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1.  Adolescents’ Daily Assistance to the Family in Response to Maternal Need 
Although children’s provision of family assistance is a common routine, little is understood about the day-to-day variability that may exist in children’s assistance behaviors. Guided by a family systems framework, the current study examined whether Mexican American adolescents’ provision of family assistance was contingent on daily maternal need. Adolescents (N = 354, 49% males, Mage = 14.96 years) and their mothers (Mage = 41.55 years) each completed reports on 14 consecutive days. The results indicated that adolescents generally responded to maternal need, being more likely to help their families on days when their mothers worked or felt fatigued. This daily contingency was modified by family and adolescent characteristics, with adolescents thought to generally engage in low levels of assistance (i.e., youngest males and those in families with little economic strain) increasing their help when their mothers were fatigued. In contrast, daily maternal work did not appear to stimulate greater assistance among families with low levels of economic strain.
PMCID: PMC3728902  PMID: 23913983
adolescence; housework; birth order; gender; Hispanic Americans
2.  Daily School Peer Victimization Experiences Among Mexican-American Adolescents: Associations with Psychosocial, Physical and School Adjustment 
Journal of youth and adolescence  2012;42(12):1775-1788.
School bullying incidents, particularly experiences with victimization, are a significant social and health concern among adolescents. The current study extended past research by examining the daily peer victimization experiences of Mexican-American adolescents and examining how chronic (mean-level) and episodic (daily-level) victimization incidents at school are associated with psychosocial, physical and school adjustment. Across a two-week span, 428 ninth and tenth grade Mexican-American students (51 % female) completed brief checklists every night before going to bed. Hierarchical linear model analyses revealed that, at the individual level, Mexican-American adolescents’ who reported more chronic peer victimization incidents across the two-weeks also reported heightened distress and academic problems. After accounting for adolescent’s mean levels of peer victimization, daily victimization incidents were associated with more school adjustment problems (i.e., academic problems, perceived role fulfillment as a good student). Additionally, support was found for the mediation model in which distress accounts for the mean-level association between peer victimization and academic problems. The results from the current study revealed that everyday peer victimization experiences among Mexican-American high school students have negative implications for adolescents’ adjustment, across multiple domains.
doi:10.1007/s10964-012-9874-4
PMCID: PMC3951444  PMID: 23238764
Bullying; Peer victimization; Adolescence; Mexican-American students; Daily methods
3.  The effects of poor quality sleep on brain function and risk taking in adolescence 
NeuroImage  2013;71:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2013.01.025.
Insufficient sleep and poor quality sleep are pervasive during adolescence and relate to impairments in cognitive control and increased risk taking. However, the neurobiology underlying the association between sleep and adolescent behavior remains elusive. In the current study, we examine how poor sleep quality relates to cognitive control and reward related brain function during risk taking. Forty-six adolescents participated in a functional magnetic imaging (fMRI) scan during which they completed a cognitive control and risk taking task. Behaviorally, adolescents who reported poorer sleep also exhibited greater risk-taking. This association was paralleled by less recruitment of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) during cognitive control, greater insula activation during reward processing, and reduced functional coupling between the DLPFC and affective regions including the insula and ventral striatum during reward processing. Collectively, these results suggest that poor sleep may exaggerate the normative imbalance between affective and cognitive control systems, leading to greater risk-taking in adolescents.
doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2013.01.025
PMCID: PMC3865864  PMID: 23376698
Adolescence; Sleep; Risk taking; Cognitive control; fMRI
4.  Antagonistic Pleiotropy at the Human IL6 Promoter Confers Genetic Resilience to the Pro-Inflammatory Effects of Adverse Social Conditions in Adolescence 
Developmental psychology  2011;47(4):1173-1180.
The authors tested the evolutionary genetic hypothesis that the functional form of an asymmetrically risky Gene × Environment interaction will differ as a function of age-related antagonistic pleiotropy (i.e., show opposite effects in young vs. old individuals). Previous studies have identified a polymorphism in the human IL6 promoter (rs1800795; IL6 –174 G/C) that interacts with adverse socioenvironmental conditions to promote chronic inflammation in older adults (elevated C-reactive protein). This study identifies a protective effect of the same polymorphism in 17- to 19-year-old adolescents confronting socioeconomic adversity. Over 60% of the environmental risk contribution to the IL6 × Socioeconomic Status interaction could be accounted for by interpersonal stress and adult role burden. Thus, the IL6 –174G allele does not represent an undifferentiated risk factor but instead sensitizes inflammatory biology to socioenvironmental conditions, conferring either genetic vulnerability or resilience depending on the developmental “somatic environment” that interacts with social conditions to influence gene expression.
doi:10.1037/a0023871
PMCID: PMC3592928  PMID: 21639625
gene–environment interaction; SES; stress; adolescence; inflammation
5.  Meaningful Family Relationships: Neurocognitive Buffers of Adolescent Risk Taking 
Journal of cognitive neuroscience  2012;25(3):374-387.
