Peter H Brown Clinical Psychologist

Psychology News & Resources

Teen Myths Busted: New Science Reveals That Common Assumptions Are Wrong

A new book, The Teen Years Explained: A Guide to Healthy Adolescent Development, dispels many common myths about adolescence with the latest scientific findings on the physical, emotional, cognitive, sexual and spiritual development of teens. [Book is available for download through the Center of Adolescent Health website at Johns Hopkins Center for Adolescent Health (CURRENTLY FREE).] Authors Clea McNeely and Jayne Blanchard from the Center for Adolescent Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, provide useful tips and strategies for real-life situations and experiences from bullying, to nutrition and sexuality.

Created in partnership with an alliance of youth-serving professionals, The Teen Years Explained is science-based and accessible. The practical and colorful guide to healthy adolescent development is an essential resource for parents and all people who work with young people.

“Whether you have five minutes or five hours, you will find something useful in the guide,” said McNeely. “We want both adults and young people to understand the changes – what is happening and why – so everyone can enjoy this second decade of life.”

Popular Myths about Teenagers:

Myth: Teens are bigger risk-takers and thrill-seekers than adults. Fact: Teens perceive more risk than adults do in certain areas, such as the chance of getting into an accident if they drive with a drunk driver.

Myth: Young people only listen to their friends. Fact: Young people report that their parents or a caring adult are their greatest influence – especially when it comes to sexual behavior.

Myth: Adolescents live to push your buttons. Fact: Adolescents may view conflict as a way of expressing themselves, while adults take arguments personally.

Myth: When you’re a teenager, you can eat whatever you want and burn it off. Fact: Obesity rates have tripled for adolescents since 1980.

Myth: Teens don’t need sleep. Fact: Teens need as much sleep or more than they got as children – 9 to 10 hours is optimum.

Three years in the making, the guide came about initially at the request of two of the Center’s partners, the Maryland Mentoring Partnership and the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, who felt there was a need in the community for an easily navigated and engaging look at adolescent development.

“Add The Teen Years Explained to the ‘must-read’ list,” said Karen Pittman, director of the Forum for Youth Investment. “In plain English, the book explains the science behind adolescent development and challenges and empowers adults to invest more attention and more time to young people.”

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The Teen Years Explained: A Guide to Healthy Adolescent Development will be available for purchase on April 10 through Amazon.com. Electronic copies will also be available for download through the Center of Adolescent Health website atJohns Hopkins Center for Adolescent Health (CURRENTLY FREE).

The Center for Adolescent Health is a Prevention Research Center at the Bloomberg School of Public Health funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that is committed to assisting urban youth in becoming healthy and productive adults. Together with community partners, the Center conducts research to identify the needs and strengths of young people, and evaluates and assists programs to promote their health and well-being. The Center’s mission is to work in partnership with youth, people who work with youth, public policymakers and program administrators to help urban adolescents develop healthy adult lifestyles.

Source:
Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health

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April 13, 2010 Posted by | Adolescence, Books, Child Behavior, Girls, Health Psychology, Internet, Intimate Relationshps, research, Resilience, Sex & Sexuality | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Youth Today: The “Me” Generation Or More Of The Same?

Read the original research paper HERE (Free PDF)

Today’s youth are generally not the self-centered, antisocial slackers that previous research has made them out to be, according to a provocative new study co-authored by a Michigan State University psychologist.

In a scientific analysis of nearly a half-million high-school seniors spread over three decades, MSU’s Brent Donnellan and Kali Trzesniewski of the University of Western Ontario argue teens today are no more egotistical – and just as happy and satisfied – as previous generations.

“We concluded that, more often than not, kids these days are about the same as they were back in the mid-1970s,” said Donnellan, associate professor of psychology.

The study appears in the research journal Perspectives on Psychological Science. Donnellan acknowledges that many people will be surprised by the findings, which refute previous studies classifying today’s youth as selfish loafers with extremely high levels of self-esteem.

But while much previous research has relied on “convenience studies” of relatively small samples of young adults, Donnellan said, the current study analyzes the psychological profile data of 477,380 high school seniors from 1976 to 2006. The data comes from the University of Michigan’s federally funded Monitoring the Future survey, which each year tracks the behaviors, attitudes and values of American students.

In other findings:

* Today’s youth are more cynical and less trusting of institutions than previous generations. But Donnellan said this is generally true of the broader population.

* The current generation is less fearful of social problems such as race relations, hunger, poverty and energy shortages.

* Today’s youth have higher educational expectations.

Ultimately, Donnellan said, it’s common for older generations to paint youth in a negative light – as lazy and self-absorbed, for example – which can perpetuate stereotypes. It can be easy, he added, to forget what it’s like to grow up.

“Kids today are like they were 30 years ago – they’re trying to find their place in the world, they’re trying to carve out an identity, and it can be difficult,” Donnellan said. “But lots of research shows that the stereotypes of all groups are much more overdrawn than the reality.”

Read the original research paper HERE (Free PDF)

Source: Brent Donnellan
Michigan State University

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March 19, 2010 Posted by | Adolescence, Child Behavior, Parenting, Resources, Social Psychology | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment