Journal of Adolescence

Published by Wiley

Online ISSN: 1095-9254


Print ISSN: 0140-1971


Self-esteem in girls aged 11–12: Baseline findings from a planned prospective study of vulnerability to eating disorders
  • Article

January 1991


78 Reads

Eric Button
The paper reports on the first stage of a planned prospective study of self-esteem and risk for eating disorders in 594 schoolgirls aged 11-12. Subjects completed a short questionnaire which incorporated the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale and a few "problem" questions, including one on fatness concern. Low self-esteem was associated with increased fatness concern, but also with problems in general. The girls will be followed up in detail at age 15-16, with a view to clarifying whether low self-esteem is predictive of clinically significant eating disorders.

The 12-month prevalence of DSM-IV anxiety disorders among Nigerian secondary school adolescents aged 13-18 years

December 2007


185 Reads

To estimate the 12-month prevalence of DSM-IV-specific anxiety disorders among Nigerian secondary school adolescents aged 13-18 years. A representative sample of adolescents (n=1090) from senior secondary schools in a semi-urban town in Nigeria was assessed for the 12-month prevalence of DSM-IV-specific anxiety. The 12-month prevalence for all anxiety disorders was 15.0% (females=19.6%; males=11.4%). There were significant gender differences in the prevalence for all anxiety disorders (P<0.001; OR 1.96, 95% CI 1.35-2.65) and social anxiety disorder (P=0.035; OR 1.82, 95% CI 1.03-3.19) and significant age difference in the prevalence of separation anxiety disorder (P=0.045; OR 2.43, 95% CI 0.99-5.96). The prevalence of anxiety disorders in Nigerian secondary school adolescents was comparable to the rates found in the western world. Health policies must integrate adolescents' anxiety as a disorder of public health significance. Further studies are needed to evaluate the factors associated with anxiety disorders amongst adolescents in this region.

Ethnic and gender differences in drinking, smoking and drug taking among adolescents in England: A self-report school-based survey of 15 and 16 year olds

March 2005


120 Reads

Concern has been mounting about the increasing numbers of adolescents who (ab)use drugs, alcohol and cigarettes. The aim of this study was to establish the prevalence according to gender and ethnicity of drinking, smoking and drug‐use in a representative sample of 15 and 16 year olds. The sample consisted of 6020 15‐ and 16‐year‐old pupils from 41 schools in England who completed an anonymous self‐report survey. There were clear gender and ethnic differences in self‐reported substance use. For example, more males than females reported drinking and drug taking. More females reported smoking, but males were more likely to be heavy smokers. Asian, Black and other boys and Black and Asian girls were less likely to report drinking during a typical week compared to White participants. Asian females were less likely to report smoking compared to White females. Cannabis was the most commonly used drug for both genders. Black males were more likely than White males to have used cannabis, opiates and other drugs. However, Asian females were more likely than their White counterparts to have used opiates, but were significantly less likely to have used cannabis. Asian males were more likely than White males to have used ecstasy. The results confirm gender differences in substance use and demonstrate that there are different patterns of substance use between ethnic groups. These findings have implications for targeting prevention campaigns through the media and educational initiatives.

Children of mothers at psychosocial risk growing up: A follow up at the age of 16

March 2007


36 Reads

The aim of the present study was to make a 16‐year follow‐up of children of psychosocial risk mothers as concerns emotional/behavioural problems, self‐esteem, life events, and academic grades. Forty‐three teenagers (index group) and 61 reference teenagers were personally interviewed and asked to answer the Youth Self‐report (YSR), the Self‐image questionnaire I Think I Am, and a Life Event questionnaire. Their final grades from the 9‐year compulsory school were studied. The results showed that boys, especially the sons from families with alcohol/drug problems, displayed poorer mental health, a more negative self‐image, had experienced more negative life events, and had to a greater extent not successfully completed the 9‐year compulsory school. More teenagers in the index group had been placed in foster care, had a less positive outlook about their future, were more often smokers, and more of them (girls) had seriously considered committing suicide than the teenagers in the reference group. It was concluded that boys of psychosocial risk mothers are less well off than teenagers of non‐risk mothers at the age of 16 as concerns psychosocial well being. It is of great importance to devote attention to these children at an early stage of life in order to be able to provide them with the support that may prevent development of future problems.