Discordant development of brain regions responsible for cognitive control and reward processing may render adolescents susceptible to risk taking. Identifying ways to reduce this neural imbalance during adolescence can have important implications for risk taking and associated health outcomes. Accordingly, we sought to examine how a key family relationship—family obligation—can reduce this vulnerability. Forty-eight adolescents underwent an fMRI scan during which they completed a risk-taking and cognitive control task. Results suggest that adolescents with greater family obligation values show decreased activation in the ventral striatum when receiving monetary rewards and increased dorsolateral PFC activation during behavioral inhibition. Reduced ventral striatum activation correlated with less real-life risk-taking behavior and enhanced dorsolateral PFC activation correlated with better decision-making skills. Thus, family obligation may decrease reward sensitivity and enhance cognitive control, thereby reducing risk-taking behaviors.
doi:10.1162/jocn_a_00331
PMCID: PMC3932333  PMID: 23163412
6.  Adolescents’ emotional competence is associated with parents’ neural sensitivity to emotions 
An essential component of youths’ successful development is learning to appropriately respond to emotions, including the ability to recognize, identify, and describe one’s feelings. Such emotional competence is thought to arise through the parent–child relationship. Yet, the mechanisms by which parents transmit emotional competence to their children are difficult to measure because they are often implicit, idiosyncratic, and not easily articulated by parents or children. In the current study, we used a multifaceted approach that went beyond self-report measures and examined whether parental neural sensitivity to emotions predicted their child’s emotional competence. Twenty-two adolescent–parent dyads completed an fMRI scan during which they labeled the emotional expressions of negatively valenced faces. Results indicate that parents who recruited the amygdala, VLPFC, and brain regions involved in mentalizing (i.e., inferring others’ emotional states) had adolescent children with greater emotional competence. These results held after controlling for parents’ self-reports of emotional expressivity and adolescents’ self-reports of the warmth and support of their parent relationships. In addition, adolescents recruited neural regions involved in mentalizing during affect labeling, which significantly mediated the associated between parental neural sensitivity and adolescents’ emotional competence, suggesting that youth are modeling or referencing their parents’ emotional profiles, thereby contributing to better emotional competence.
doi:10.3389/fnhum.2014.00558
PMCID: PMC4108032  PMID: 25100982
adolescence; emotional competence; family; fMRI; emotions
7.  Ethnic Label Use in Adolescents from Traditional and Non-Traditional Immigrant Communities 
Journal of Youth and Adolescence  2010;40(6):719-729.
Understanding adolescents’ use of ethnic labels is a key developmental issue, particularly given the practical significance of identity and self-definition in adolescents’ lives. Ethnic labeling was examined among adolescents in the traditional immigrant receiving area of Los Angeles (Asian n = 258, Latino n = 279) and the non-traditional immigrant receiving area of North Carolina (Asian n = 165, Latino n = 239). Logistic regressions showed that adolescents from different geographic settings use different ethnic labels, with youth from NC preferring heritage and panethnic labels and youth from LA preferring hyphenated American labels. Second generation youth were more likely than first generation youth to use hyphenated American labels, and less likely to use heritage or panethnic labels. Greater ethnic centrality increased the odds of heritage label use, and greater English proficiency increased the odds of heritage-American label use. These associations significantly mediated the initial effects of setting. Further results examine ethnic differences as well as links between labels and self-esteem. The discussion highlights implications of ethnic labeling and context.
doi:10.1007/s10964-010-9597-3
PMCID: PMC3089731  PMID: 21049283
Ethnic labeling; Ethnic identity; Geographic setting; Adjustment
8.  Daily Family Assistance and Inflammation among Adolescents from Latin American and European Backgrounds 
Brain, behavior, and immunity  2009;23(6):803-809.
