Although Mexican American adolescents experience multiple risk factors in their daily lives, most research examines the influences of risk factors on adjustment independently, ignoring the additive and interactive effects of multiple risk factors. Guided by a person-centered perspective and utilizing latent profile analysis, this study identified Mexican American fifth graders’ (N = 749) risk profiles based on family, peer, and socio-cultural risk factors and examined the relationships of these risk profiles to mental health symptomatology in seventh grade. Results revealed three distinct profiles that differed quantitatively and qualitatively. Profiles were then linked to levels of mental health symptomatology, with youth in the highest risk profile displaying the most symptoms. Youth in two other risk profiles displayed lower levels. The findings suggest that Mexican American youth develop within distinct risk contexts that differ in their relationships to adjustment. Such findings inform prevention/intervention efforts aimed at reducing mental health problems in adolescence.
risk factors; mental health; Mexican American youth; person-centered
We used data from a school-based study of 496 adolescent girls to identify qualitatively distinct substance use and substance abuse developmental trajectory groups and tested whether the problematic groups differed from the non-problematic groups on baseline and outcome validation variables. Results identified four substance use groups (late users, normative users, late-heavy users, early-heavy users) and four substance abuse groups (nonabusers, moderate escalating abusers, moderate decreasing abusers, adolescent-limited heavy abusers). Problematic substance use and abuse trajectory groups, relative to non-problematic groups, showed elevations in baseline validation variables (age 14 delinquency, depressive symptoms, negative affectivity, parental support deficits, body dissatisfaction) and outcome validation variables (age 20 delinquency, depressive symptoms, social impairment, legal problems, school dropout, and substance abuse diagnosis), providing partial validation of this trajectory model.
adolescents; substance use; substance abuse; developmental trajectories
The current research examined co-rumination (extensively discussing, rehashing, and speculating about problems) with mothers and friends. Of interest was exploring whether adolescents who co-ruminate with mothers were especially likely to co-ruminate with friends as well as the interplay among co-rumination with mothers, co-rumination with friends, and anxious/depressed symptoms. Early- to mid-adolescents (N = 393) reported on co-rumination and normative self-disclosure with mothers and friends and on their internalizing symptoms in this cross-sectional study. Co-rumination with mothers (but not normative self-disclosure) was concurrently associated with adolescents' co-rumination with friends. In addition, the relation between co-rumination with mothers and adolescents' anxious/depressed symptoms reported previously (Waller & Rose, 2010) became non-significant when co-rumination with friends was statistically controlled. This suggests that the relation between friendship co-rumination and anxious/depressed symptoms may help explain the relation between mother-child co-rumination and anxious/depressed symptoms. Potential implications for promoting adolescents' well-being are discussed.
The present study examined the genetic and environmental etiology of decision-making (Iowa Gambling Task; Bechara et al., 1994), in a sample of twins at ages 11-13, 14-15, and 16-18 years. The variance across five 20-trial blocks could be explained by a latent “decision-making” factor within each of the three times of IGT administration. This latent factor was modestly influenced by genetic factors, explaining 35%, 20% and 46% of the variance within each of the three times of IGT administration. The remaining variance was explained by the non-shared environment (65%, 80% and 54%, respectively). Block-specific non-shared environmental influences were also observed. The stability of decision-making was modest across development. Youth showed a trend to choose less risky decks at later ages, suggesting some improvement in task performance across development. These findings contribute to our understanding of decision-making by highlighting the particular importance of each person's unique experiences on individual differences.
Decision-making; Iowa Gambling Task; Genetics; Twins
Most research examining gender differences in developmental trajectories of antisocial behavior does not consider subtypes of antisocial behavior and is difficult to generalize due to small nonrepresentative samples. The current study investigated gender difference in developmental trajectories from adolescence to young adulthood while addressing those limitations. Analyses were limited to respondents ages 15 and 16 in wave 1 (16–17 in wave 2, and 21–22 in wave 3) of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (n = 6244, 49.5% males). Self-report nonviolent and violent delinquencies were simultaneously entered into latent class analysis. Four latent classes were identified: low, desister, decliner, and chronic (male-only). In addition to finding a male-specific chronic class, gender differences included differences in levels of nonviolent and violent delinquency between synonymous classes of males and females, and differences in prevalence of classes across genders. Neighborhood disadvantage and family support predicted trajectories.
