in the line of fire, Beilock said. The experience of having dealt with stress makes those situations seem like old hat. The goal is to close the gap between practice and performance.

A person also can overcome anxiety by thinking about what to say, not what not to say, said Beilock, who added that staying positive is always a good idea.

“Think about the journey, not the outcome,” Beilock advised. “Remind yourself that you have the background to succeed and that you are in control of the situation. This can be the confidence boost you need to ace your pitch or to succeed in other ways when facing life’s challenges.”

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September 27, 2010 Posted by | anxiety, Books, brain, Cognition, Positive Psychology, research, Resilience | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Don’t Say “Don’t Panic”: How To Help Someone With A Panic Disorder

Credit: From , former About.com Guide

The Experience of Recurring Panic Attacks

To understand panic disorder with agoraphobia, we must first talk about panic attacks. Sudden and recurring panic attacks are the hallmark symptoms of panic disorder. If you have never had recurring panic attacks, it may be hard to understand the difficulties your friend or loved one is going through. During a panic attack, the body’s alarm system is triggered without the presence of actual danger. The exact cause of why this happens is not known, but it is believed that there is a genetic and/or biological component.

Sufferers often use the terms fear, terror and horror to describe the frightening symptoms of a full-blown panic attack. But even these frightening words can’t convey the magnitude of the consuming nature of panic disorder. The fear becomes so intense that the thought of having another panic attack is never far from conscious thought. Incessant worry and feelings of overwhelming anxiety may become part of your loved one’s daily existence.

These Intense Symptoms Must Mean Something…Something Terrible

At the onset of panic disorder, your loved one may be quite certain they are suffering from a heart condition or other life-threatening illness. This may mean trips to the nearest emergency room and intensive testing to rule out physical disease. But, even when he or she is assured that these symptoms are not life-threatening, it does little to put his or her mind at ease. The feelings experienced during panic attacks are so overwhelming and uncontrollable, sufferers are convinced they are going to die or are going crazy.

A New Way of Life Emerges: Fear and Avoidance

So frightening are the symptoms of panic disorder, that your loved one may go to any and all lengths to avoid another attack from occurring. This may include many avoidant types of behavior and the development of agoraphobia. But, despite the efforts to avoid another panic episode, the attacks continue without rhyme or reason. There is no place to escape, and the sufferer becomes a prisoner of an insidious and illogical fear. Without appropriate treatment, your loved one may become so disabled that he or she is unable to leave his or her home at all.

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Self Image Is Redefined

At times, we’ve all experienced nervousness, anxiousness, fear and, perhaps, even terror or horror. But in the midst of a catastrophic event, we understand these symptoms. Once the event is over, so, too, are the symptoms. But, imagine reliving these symptoms over and over again, without any warning or explanation.

This type of fear is life-changing. As abilities become inabilities, things once taken for granted, like going to into a store, become anxiety-filled events. Some enjoyable activities, like going to concerts or movies, may be avoided altogether. It is not uncommon for sufferers to experience a sense of shame, weakness and embarrassment as their self-image is redefined by fear.

Panic disorder is not just being nervous or anxious. Panic disorder is not just about the fear, terror and horror experienced during a full-blown panic attack because it does not end when the panic subsides. It is a disorder that is quick to invade and can alter one’s very essence, redefine one’s abilities and take over every aspect of one’s life.

Your Role As A Support Person

As a support person, you can play an important role in your loved one’s recovery process. Understanding what panic disorder is, and what it is not, will help you on this journey. Author Ken Strong provides a lot of information for supporting a person with panic disorder in his book, Anxiety:The Caregivers, Third Edition.

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September 10, 2010 Posted by | anxiety, brain, Cognition, depression, research, stress | , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Sleep Well: Why You Need To Fight For Good Sleep

A collection of studies published last Wednesday in the journal Sleep tackled some important questions: What are the health effects of not getting enough sleep? How does sleep deprivation affect teens? Does insomnia have long-term consequences?

Credit: Time Magazine

Given that past research has shown that short sleepers (and unusually long sleepers) die younger than people who get 6.5 to 7.5 hours per night, a new Penn State study looked at the impact of insomnia on mortality. The consequences could be dire: the study of 1,741 men and women in Pennsylvania found that insomniac men who slept less than 6 hours per day were four times more likely to die than those who got a full night’s rest. The study even adjusted for other medical conditions that affect sleep (and death rates), such as obesity, alcohol and depression. Of note, sleep deprivation did not affect women’s mortality.