Screen media time usage of 12-16 year-old Spanish school adolescents: Effects of personal and socioeconomic factors, season and type of day

September 2008


543 Reads

This study examined screen media time usage (SMTU) and its association with personal and socioeconomic factors, as well as the effect of season and type of day, in a Spanish sample of 12-16 year-old school adolescents (N=323). The research design was a cross-sectional survey, in which an interviewer-administered recall questionnaire was used. Statistical analyses included repeated measures analyses of variance, analysis of covariance and structural equation models. Results showed an average of 2.52h per day of total SMTU and partial times of 1.73h per day in TV viewing, 0.27h per day in computer/videogames, and 0.52h per day in mobile use. Four significant predictors of SMTU emerged. Firstly, the type of school was associated with the three media of our study, particularly students from state/public school spent more time on them than their private schools counterparts. Secondly, older adolescents (14-16 years old) were more likely to use computer/videogame and mobile phone than younger adolescents. Thirdly, the more accessibility to household technology the more probable computer/videogames and mobile phone were used. Finally, boys spent significantly more time in mobile phone than girls. Additionally, results revealed that adolescents seemed to consume more TV and computer/videogames in autumn than in winter, and more TV and mobile phones on weekends than on weekdays, especially among state school students. Findings from this study contribute to the existing knowledge on adolescents' SMTU patterns that can be transferred to families and policies.

Brief report: Citizenship concepts among adolescents. Evidence from a survey among Belgian 16-year olds

April 2009


100 Reads

In this research note we investigate the occurrence of citizenship concepts among adolescents in Belgium. The analysis is based on the Belgian Youth Survey (2006), which is a representative survey among 6330 16-year olds in the country. Citizenship concepts were shown to be multi-dimensional, with distinct factors for conventional or electoral participation and civic engagement. A third, weaker factor could be distinguished covering obedience to the law. This structure is largely in line with earlier comparative analysis. An exploratory analysis suggests that these factors have different outcomes on actual or intended political participation behavior of adolescents. We discuss the relevance of these findings with regard to the current debates on civic education and civic engagement among younger age cohorts.

Table 2
Brief report: Accuracy of a 16-item questionnaire based on the HEADSS approach (QBH-16) in the screening of mental disorders in adolescents with behavioral problems in secondary care
  • Article
  • Full-text available

June 2009


249 Reads

Compare a questionnaire based on the HEADSS approach (QBH-16) and the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) in the screening of mental disorder in adolescents with behavioral problems. Adolescents from both genders 12-17 years-old presenting behavioral problems without a previous diagnosis of mental disorder were referred from primary services to a specialized outpatient program for adolescent behavioral problems and evaluated with the QBH-16, CBCL, and the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children. This program is located in a secondary and tertiary university hospital, Hospital de Clínicas de Porto Alegre, in the capital city of the southernmost state of Brazil. 98 adolescents and their families were interviewed. Scores > or =9 in the QBH-16 had a likelihood ratio (LR) >5.5 and scores under 6 had a LR of 0.13, identifying adequately 62 patients (71%) according to the CBCL. Cognitive performance was similar among all patients. Our findings suggest the QBH-16 has a good accuracy for screening mental disorders and may help prioritize or choose which patients will benefit from psychiatric services.

Testing direct and indirect effects of sports participation on perceived health in Spanish adolescents between 15 and 18 years of age

January 2004


155 Reads

This paper examines the direct and indirect effects of sports participation on perceived health. It is based on a representative sample of middle adolescents aged 15-18 (N=1038, M age=16.31, S.D.=0.92; 510 boys and 528 girls) from the Valencian Community (Spain). This study used two different models; Model A is an adaptation of Thorlindsson, Vilhjalmsson and Valgeirsson's (Social Science and Medicine 31 (1990) 551) model which introduces smoking, alcohol use, feelings of anxiety, feelings of depression and psychophysiological symptoms as mediator variables; Model B is an extension of Model A with perceived physical fitness as an added mediator variable. Both models show a good fit to the data. Results showed that, in both models, sports participation affected perceived health directly and indirectly by decreasing smoking and alcohol consumption, feelings of depression and psychophysiological symptoms. In Model B, sport also affected perceived health via increased perceived physical fitness explaining almost 10% more of the variance.

Swedish 18-year-olds' identity formation: Associations with feelings about appearance and internalization of body ideals

March 2013


132 Reads

The aim of this study with Swedish 18-year-olds (N = 714, 55.2% women) was to investigate identity formation in relation to body-esteem and body ideal internalization. These are all important aspects of adolescents' development, but little is known about how they are related. This study indicates that late adolescents' identity formation, body-esteem, and body ideal internalizations are related. Women's interpersonal identity commitments and explorations were related to more positive thoughts about how others evaluate their appearance. Their interpersonal identity explorations were also related to more internalization of societal body ideals. For men, stronger interpersonal identity commitments were related to more positive own evaluations about their appearance. The results also showed that compared to men, women explored identity issues more, had poorer body-esteem, and had internalized body ideals more.