nonviolent delinquency; violent delinquency; gender; latent class analysis; adolescence; young adulthood
The current study examined the effect of empathy on friendship quality in the context of dyadic same-sex friendships, and how such an effect might be mediated by interpersonal competence. A special version of the Actor-Partner Interdependence Model (APIM) was used to examine this hypothesis in 146 same-sex friend dyads in 10th grade. Results showed that empathy was positively related to intimacy and conflict management competences. Also, adolescents higher in intimacy and conflict management competences had more friendship closeness and less discord, respectively, as perceived by both members. Consistent with our hypothesis, the relationship between empathy and self- and friend-reports of friendship closeness and discord were mediated by adolescents’ intimacy and conflict management competence, respectively. These findings emphasize the importance of empathy and interpersonal competence in adolescent friendships, and of considering the interdependence of these constructs in friend dyads.
empathy; interpersonal competence; friendship quality; Actor-partner interdependence model; dyadic
Overgeneral autobiographical memory (OGM) is associated with depression and may confer risk for the development of depressed mood, but few longitudinal studies have evaluated OGM as a predictor of depressive symptoms in early adolescence, particularly in the context of environmental stressors. We investigated whether OGM and emotional maltreatment would interact to predict prospective increases in depressive symptoms in early adolescents and whether these effects differed by race. Among 174 seventh-graders, OGM and familial emotional abuse interacted to predict depressive symptoms eight months later, controlling for initial depressive symptoms. Specifically, emotional abuse predicted increases in depressive symptoms among Caucasian adolescents with more OGM, but not among those with less OGM. This association was not significant for African American adolescents. These results provide support for a cognitive vulnerability-stress relationship between OGM and emotional abuse in early adolescence and suggest that these mechanisms of risk for depression may be specific to Caucasian adolescents.
Overgeneral autobiographical memory; autobiographical memory; cognitive vulnerability; depression; emotional maltreatment; life stress
Past research on parentification suggests that adopting adult responsibilities to the point at which the child plays a parental role places children at risk for poor mental and behavioral health outcomes. Since family relations are particularly important in Mexican culture, two hypotheses were posed to examine the indirect effects of parentification on Mexican-heritage youths’ substance use via parent-child communication about alcohol, while examining the moderating effects of parent-child closeness. Mexican-heritage youth (N = 697) from 23 public middle schools in Phoenix, AZ completed surveys at three waves. Structural equation modeling results provided partial support for the hypotheses. Mexican-heritage youth experiencing problem-solving parentification were more likely to talk with a parent about alcohol and, in turn, less likely to use substances. This mediation effect, however, was not found with respect to adult parentification, and parent-child closeness was not a significant moderator. Implications for the beneficial effects of problem-solving parentification are discussed.
parentification; parent-child communication about alcohol; substance use; Mexican-heritage youth; parent-child closeness
This study examines the intergenerational transmission of family religion as measured by parent’s and adolescent’s beliefs and practices in Buddhism, and its relation to delinquent behaviors among early adolescents in Thailand. The data set is from the Thai Family Matters Project 2007, a representative sample of 420 pairs of parents and teens in Bangkok. A structural equation model is employed for the analysis. The intergenerational transmission and the direct and indirect association between parents’ and adolescents’ beliefs and practices in Buddhism and adolescents’ minor and serious delinquent behaviors are revealed to be significant, controlling for secular parental monitoring. Spirituality within the family can play an important role in preventing delinquency among early adolescents. Policies in the areas related to family empowerment and delinquency prevention may need to consider integrating both secular and non-secular program inputs in their implementation design.
religious beliefs; adolescent delinquency; family matters; parental monitoring; Buddhism; family spirituality
Using a probability-based neighborhood sample of urban African American youth and a sample of their close friends (N = 202), we conducted a one-year longitudinal study to examine key questions regarding sexual and drug using norms. The results provide validation of social norms governing sexual behavior, condom use, and substance use among friendship groups. These norms had strong to moderate homogeneity; and both normative strength and homogeneity were relatively stable over a one-year period independent of changes in group membership. The data further suggest that sex and substance using norms may operate as a normative set. Similar to studies of adults, we identified three distinct “norm-based” social strata in our sample. Together, our findings suggest that the norms investigated are valid targets for health promotion efforts, and such efforts may benefit from tailoring programs to the normative sets that make up the different social strata in a given adolescent community.