In another study in Sleep, University of Sydney researchers focused on adolescents and young adults who weren’t getting enough sleep — an increasingly common problem among the digital generation, who stays up late plugged into their computers and smart phones. Turns out, burning the midnight oil can have long-term consequences. Researchers found that for each hour of lost sleep, levels of psychological distress rose by 5% in nearly 3,000 17-to-24-year-olds who were followed for 12 to 18 months. Overall, short sleepers were 14% more likely to report symptoms of psychological distress on a standard test, compared with people who got adequate sleep. The effect was especially pronounced among young people who already suffered from anxiety; in this group, lack of sleep triggered more serious mental health problems like full-blown depression and even bipolar disorder, according to the study’s lead author, Professor Nick Glozier. But even among those who began the study in good health, less than five hours of sleep meant tripling their odds of psychological distress.

A third Sleep study this week found that teens who didn’t get enough z’s consumed more calories than their well-rested peers. The study of 240 adolescents, average age 18, revealed that teenagers who slept less than 8 hours a night on weeknights ate 2% more calories from fat per day and 3% more calories from carbs than teens who slept longer. They also tended to get their calories from snacks instead of healthful meals. Cumulatively, this behavior increases the risk of obesity and, in turn, the chances of developing cardiovascular disease later in life.

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The American Academy of Sleep Medicine suggests that adults get an average of seven to eight hours of sleep per night, while the National Sleep Foundation recommends that adolescents need at least 8.5 hours, though only 15% of them get enough.

“Sleep disorders are common in the general population and even more so in clinical practice, yet are relatively poorly understood by doctors and other health care practitioners,” wrote Sue Wilson, the lead author of new guidelines published today by the British Association of Psychopharmacology to help doctors treat insomnia and other sleep disorders. Her advice: get a diagnosis from a sleep specialist for patients, then try behavioral therapy to improve their sleep before jumping to prescription medication. Most of all, pay attention to who you are treating: postmenopausal women might need hormone therapy, small children with ADHD might require melatonin treatment.

And if you suffer from disordered sleep patterns, consider these tips from the National Sleep Foundation:

Avoid caffeine. Tea, coffee, soda and energy drinks can keep you awake for up to 12 hours. Instead, when your mid-afternoon slump hits, try an energizing snack like nuts or yogurt.

Nest. Make your bed as comfortable as possible. Keep your sleep environment dark, cool and work-free.

Establish a routine. About an hour before bedtime, start a nightly relaxation routine that can include reading, taking a bath or anything else that soothes you. Complete all exercise at least three hours before bedtime. Don’t look at screens before you go to sleep, which can stimulate your brain.

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September 7, 2010 Posted by | Adolescence, Age & Ageing, anxiety, Cognition, Exercise, Health Psychology, research | , , | 3 Comments

Fathers: What Does Recent Research Show?

Once again, in the lead up Fathers Day in Australia this Sunday, here is some information about some of the recent research on the role of fathers in parenting.

Credit: The Fatherhood Institute

Fathers and child development

Before we specifically look at fathers’ involvement in and influence on children’s education and learning, it’s important to understand fathers’ influence on the ‘whole child’, since characteristics such as self-esteem, self-regulation, self-efficacy and locus of control1 are emerging as key predictors of children’s educational and other attainment.

Since 1975, an increasingly sophisticated body of research has been charting the pathways through which fathers2 influence their children’s development.

For example, a systematic review of studies which took account of mothers’ involvement and gathered data from different independent sources3, found ‘positive’ father involvement associated with a range of desirable outcomes for children and young people. These included: better peer relationships; fewer behaviour problems; lower criminality and substance abuse; higher educational / occupational mobility relative to parents’; capacity for empathy; non-traditional attitudes to earning and childcare; more satisfying adult sexual partnerships; and higher self-esteem, life-satisfaction and ‘locus of control’ – that is, (Pleck & Masciadrelli, 2004). Other substantial studies and reviews (Sarkadi et al, 2008; Flouri, 2005) have delivered similar findings. All this is relevant to children’s educational outcomes, since ‘better functioning’ in life in general tends to correlate with attainment.