You're all grown up now: Termination of foster care support at age 18

September 2008


286 Reads

This article considers the repercussions of discharging youth from foster care at age 18 based on recent research demonstrating that youth at this age are not developmentally prepared to live independently and have a continued need for strong social scaffolding during emerging adulthood. Drawing upon recent research findings, we make recommendations for changes to state and federal policy that provide youth transitioning from foster care an extension of federal/state financial and social support into the third decade of life. We argue for a re-conceptualization of "independent living" as "interdependent living," and recommend that policymakers require a permanent committed adult be identified for each youth prior to discharge from foster care.

Heterosexual behavior of 18-year-olds in the Glasgow area

January 1994


16 Reads

This paper describes heterosexual behaviour, and protection against pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, among 908 18-year-olds in the Glasgow area in 1990. The proportion who reported having experienced sexual intercourse was similar to, though slightly lower than, that reported in most recent studies elsewhere. There were marked sex differences, with males reporting being significantly younger at first intercourse and having had more sexual partners than females. The reported prevalence of unprotected sex (without any contraception) and of "unsafe" sex (without a condom) was high. Being male, of no religious affiliation, an early school leaver, and not in higher education were independently associated with sexual experience. Among the sexually experienced, lower education was also associated with "unsafe" sex, and Catholicism with unprotected sex. The overall pattern of findings, particularly in relation to sex differences, suggests that young people in the Glasgow area may be subject to more traditional influences than those elsewhere.

Ethnicity and adolescent deliberate self-harm. Journal of Adolescence, 19, 513-521

January 1997


43 Reads

The characteristics of all adolescents referred to the psychiatric service of a tertiary hospital following an episode of deliberate self-harm (DSH) were studied. Of 100 adolescents selected over a 3-year period, 64 White and 28 Black adolescents were compared to identify factors associated with DSH in Black adolescents. The main findings were: (1) the referral rate for Black adolescents was in proportion to the community composition; (2) the characteristics of Black and White adolescents referred following DSH were similar for background socio-demographic variables, psychiatric symptoms, circumstances of the attempt and outcome. However, more social stress was reported in the Black group.

Does successful attainment of developmental tasks lead to happiness and success in later developmental tasks? A test of Havighurst's (1948) theses

March 2008


1,612 Reads

This study tested Havighurst's (1948) contention that successful attainment of age-specific developmental tasks leads to happiness and success in achieving subsequent tasks. A longitudinal study on 146 participants was carried out to investigate the links between developmental progression in adolescence and young adulthood and happiness, which was assessed by two indices: high self-esteem and low symptomatology. The importance individuals place on achieving normative developmental tasks and current developmental status was assessed six times during adolescence and young adulthood, self-esteem and symptomatology were assessed five times. Results revealed a shift in the time frames for accomplishing the stage-specific developmental tasks. Findings with respect to the interrelatedness and progressive attainment partially supported Havighurst's contentions. Although remarkable concurrent links between the two indices of happiness and developmental status were found, developmental outcomes were not predictive for later happiness.

The welfare of urban youth in China 1949-79

April 1981


12 Reads

The problems of urban youth in China, especially juvenile delinquency, have been a continuing policy concern for the Chinese Communist Party. Undoubtedly the factors that have most influenced the welfare of urban youth have been the inevitable delays in assigning them jobs and their compulsory and permanent transfer to the countryside. Exacerbating the situation has been the evident weakening of family discipline and the continuing confusion as to youth's proper role in Chinese society. The Chinese Communist Party's response has been to urge local neighbourhoods, rural production teams and local enterprises to provide a range of services and facilities for urban young people so as to inhibit juvenile misbehaviour and to ensure that they become policically and socially conforming adults.