Adolescents; Friendships; African American; HIV risk behavior; Norm validity; Norm stability
Studies show math achievement to be the best predictor of entering post-secondary education. However, less is known about the predictors of math achievement, particularly among immigrant youth. This study examined English proficiency and peer interethnic relations as predictors of mathematics achievement among Latino and Asian high school students, postulating an interaction between the predictors and mediation by academic motivation. A multilevel moderated-mediation model was used to analyze data from a national sample of 2,113 non-native English speaking Latino and Asian students attending high school in the U.S. We found that higher academic motivation mediated the relationship between English proficiency during their sophomore year and gains in senior math achievement scores for both Asian and Latino students. For Latino students however, this indirect path was only significant for students whose perceptions of positive peer interethnic relations at school were average or above average.
Math achievement; Academic motivation; Interethnic relations; English proficiency; Immigrant adolescents; Multilevel modeling
The current study tested a psychosocial mediation model of the association between subjective social status (SSS) and academic achievement for youth. The sample included 430 high school students from diverse racial/ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds. Those who perceived themselves to be at higher social status levels had higher GPAs. As predicted by the model, most of the relationship was mediated by emotional distress and study skills and habits. The lower SSS students had more depressive symptoms, which led to less effective studying and lower GPA. The model held across different racial/ethnic groups, was tested against alternative models, and results remained stable controlling for objective socioeconomic status. Implications for identity-based intervention are discussed.
Achievement; Motivation; Adolescents; Social Status
Sexual content in teenagers' media diets is known to predict early sexual behaviour. Research on sexual content has not allowed for the social context of media use, which may affect selection and processing of content. This study investigated whether sexual media content and/or contextual factors (co-viewing, parental media restrictions) were associated with early sexual behaviour using 2251 14–15 year-olds from Scotland, UK. A third (n = 733) reported sexual intercourse. In multivariable analysis the likelihood of intercourse was lower with parental restriction of sexual media and same-sex peer co-viewing; but higher with mixed-sex peer co-viewing. Parental co-viewing, other parental restrictions on media and sexual film content exposure were not associated with intercourse. Findings suggest the context of media use may influence early sexual behaviour. Specific parental restrictions on sexual media may offer more protection against early sex than other restrictions or parental co-viewing. Further research is required to establish causal mechanisms.
Adolescent; Media; Sexual behaviour; Co-viewing
This study extends previous research investigating the developmental pathways predicting adolescent alcohol and marijuana use by examining the cascading effects of externalizing and internalizing symptoms and academic competence in the prediction of use and level of use of these substances in adolescence. Participants (N = 191) were drawn from a longitudinal study of first-born children of low-income mothers. Using data from ages 7, 9, 12, and 16 years, a series of nested two-part (semi-continuous) path models from a developmental cascade modeling framework were compared. Controlling for gender, SES, mother’s age at child’s birth, and minority status, we found (a) within-domain rank order stability across time, (b) significant cross-domain effects over time, (c) higher externalizing symptoms significantly predicted use of alcohol and marijuana as well as higher levels of use in adolescence, and (d) higher levels of academic competence significantly added to the prediction of use of alcohol.