Of course, fathers, like mothers, can also influence their children’s development in negative ways – and this is now recognised to be a very important reason for engaging with them. Low levels of father involvement are associated with a range of negative outcomes in children (for review, see Flouri, 2005). Poor outcomes in children are also found where fathers parent in negative ways or are seriously troubled themselves (for review, see Lloyd et al, 2003). Poor outcomes in children are also associated with their fathers’ substance misuse (Velleman, 2004, p.188) and with fathers’ abuse of their children’s mothers (Jaffee et al, 1990)4

It has often been argued that no father is better than a bad father. That can of course be true – just as no mother can be better than a bad mother. However, seeking to improve fathers’ behaviour should be the first port of call, since ‘ending’ the father-child relationship generally brings its own problems, and many fathers, once they are engaged with, can change their behaviour in a positive direction. And when children do not see their fathers, or do not see them very much, they tend to demonise or idealise them (Kraemer, 2005; Gorrell Barnes et al, 1998) or blame themselves for their absence (Pryor & Rodgers, 2001). Being ‘without my dad’ causes most children and young people a lot of distress, anger and self-doubt (Fortin et al, 2006; Laumann-Billings & Emery, 1998); and can contribute to difficulties with peer relationships, including bullying (Parke et al, 2004; Berdondini & Smith, 1996). And when fathers’ absence leaves mothers more stressed because they are struggling to parent alone or because they have less money, then children suffer again (McLanahan, 1997; McLanahan & Teitler, 1999).

Levels/trends in fathers’ involvement in their children’s learning

US research (National Center for Fathering, 2009) reports that while 32% of fathers never visit their child’s classroom and 54% never volunteer at school, the trend for their involvement is upward. Over the past 10 years the percentage of fathers taking their child to school has risen from 38% to 54%; attending class events from 28% to 35%; visiting their child’s classroom from 30% to 41% and volunteering at their child’s school from 20% to 28%. Attending parent-teacher conferences is up from 69% to 77%; attending school meetings from 28% to 35%; and attending school-based parents’ meetings from 47% to 59%.

While similar ‘trend’ data are not yet gathered in the UK, in Scotland the South Lanarkshire ‘Father Figures’ online survey of 177 men (Henderson, 2007) has delivered some baseline data: 86% of the respondent fathers said they read books/newspapers with their children at home; 60% claimed to help with their child’s homework or schoolwork ‘often’, with only 3% ‘never’ helping with this; 77% ‘often’ went to parents’ night, with only 3% ‘never’ attending; only 3% of respondents ‘rarely’ or ‘never’ read their child’s school report card; and only 12% ‘rarely’ or ‘never’ attended their child’s school show.

Another 2007 UK survey (Peters et al, 2008) found that 70% of co-resident fathers and 81% of non-resident parents (mainly men) wanted to be more involved in their children’s education. Mothers were only marginally more likely than fathers (53% compared to 45%) to say they felt ‘very involved’ in their child’s education.

While fathers in all developed countries are less involved than mothers both in their children’s educational settings and in educational activities at home (for review, see Clark, 2009), in many instances his may be related less to gender than to work commitments: Peters et al (2008) found that while fathers overall were helping with homework less often than mothers there were no differences between mothers and fathers who worked full time. Similarly, Williams et al 2002) found 24% of full-time working fathers (compared with 26% of full-time working mothers) reporting feeling very involved in their child’s school life; and 14% of full-time working fathers (compared with 16% of full-time working mothers) helping out in classrooms.

It seems that fathers are involved more often than mothers in specific types of activities in their children’s out of school learning: such as building and repairing, hobbies, IT, maths and physical play (Goldman, 2005).

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Fathers’ involvement and children’s educational attainment

Helping fathers be the ‘best fathers they can be’ is clearly of enormous importance to children; and positive outcomes in terms of children’s learning and achievement at school can be traced quite clearly to the quality of their fathers’ engagement with them. Just as poor parenting by fathers (and mothers) is associated with lower educational attainment by their children, so fathers’ affection, support, warm-but-firm parenting style and high levels of ‘parental sensitivity’5 are strongly related to their children’s better educational outcomes. For example:

  • “School readiness” in young children is associated with high levels of paternal sensitivity, over and above mothers’ sensitivity (Campbell & von Stauffenberg, 2008)
  • Fathers’ support for their children’s autonomy has been found (controlling for a range of variables) to be significantly and uniquely associated with higher levels of reading and mathematics achievement among Grade 3 boys (NICHD, 2008).