To assess the biological impact of time spent helping the family during the teenage years, we examined circulating levels of interleukin 6 (IL-6), soluble interleukin 6 receptor (sIL-6r), and C-reactive protein (CRP) in 64 adolescents (Mage=17.79 years) from Latin American and European backgrounds. Analyses of nightly diary checklists over 14 days showed that the amount of time spent helping the family in a variety of ways, such as cooking, cleaning, and sibling care, was associated with long-term elevations of sIL-6r and CRP, even after controlling for ethnicity, parental education, BMI, substance use, distress, and frequency of daily family assistance two years earlier. However, adolescents who derived a greater sense of role fulfillment from helping the family on a daily basis had lower levels of sIL-6r and CRP as compared to their peers who engaged in the same amount of family assistance. Additional work should explore the family context that drives high levels of assistance among adolescents, as well as the variety of ways adolescents may derive meaning from this activity.
doi:10.1016/j.bbi.2009.02.021
PMCID: PMC2745960  PMID: 19275931
9.  Meaning in Life as a Mediator of Ethnic Identity and Adjustment Among Adolescents from Latin, Asian, and European American Backgrounds 
Journal of Youth and Adolescence  2009;39(11):1253-1264.
Establishing a sense of life meaning is a primary facet of well-being, yet is understudied in adolescent development. Using data from 579 adolescents (53% female) from Latin American, Asian, and European backgrounds, demographic differences in meaning in life, links with psychological and academic adjustment, and the role of meaning in explaining associations between ethnic identity and adjustment were examined. Although no generational or gender differences were found, Asian Americans reported higher search for meaning than Latin and European Americans. Presence of meaning was positively associated with self-esteem, academic adjustment, daily well-being, and ethnic belonging and exploration, whereas search for meaning was related to lower self-esteem and less stability in daily well-being. Presence of meaning mediated associations between ethnic identity and adjustment, explaining 28–52% of ethnic identity’s protective effect on development. Ethnic identity thus appears to affect adjustment, in part, through its role in fostering a positive sense of meaning in adolescents’ lives.
doi:10.1007/s10964-009-9475-z
PMCID: PMC2937152  PMID: 19915965
Meaning in life; Ethnic identity; Adolescents; Adjustment
10.  A Preliminary Study of Daily Interpersonal Stress and C-Reactive Protein Levels Among Adolescents From Latin American and European Backgrounds 
Psychosomatic medicine  2009;71(3):329-333.
Objective
To examine the association between the experience of daily interpersonal stress and levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), an inflammatory marker that is a key indicator of cardiovascular risk, during the teenage years.
Methods
A total of 69 adolescents (Mage = 17.78 years) completed daily diary checklists each night for 14 days in which they reported their experience of negative interpersonal interactions in the domains of family, peers, and school (e.g., conflict with family and friends, peer harassment, punishment by parents and teachers). Blood samples were obtained an average of 8.63 months later and assayed for circulating levels of CRP, using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Measures of body mass index (BMI), socioeconomic status (SES), substance use, stressful life events, rejection sensitivity, and psychological distress were obtained.
Results
A greater frequency of daily interpersonal stress was associated with higher levels of CRP, even after controlling for BMI, SES, substance use, life events, rejection sensitivity, psychological distress, and frequency of daily interpersonal stress 2 years earlier.
Conclusions
Experiencing a high frequency of interpersonal stressors that are typical of adolescent life is associated with higher levels of inflammation even among a normative, healthy sample of adolescents. Additional work should focus on other daily experiences during the adolescent period and their implications for elevated risk for later cardiovascular disease.
doi:10.1097/PSY.0b013e3181921b1f
PMCID: PMC2715831  PMID: 19196810
C-reactive protein; inflammation; daily interpersonal stress; adolescence
11.  Time spent with friends in adolescence relates to less neural sensitivity to later peer rejection 
Involvement with friends carries many advantages for adolescents, including protection from the detrimental effects of being rejected by peers. However, little is known about the mechanisms through which friendships may serve their protective role at this age, or the potential benefit of these friendships as adolescents transition to adulthood. As such, this investigation tested whether friend involvement during adolescence related to less neural sensitivity to social threats during young adulthood. Twenty-one adolescents reported the amount of time they spent with friends outside of school using a daily diary. Two years later they underwent an fMRI scan, during which they were ostensibly excluded from an online ball-tossing game by two same-age peers. Findings from region of interest and whole brain analyses revealed that spending more time with friends during adolescence related to less activity in the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex and anterior insula—regions previously linked with negative affect and pain processing—during an experience of peer rejection 2 years later. These findings are consistent with the notion that positive relationships during adolescence may relate to individuals being less sensitive to negative social experiences later on.
doi:10.1093/scan/nsq098
PMCID: PMC3252626  PMID: 21183457
adolescence; friendship; peer rejection; functional magnetic resonance imaging
12.  Ethnic Stigma, Academic Anxiety, and Intrinsic Motivation in Middle Childhood 
Child development  2011;82(5):1470-1485.