Alcohol use; marijuana use; externalizing symptoms; internalizing symptoms; academic achievement; adolescent substance use
This study examined the co-occurrence of subtypes of substance use and bullying behaviors using latent class analysis and evaluated latent class differences in demographic characteristics, peer and parental influences. Self-reported questionnaire data were collected from a nationally representative sample (N = 7508) of 6–10th grade adolescents in the United States. Four latent classes were identified: the non-involved (57.7%), substance users (19.4%), bullies (17.5%), and substance-using bullies (5.4%). Older and Hispanic adolescents were more likely to be substance users and substance-using bullies, whereas younger and African American adolescents were more likely to be bullies. Females were more likely to be substance users, whereas males were more likely to be bullies and substance-using bullies. Spending more evenings with peers posed greater risks for substance use, bullying, and the co-occurrence of both problem behaviors. Paternal knowledge exerted protective effects over-and-above the effects of maternal knowledge. Implications for prevention and intervention efforts are discussed.
Substance use; Bullying; Parental knowledge; Peer influence; Latent class analysis
Developing a sexual self-concept is an important developmental task of adolescence; however, little empirical evidence describes this development, nor how these changes are related to development in sexual behavior. Using longitudinal cohort data from adolescent women, we invoked latent growth curve analysis to: (1) examine reciprocal development in sexual self-concept (sexual openness, sexual esteem and sexual anxiety) over a four year time frame; (2) describe the relationship of these trajectories with changes in sexual behavior. We found significant transactional effects between these dimensions and behavior: sexual self-concept evolved during adolescence in a manner consistent with less reserve, less anxiety and greater personal comfort with sexuality and sexual behavior. Moreover, we found that sexual self-concept results from sexual behavior, as well as regulates future behavior.
adolescent women; sexual self-concept; sexual behavior; latent growth curve modeling
Although there is a well-known link between adverse experiences and suicidal ideation, there has been little study of the effects of recent adverse experiences on suicidal ideation in teenagers. This study examined the association between recent adverse experiences and suicidal ideation in a sample of 740 at-risk 16-year-old youth in the LONGSCAN studies, as well as potential mediators. 8.9% of the youth reported suicidal ideation. Recent adverse experiences, as a class, were associated with suicidal ideation; both recent physical abuse and recent psychological maltreatment were uniquely associated with suicidal ideation. The links between recent adverse experiences and suicidal ideation were significantly mediated by psychological distress. There were also significant main effect associations between both internalizing behavioral problems and low positive achievement expectations and suicidal ideation. Recent adverse experiences are important in understanding suicidal ideation in high risk youth.
This study explored how contact with gay and lesbian persons affects adolescents' attitudes toward them, and whether this association is mediated or moderated by one's acceptance of gender non-conformity. We analyzed survey responses from 456 Dutch adolescents aged 12 to 15 who reported having no same-sex attractions. Data were collected in 2008 at 8 schools in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Preliminary analyses showed that contact with lesbian/gay persons outside of school was positively associated with attitudes toward lesbians and gay men. Multilevel analyses showed that acceptance of gender non-conformity mediated rather than moderated the relationship between intergroup contact and sexual prejudice in males. The effect of intergroup contact on females' attitudes toward lesbian women was no longer significant in multilevel analyses. The findings suggest that attention to both intergroup contact and acceptance of gender non-conformity would enhance our understanding of attitudes toward homosexuality in adolescents.
Intergroup contact; Homosexuality; Gender non-conformity; Adolescence; Sexual prejudice
African American (AA) adolescent girls are at heightened risk for HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and thus knowledge of factors related to risky sexual behavior in this population is crucial. Using Social Learning Theory (Bandura, 1977), this paper examines pathways from female caregivers’ risky sexual behavior and substance use to adolescent girls’ risky sexual behavior and substance use in a sample of 214 low-income, urban AA female caregivers and daughters recruited from outpatient mental health clinics in Chicago. Structural equation modeling (SEM) revealed that sexual risk reported by female caregivers was associated with adolescent sexual risk, and illicit drug use reported by female caregivers was related to adolescent-reported substance use, which was in turn associated with adolescent-reported sexual risk behavior. These findings suggest that female caregivers’ sexual behavior and substance use both relate to girls’ sexual risk. Thus, results emphasize the role of female caregivers in transmitting risk.