Several reliable studies have shown high levels of interest by a father in his child’s schooling and education, his high expectations for their achievement and his greater direct involvement in their learning, education and schools to be associated with their better educational outcomes. These include: better exam / test / class results; higher levels of educational qualification; greater progress at school; better attitudes towards school (e.g. enjoyment); higher educational expectations; and better behaviour at school (e.g. reduced risk of suspension or expulsion). And these outcomes do not derive from the school-involved fathers already being richer or better educated. Whatever the father’s socio-economic level, his high involvement paid off.6

One high quality study demonstrated that a father’s interest in his child’s education is one of the most important factors governing the qualifications he or she will grow up to have in adult life – more important than family background, the child’s individual personality, or poverty. It may well be that the time fathers actually spend with their children on homework and schooling could be more important for their eventual success than the money they bring into the household (for review see Goldman, 2005).

Here are some specific findings:

  • A UK survey (Clark et al, 2009) reports children and young people claiming their fathers are the second most important people in their lives to inspire reading (second only to mothers).
  • Frequency of fathers’ reading to 12 year olds is linked with their greater interest in books later (Lyytinen et al, 1998).
  • A significant relationship is found between positive father engagement at age 6, and IQ and educational achievement at age 7 (Gottfried et al, 1988).
  • A father’s own education level is an important predictor of his child’s educational achievement7.
  • English fathers’ involvement with their children (at ages 7 and 11) correlates with better national examination performance at age 16 (Lewis et al, 1982).
  • US fathers’ involvement in routine childcare has been associated with children’s higher school grades (Hoffman & Youngblade, 1999).8
  • Low paternal interest in children’s education has a stronger negative impact on children’s lack of qualifications than contact with the police, poverty, family type, social class, housing tenure and child’s personality (Blanden, 2006).

Findings vary as to the relative importance of mothers’ v. fathers’ influence on educational attainment, with no consistent pattern emerging from the research evidence.9

The following studies have charted more powerful influence from fathers than mothersin specific circumstances, although it must be remembered that the quality of these studies varies, and results may be specific to time and place:

In low income communities, fathers’ influence has been found to be more significant than mothers’ for boys’ (but not girls’) escape from disadvantage.10

However, in a wider sample of children born in 1970, fathers’ interest in their children’s educational outcomes when those children were aged 10 predicted educational attainment in their 26 year old daughters, but not their sons (Flouri, 2006).

Fathers exert greater influence than mothers on boys’ educational choices.11

Fathers’ risk-avoidance behaviour12 has a positive impact on sons’ (but not daughters’) educational attainment (Yeung, 2004).

Fathers’ income predicts sons’ (but not daughters’) years of schooling (Yeung, 2004).

In hierarchical communities, fathers’ influence may be more powerful on children of both sexes.13

While within-gender variation is enormous, and parents’ vocabulary use is far more powerfully affected by their education level than their sex, some studies suggest that fathers’ verbal interactions with their children may differ from mothers’; and that this may sometimes be to their children’s advantage. Fathers have been found to use different words with their children (Pancsofar & Vernon-Feagans, 2006); and also more abstract words (Lamb & Tamis-LeMonda, 2004). Topics may also vary by gender, with mothers referring more frequently to emotions (this was found to predict children’s emotional understanding) and fathers more often using causal explanatory language, which predicated their children’s theory of mind (LaBounty et al, 2008).

Footnotes

1 The belief that one can control much of what happens to oneself in life

2 Although biological fathers are of unique important to children – being one of the ‘two people who made me’ – ‘fathers’ in this report are defined widely to include father-figures and other males who are of significance to children in their care.

3 This is really important, as it helps isolate fathers’ influence from other influences.

4 None of this research shows that fathers are a more negative influence on children than mothers are (see Leinonen et al, 2003).

5 Fathers who exhibit ‘parental sensitivity’ generally function as a supportive presence, respect their children’s autonomy and exhibit low levels hostility towards them. This is more often found in men who were older when they first became fathers, hold less traditional child rearing beliefs and report more intimacy with their children’s mothers (NICHD, 2000).