Previous research addressing the dynamics of stigma and academics has focused on African-American adolescents and adults. The present study examined stigma awareness, academic anxiety, and intrinsic motivation among 451 young (ages 6–11) and diverse (African-American, Chinese, Dominican, Russian, and European-American) students. Results indicated that ethnic-minority children reported higher stigma awareness than European-American children. For all children, stigma awareness was associated with higher academic anxiety and lower intrinsic motivation. Despite these associations, ethnic-minority children reported higher levels of intrinsic motivation than their European-American peers. A significant portion of the higher intrinsic motivation among Dominican students was associated with their higher levels of school belonging, suggesting that supportive school environments may be important sources of intrinsic motivation among some ethnic-minority children.
doi:10.1111/j.1467-8624.2011.01621.x
PMCID: PMC3170141  PMID: 21883152
middle childhood; ethnic-minority children; stigma awareness; academic anxiety; intrinsic motivation
13.  Reciprocal Associations between Family and Peer Conflict in Adolescents’ Daily Lives1 
Child development  2011;82(5):1390-1396.
Using a daily diary method, this study assessed daily episodes of family and peer conflict among 578 adolescents in the ninth grade in order to examine potential bidirectional associations between the family and peer domains. Adolescents completed a daily diary checklist at the end of each day over a fourteen day period to report events of conflict and their emotional states for a given day. Overall, our within-person models provided evidence for the bidirectional nature of family-peer linkages across gender and ethnicity. Adolescents experienced more peer conflict on days in which they argued with parents or other family members, and vice versa. Effect of family conflict further spilled over into peer relationships the next day and two days later, whereas peer conflict predicted only the following day family conflict. Adolescents’ emotional distress partially explained these short term spillovers between family and peer conflict.
doi:10.1111/j.1467-8624.2011.01625.x
PMCID: PMC3415252  PMID: 21793820
family conflict; peer conflict; adolescents; emotional distress; spillover; daily diary
14.  Neural regions associated with self control and mentalizing are recruited during prosocial behaviors towards the family☆ 
Neuroimage  2011;58(1):242-249.
Prosocial decisions can be difficult because they often involve personal sacrifices that do not generate any direct, immediate benefits to the self. The current study used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to understand how individuals decide to provide support to others. Twenty-five participants were scanned as they completed a task in which they made costly decisions to contribute money to their family and noncostly decisions to accept personal monetary rewards. Decisions to contribute to the family recruited brain regions involved in self-control and mentalizing, especially for individuals with stronger family obligation preferences. Psychophysiological interaction (PPI) analyses revealed that individuals with stronger family obligation preferences showed greater functional coupling between regions involved in self-control and mentalizing with the ventral striatum, a region involved in reward processing. These findings suggest that prosocial behavior may require both social cognition and deliberate effort, and the application of these processes may result in greater positive reinforcement during prosocial behavior.
doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2011.06.013
PMCID: PMC3276247  PMID: 21703352
15.  Neural Correlates of Direct and Reflected Self-Appraisals in Adolescents and Adults: When Social Perspective-Taking Informs Self-Perception 
Child development  2009;80(4):1016-1038.
Classic theories of self-development suggest people define themselves in part through internalized perceptions of other people’s beliefs about them, known as reflected self-appraisals. This study uses functional magnetic resonance imaging to compare the neural correlates of direct and reflected self-appraisals in adolescence (N = 12, ages 11–14 years) and adulthood (N = 12, ages 23–30 years). During direct self-reflection, adolescents demonstrated greater activity than adults in networks relevant to self-perception (medial prefrontal and parietal cortices) and social-cognition (dorsomedial prefrontal cortex, temporal–parietal junction, and posterior superior temporal sulcus), suggesting adolescent self-construals may rely more heavily on others’ perspectives about the self. Activity in the medial fronto-parietal network was also enhanced when adolescents took the perspective of someone more relevant to a given domain.
doi:10.1111/j.1467-8624.2009.01314.x
PMCID: PMC3229828  PMID: 19630891
16.  Gaining while giving: An fMRI study of the rewards of family assistance among White and Latino youth 
Social neuroscience  2010;5(5-6):508-518.