substance use; risky sexual behavior; female caregivers; adolescent girls
Existing work has identified perceived discrimination as a risk factor that may contribute to the relatively poorer academic outcomes exhibited by Mexican-origin adolescents in the U.S. The current study examined the longitudinal associations among perceived discrimination and three indices of adolescent adjustment in the school setting (i.e., grade point average, teacher reports of externalizing, adolescents’ deviant peer associations) among 178 Mexican-origin adolescents (53% female). Ethnic identity affirmation was examined as a protective factor expected to reduce the negative effects of discrimination on adolescents’ adjustment, and gender was examined as a potential moderator of the associations of interest. Findings indicated that the deleterious effects of discrimination on adolescents’ adjustment in school were particularly salient for Mexican-origin male adolescents. Importantly, ethnic identity affirmation emerged as a protective factor for Mexican-origin male adolescents by buffering the negative effects of discrimination on their externalizing behaviors in school.
Ethnic identity; Latino; discrimination; academic adjustment
The well-documented higher rates of depression among sexual minority youth are increasingly viewed by developmentalists as a byproduct of the stigmatization of sexual minority status in American society and of the negative impact this stigma has on the processes associated with depression. This study attempted to spur future research by testing Hatzenbuehler’s (2009) psychological mediation framework to investigate the ways in which peer harassment related to sexuality puts young people at risk by influencing the cognitive, social, and regulatory factors associated with depression. Analyses of 15 year olds in the NICHD Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development revealed that sexual minority status was largely associated with depressive outcomes via harassment, which was subsequently associated with depression via cognitive and social factors. Results point to various avenues for exploring the importance of the social world and self-concept for the outcomes of sexual minority adolescents in the future.
sexual minority status; harassment; self-concept; depression
This study investigated whether family structure transition and low income are risk factors in the development of prosocial behavior. Models of young adults’ prosocial behavior – charitable giving and volunteering – were estimated as functions of their family structure and income during the stages of childhood. Participants were a representative sample of 1,011 American young adults. In the full sample, family structure transition during adolescence was negatively associated with subsequent charitable giving in young adulthood. Low income during adolescence was negatively associated with both giving and volunteering in young adulthood. European-American young men also exhibited a negative association between family structure transition during adolescence and subsequent volunteering. The results did not seem to describe African-American young adults. Keeping this qualification in mind, the results suggest that adolescence is a sensitive stage in the development of charitable giving and volunteering.
charitable giving; divorce; donations; poverty; volunteering
There is a strong empirical connection between individual and peer substance use during adolescence. The determination of whether this level of covariation reflects influence or selection is obscured by both the design and measurement strategies used. This present study utilizes a short-term longitudinal design with bi-monthly assessments to address the following two hypotheses: a) Adolescents select friends on the basis of their substance use, and b) New friend substance use predicts changes in future use. French Canadian adolescents (n = 143) were interviewed on their friendship networks and substance use behaviors (e.g., tobacco, alcohol and marijuana) four times during a school year. Cross-lag panel models revealed that adolescents who use substances tend to select new friends who use. Moreover, once in the network, these new friends also contribute to changes in the adolescents’ substance use. These findings are relevant to understanding the multiple functions of adolescent substance use.
Peer relations; Friendships; Substance use
Research has demonstrated that adolescent peer group affiliations are consistent predictors ofsubstance use initiation and maintenance; it is less clear how adolescent romantic relationships influence substance use behavior. Data were drawn from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. Participants in the final dataset for the current study includedadolescents (321 males and 321 females) who were identified in reciprocated romantic relationships at Wave 1 (1994-1995; mean age 16.7 years) that were followed into young adulthood and reassessed at two different time points (Wave 2 in 1996, mean age 17.7, and Wave 3 in 2001-2002, mean age 23.1). Data were gathered from both partners, and included demographic variables, longitudinal measures of substance use (alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana), and relationship seriousness. Hierarchical linear modeling using SAS PROC MIXED were utilized to test for individual versus partner influences. Results revealed individual and partner effects for the prediction of alcohol and tobacco, although individual effects were generally greater than partner influences. For marijuana use, as self-reported relationship seriousness increased, future marijuana use decreased. These findings suggest the developmental significance of adolescent romantic relationships on the prediction of future substance use behavior during young adulthood.
Adolescence; romantic relationships; development; longitudinal; substance use