A review of the literature on family therapy with adolescents 1979–1987

January 1989


45 Reads

Since the initial publication of our article, significant developments have occurred in the literature pertaining to the application of family therapy to problems of adolescents. A primary change has been quantitative. As is evident from the problem listing above, a great number of articles have been written addressing a continually expanding array of presenting complaints. Similarly, the recent review clearly indicated that a full range of family therapy models has been represented in the literature since 1979. In a general sense, the family therapy models described in our original paper—Psychoanalytic, Behavioral, and Systems‐oriented (including Structural, and Strategic family therapy)—have continued to receive attention. It is also clear that family therapists working with adolescents have demonstrated a willingness to experiment with new theoretical developments. Especially noteworthy are the relatively recent applications of Systemic family therapy (Milan model) to problems of adolescents. There is also growing evidence that single model approaches to adolescents may be less desirable than approaches that combine the strengths of several models in an integrated or carefully eclectic fashion. A number of authors have suggested guidlines for planning and conducting family therapy with adolescents. A survey of the various sets of guidelines revealed some of the continuing dilemmas and controversies that exist in the field. The suggestions offered vary according to the authors' theoretical orientations. Of particular interest are guidelines that are organized around such concepts as “stages” or “family typology”. The results reported in the various outcomes studies clearly suggested that family therapy with adolescents is a viable treatment approach, one that in many instances produces results often exceeding those seen when other, more traditional treatments are employed. In the 1979 article, we took the position that family therapy offered “new and exciting directions” for the treatment of adolescent disturbances. We still think this is true. Family therapy, in its various forms, has proven to be a well established approach to the treatment of adolescent problems. Finally, we believe this area will continue through careful consideration of three issues: first, the continued application of new developments in the field therapy to the treatment of problems of adolescents; second, further elaboration of guidelines for therapy that are based on particular treatment models; and third, the design of more carefully constructed outcome studies that evaluate the comparative effectiveness of different family therapy models in dealing with particular presenting problems, family characteristics, and stages of adolescent development.

Reducing totality and opening residential settings to their regions in the Israeli Kibbutz Artzi educational institutions in the 1980s and 1990s

November 1998


8 Reads

The origins, history and functions of Israeli Kibbutz institutions are described, with a focus on the Kibbutz Artzi, a left wing Zionist organization which set up junior and senior residential high schools. Recent developments have led to reducing the "total" nature of these institutions. Day pupils have been admitted and the boarding aspect closed, with the facilities opened up to youth groups studying in the schools. Deprived and ethnic minority children are among youth groups encouraged to make use of the institutions' programmes. The detailed reasons for, and implications of, changes are clarified in studies of two educational kibbutzim.

Delinquency Prevention in the 1980s

April 1985


8 Reads

Current American delinquency prevention strategies adopted by the federal Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention emphasize trying to change organizations (especially schools) rather than individuals. Similarly, the report by Rutter and Giller to the Home Office and the Department of Health and Social Security advocates changes in the school, the area, the community or the physical environment. It is argued here that it is just as plausible to locate the causes of delinquency in the individual as in the environment, and that there is good reason to expect delinquency prevention efforts targeted on individuals to be successful. Pre-school early intervention programmes designed to increase intellectual ability are especially desirable.

Daisybank 1983–1989. An audit of a residential home preparing adolescents for permanent placements

July 1992


13 Reads

This paper describes the evaluation of a small children's home, Daisybank, set up to prepare adolescents, who had been in care for several years, to live in permanent placements. The home seemed largely to fail in this explicit task, but appear to succeed in helping a majority of its residents make substantial progress in coming to terms with their deprived and disrupted lives. It provided them with genuine care and commitment, which they acknowledged and appreciated. We believe that the success of the home needs to be judged by these criteria, since for young people in mid- to late adolescence the search for new permanent parental homes probably conflicted with other psychosocial tasks relating to adolescence. On the other hand, Daisybank seemed unable adequately to resolve the problems of a subgroup of adolescent males with serious conduct problems who were responsible for the not infrequent physical abuse of several female staff.

Fig. 3. The percentage (%) of 12-18-year-olds reporting fears about the health and welfare of family members by study year. Each adolescent could report more than one fear. 
Fears for the future among Finnish adolescents in 1983-2007: From global concerns to ill health and loneliness

February 2012


509 Reads

We examined how Finnish adolescents' fears for their future changed over a quarter of a century and how these changes reflect transformations of the adolescents' key contexts from the late-modernist perspective. Nationally representative samples of 12-, 14-, 16-, and 18-year-olds in 1983, 1997, and 2007 were surveyed using mailed questionnaires regarding health behaviours (N = 17,750). Over 1900 fears to open-ended questions were reported. Inductive content analysis was used to construct 19 fear categories. The percentage of adolescents reporting fears in each study year is presented for the entire study population and by age and sex with tests for statistical significance. Fears concerning global and societal issues declined from 1983 to 2007. The emphasis on future work remained stable, but uneasiness about making wrong decisions has increased. Fears regarding health, death, loneliness, and relationships gained importance. Our findings indicate that the perceptions of risks have become more individualized, thus providing strong support for the late-modernist theory.