Family assistance is an important aspect of family relationships for adolescents across many cultures and contexts. Motivations to help family members may be driven by both cultural factors and early family experiences. Here, we used functional magnetic resonance imaging to examine (1) cultural differences in neural reward activity among White and Latino youth during online experiences of family assistance and (2) how prior family experiences related to neural reward activity when helping the family. Participants were scanned as they made decisions to contribute money to their family and themselves. Latino and White participants showed similar behavioral levels of helping but distinct patterns of neural activity within the mesolimbic reward system. Whereas Latino participants showed more reward activity when contributing to their family, White participants showed more reward activity when gaining cash for themselves. In addition, participants who felt more identified with their family and who derived greater fulfillment from helping their family two years prior to the scan showed increased reward system activation when contributing to their family. These results suggest that family assistance may be guided, in part, by the personal rewards one attains from that assistance, and that this sense of reward may be modulated by cultural influences and prior family experiences.
doi:10.1080/17470911003687913
PMCID: PMC3079017  PMID: 20401808
Family assistance; Culture; fMRI; Reward; Social identity
17.  Transitions Into Underage and Problem Drinking 
Pediatrics  2008;121(Suppl 4):S273-S289.
Adolescents ages 10–15 experience dramatic changes in their biological, cognitive, emotional, and social development as well as in their physical and social environments. These include the physiological and psychological changes associated with puberty; further development of the brain; changes in family, peer, and romantic relationships; and exposure to new societal and cultural influences. During this period, many adolescents also begin to use alcohol. Alcohol use during adolescence has adverse effects on the body and increases the risk of alcohol dependence later in life. To better understand why some children drink whereas others do not, researchers are examining nonspecific and alcohol-specific factors that put adolescents at risk for, or which protect them from, early alcohol use and its associated problems. Nonspecific risk factors include certain temperamental and personality traits, family factors, and nonnormative development. Examples of nonspecific protective factors include certain temperamental characteristics, religiosity, and parenting factors (e.g., parental nurturance and monitoring). Among the most influential alcohol-specific risk and protective factors are a family history of alcoholism and the influences of siblings and peers, all of which shape an adolescent’s expectancies about the effects of alcohol, which in turn help determine alcohol use behaviors.
doi:10.1542/peds.2007-2243C
PMCID: PMC2892675  PMID: 18381494
Preadolescent; adolescent; puberty; underage drinking; problematic drinking; risk factors; protective factors; alcohol and other drug (AOD) use initiation; AOD use behavior; growth and development; biological development; psychological development
18.  Transitions Into Underage and Problem Drinking 
Alcohol Research & Health  2009;32(1):30-40.
Adolescents ages 10–15 experience dramatic changes in their biological, cognitive, emotional, and social development as well as in their physical and social environments. These include the physiological and psychological changes associated with puberty; further development of the brain; changes in family, peer, and romantic relationships; and exposure to new societal and cultural influences. During this period, many adolescents also begin to use alcohol. Alcohol use during adolescence has adverse effects on the body and increases the risk of alcohol dependence later in life. To better understand why some children drink whereas others do not, researchers are examining nonspecific and alcohol-specific factors that put adolescents at risk for, or which protect them from, early alcohol use and its associated problems. Nonspecific risk factors include certain temperamental and personality traits, family factors, and nonnormative development. Examples of nonspecific protective factors include certain temperamental characteristics, religiosity, and parenting factors (e.g., parental nurturance and monitoring). Among the most influential alcohol-specific risk and protective factors are a family history of alcoholism and the influences of siblings and peers, all of which shape an adolescent’s expectancies about the effects of alcohol, which in turn help determine alcohol use behaviors.
PMCID: PMC3860495  PMID: 23104445
Preadolescent; adolescent; puberty; underage drinking; problematic drinking; risk factors; protective factors; alcohol and other drug (AOD) use initiation; AOD use behavior; growth and development; biological development; psychological development

Results 1-18 (18)