6 McBride et al (2004) found father involvement in school settings mediates the relationship between school, family and neighbourhood factors and academic outcomes. This study is particularly interesting in that it not only looked at fathers’ involvement in terms of activities (‘volunteering’, ‘going on school trips’) but also measured frequency of fathers’ ‘talks with school officials’ as well as their ‘talks with the child’ about events and activities at school. All were associated with better child achievement (see also McBride et al, 2005).

7 While there may be a small genetic effect, the main reason is likely to be that a father’s education affects his behaviour in ways that are vital to his child’s cognitive development, as well as impacting on the material and educational resources he can provide (Yeung, 2004).

8 Fathers’ co-parenting behavior (defined as sharing similar attitudes with mothers toward childrearing practices and resolving family conflicts in a calm way that makes good use of compromise) may in part explain these findings: Yeung (2004) found a one point of increase in fathers’ co-parenting behaviour associated with an almost four-point increase in children’s test scores. Fathers’ co-parenting behaviour was second only to their education level in predicting good educational outcomes for children – and both proved more important than fathers’ income (Yeung, 2004).

9 In some studies fathers are found to be more influential; in others, mothers; and in yet others, parental influence seems to be equivalent.

10 For boys born into poverty, this high quality longitudinal UK study (which controlled for a range of factors, including mother’s interest in education) found having a father with little or no interest in his education reduced boys’ chances of escaping poverty by 25% (Blanden, 2006).

11 Dryler (1998). Mothers’ influence is more powerful for daughters.

12 Such as wearing seatbelts, having savings, and having car insurance.

13 Ang (2006) found Asian fathers’ (but not mothers’) approval, closeness and sympathy with their children associated with positive teacher-child relationships for both boys and girls.

REFERENCES

Ang, R.P. (2006). Fathers do matter: evidence from an Asian school-based aggressive sample. American Journal of Family Therapy, 34, 7993.

Berdondini, L., & Smith, P.K. (1996). Cohesion and power in the families of children involved in bully-victim problems at school: an Italian replication, Journal of Family Therapy, 18, 99102.

Blanden, J. (2006). ‘Bucking the trend’: What enables those who are disadvantaged in childhood to succeed later in life? Working Paper No 31 Corporate Document Services. London: Department for Work and Pensions.

Clark, C. (2009). Why fathers matter to their children’s literacy. London: National Literacy Trust.

Clark, C., Osborne, S. & Dugdale, G. (2009). Reaching out with role models. London: National Literacy Trust.

Dryler, H. (1998). Parental role models, gender and educational choice. British Journal of Sociology, 49(3), 375398.

Flouri, E. (2005). Fathering & Child Outcomes. Chichester, West Sussex: John Wiley & Sons.

Flouri, E. (2006). Parental interest in children’s education, children’s self-esteem and locus of control, and later educational attainment: Twenty-six year follow-up of the 1970 British birth cohort. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 76, 4155.

Fortin, J., Ritchie, C., & Buchanan, A. (2006). Young adults’ perceptions of court-ordered contact. Child and Family Law Quarterly, 18(2), 211229.

Goldman, R. (2005). Fathers’ Involvement in their Children’s Education. London: National Family and Parenting Institute.

Gorrell Barnes, G., Thompson, P., Daniel, G., & Burchardt, N. (1998). Growing up in Stepfamilies. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Guterman, N.B., & Lee, Y. (2005). The role of fathers in risk for physical child abuse and neglect: possible pathways and unanswered questions. Child Maltreatment, 10(2), 136149.

Henderson, R. (2007). Father Figures Survey. Hamilton: South Lanarkshire Home School Partnership, Council Offices

Hoffman, L.W., & Youngblade, L.M. (1999). Mothers at work: Effects on children’s well-being. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Jaffee, S.R., Wolfe, D. & Wilson, S. (1990). Children of Battered Women. London: Sage Publications.

Kraemer, S. (2005): Narratives of fathers and sons: there is no such thing as a father. In A. Vetere & E. Dowling (eds.), Narrative Therapies with Children and their Families: A Practitioners Guide to Concepts and Approaches. London: Brunner/Routledge.

LaBounty, J., Wellman, H. M., Olson, S., Lagattuta, K. & Liu, D. (2008). Mothers’ “and” fathers’ use of internal state talk with their young children. Social Development, 17, 757775.