A comparison between a 1986 and 1989 cohort of inner-city adolescent females on knowledge, beliefs, and risk factors for AIDS

April 1992


14 Reads

In order to assess changes from 1986 to 1989 in knowledge, beliefs, and risk factors for AIDS, the responses of inner-city adolescent girls were compared. Although 63% of the 1989 cohort received AIDS education in school, the base knowledge of the two cohorts was not markedly different. Between 1986 and 1989, the number of sexual partners increased for adolescents of all ethnic groups, yet concerns about AIDS showed a decline. Those adolescents who had the highest number of sexual partners were also those who had the most knowledge and most concerns about AIDS. Implications for preventive education focus on ethnic diversity and gaps between adolescent knowledge and behavior.

Participating in a policy debate program and academic achievement among at-risk adolescents in an urban public school district: 1997-2007

May 2012


81 Reads

This study investigates the relationship between participating in a high school debate program on college-readiness in the Chicago Public School district over a 10-year period. At-risk school students were identified using an index including 8th grade achievement, poverty status, and enrollment in special education. Regression analyses were used to assess the association between debate participation and graduation and ACT performance. Overall, debaters were 3.1 times more likely to graduate from high school (95% confidence interval: 2.7-3.5) than non-debaters, and more likely to reach the college-readiness benchmarks on the English, Reading, and Science portions of the ACT. This association was similar for both low-risk and at-risk students. Debate intensity was positively related to higher scores on all sections of the ACT. Findings indicate that debate participation is associated with improved academic performance for at-risk adolescents.

Trends in adolescent alcohol and other drug use: Findings from three sentinel sites in South Africa (1997-2001)

September 2004


57 Reads






Andreas Plüddemann
This paper aims to provide surveillance information about the extent and consequences of alcohol and other drug (AOD) use by adolescents for three sentinel sites in South Africa (Cape Town, Durban and Gauteng province). From 1997 to 2001, data were gathered from multiple sources, including specialist treatment centres, trauma units, school students, rave party attenders, and arrestees. Since the start of surveillance, an increasing proportion of South African adolescents are using AODs. Surveys point to high levels of alcohol misuse among high school students, with alcohol being the most common substance of abuse. Cannabis is the most frequently reported illicit drug of abuse among adolescents. This is reflected in the large proportion of adolescents receiving treatment for cannabis, cannabis-positive arrestees, and cannabis-positive trauma patients. Cannabis smoked together with methaqualone is the second most common primary drug of abuse in Cape Town. Arrestee data highlights the potentially negative effect of adolescent methaqualone use. Cocaine and heroin are emerging as problem drugs of abuse among adolescents in large metropolitan centres. Ecstasy (MDMA) use occurs mainly among adolescents who attend rave parties and clubs. The study points to the need for AOD intervention programmes that target young people and the need for continued monitoring of adolescent AOD use in the future.

Internet use and addiction among Finnish Adolescents (15-19years)

February 2014


881 Reads

This study investigates Internet use among Finnish adolescents (n = 475) combining qualitative and quantitative research. Internet use was evaluated using the Internet Addiction Test (Young, 1998a, 1998b). The data was divided into three parts according to the test scores: normal users (14.3%), mild over-users (61.5%), and moderate or serious over-users (24.2%). The most common reason for use was having fun. While half the students reported disadvantages associated with their use, further qualitative analysis revealed that students with serious overuse did not report any harm caused by using the Internet. As disadvantages of using the Internet, students reported that it is time-consuming and causes mental, social, and physical harm and poor school attendance. Four factors of Internet addiction were found, and for two of them, a statistical difference between females and males was found.

Friendship 2.0: Adolescents' experiences of belonging and self-disclosure online

April 2012


2,986 Reads

This study explores the role that digital media technologies play in adolescents' experiences of friendship and identity. The author draws on findings from in-depth interviews with 32 adolescents (15 girls, 17 boys) ages 13-18 (M = 15.5 years) attending one of seven secondary schools in Bermuda. The adolescents were asked to describe the nature of their online exchanges with friends and the value they ascribe to these conversations. A thematic analysis of their responses revealed that online peer communications promote adolescents' sense of belonging and self-disclosure, two important peer processes that support identity development during adolescence. At the same time, the unique features of computer-mediated communication shape adolescents' experiences of these processes in distinct ways. Gender and age differences show that adolescents' online peer communications are not uniform; the characteristics that distinguish adolescents offline also shape their online activities.

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