Lamb, M.E. & Tamis-LeMonda, C.S. (2004). The role of the father. In M.E. Lamb (ed.), The role of the father in child development (pp. 131). New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons.

Laumann-Billings, L.L., & Emery, R.E. (1998). Young adults’ painful feelings about parental divorce. Unpublished paper, University of Virginia.

Leinonen, J.A., Solantaus, T.S., & Punamaki, R.-L. (2003). Parental mental health and children’s mental health adjustment: the quality of marital interaction and parenting as mediating factors. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 44, 227241.

Lewis, C., Newson, L J., & Newson, E. (1982). Father participation through childhood. In N. Beail & J. McGuire (eds.)., Fathers: Psychological Perspectives. London: Junction.

Lloyd, N., O’Brien, M., & Lewis, C. (2003). Fathers in Sure Start Local Programmes. Report 04 National Evaluation of Sure Start. London: Birkbeck, University of London.

Lyytinen, P., Laasko, M., & Poikkeus, S. (1998). Parental contribution to child’s early language and interest in books. European Journal of Psychology of Education, 13, 297308.

McBride, B.A., Schoppe-Sullivan S.J., & Ho, M.H. (2005). The mediating role of fathers’ school involvement on students’ achievement. Applied Developmental Psychology, 26, 201216.

McBride, C.M., Baucom, D.H., Peterson, B.L. Pollack, K.I., Palmer, C., Westman, E. et al (2004). Prenatal and postpartum smoking abstinence: a partner-assisted approach. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 27(3), 232238.

McLanahan, S.S. (1997). Paternal absence or poverty: which matters more? In G. Duncan & J. Brooks-Gunn (eds.), Consequences of Growing Up Poor. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.

McLanahan, S., & Teitler, J. (1999). The consequences of father absence. In M.E. Lamb (ed.), Parenting and Child Development in ‘Nontraditional Families’. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

National Center for Fathering (2009). Survey of fathers’ involvement in their children’s learning. View the summary

NICHD Early Child Care Research Network. (2000). Factors associated with fathers’ caregiving activities and sensitivity with young children. Journal of Family Psychology, 14.

NICHD Early Child Care Research Network. (2008). Mothers’ and fathers’ support for child autonomy and early school achievement. Developmental Psychology, 44 (4).

Pancsofar, N. and Vernon-Feagans, L. (2006), Mother and father language input to young children: contributions to later language development. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 27, 571587.

Parke, R.D., Dennis, J., Flyr, J.L., Morris, K.L., Killian, C., McDowell, D.J., et al (2004). Fathering and children’s peer relationships. In M.E. Lamb (ed.), The Role of the Father in Child Development (4th ed.). Hoboken NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

Peters, M., Seeds, K., Goldstein, A. & Coleman, N. (2008). Parental Involvement in Children’s Education 2007. Research Report. DCSF RR034.

Pleck, J.H., & Masciadrelli, B.P. (2004). Paternal Involvement by U.S. residential fathers: levels, sources and consequences. In M.E. Lamb (ed.), The Role of the Father in Child Development (4th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

Pryor, J., & Rodgers, B. (2001). Children in Changing Families: life after parental separation. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers.

Sarkadi, A., Kristiansson, R., Oberklaid, F., & Bremberg, S. (2008).Fathers’ involvement and children’s developmental outcomes: a systematic review of longitudinal studies. Acta Paediatrica 97(2), 153158.

Velleman, R. (2004). Alcohol and drug problems in parents: an overview of the impact on children and implications for practice. In M. Gopfert, J. Webster & M.V. Seeman (eds.), Parental Psychiatric Disorder: distressed parents and their families (2nd ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Washbrook, L. (2007). Fathers, Childcare and Children’s Readiness to Learn. Working Paper No. 07/175. Bristol: University of Bristol.

Williams, B., Williams, J. & Ullman, A. (2002). Parental involvement in education. RR 332. London: DfES.

Yeung, W.J. (2004). Fathers: an overlooked resource for children’s school success. In D. Conley & K. Albright (eds.), After the Bell: Solutions Outside the School. London: Routledge.

© The Fatherhood Institute, January 2009

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September 3, 2010 Posted by | Adolescence, Books, Child Behavior, Education, Girls, Parenting, research | 1 Comment