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Interpersonal relationships and the origins of mental health

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Abstract

This paper reviews current evidence of the significance of interpersonal relationships ‐ at community, workplace, school and family levels ‐ in influencing mental health and well‐being. It argues that the parent‐child relationship is of pre‐eminent importance both because of its direct effect on future mental health and because it sets the scene for future relationships. It also argues that, because of the reciprocal nature of the relationships, the mental health of society can be improved by improving the mental health of any of its individual members. From this it follows that to focus mental health promotion programmes entirely on the most vulnerable limits the potential for improvement, because working with people who are not mentally ill will increase their ability to support those who are. Universal mental health promotion programmes should therefore have relationships ‐ and parent‐child relationships in particular ‐ at their heart, aiming to improve everyone's capacity to relate supportively and respectfully to others.

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... Speech prosody is a subtle, yet important, method of communicating emotions and identifying the emotions expressed through speech prosody is important. Being able to recognize and understand emotions in speech prosody is essential to forming and maintaining healthy relationships (Jiam et al., 2017;Minzenberg et al., 2006;Stewart-Brown, 2005). Having healthier relationships leads to an improvement in overall well-being (Ciechanowski et al., 2005;Kenny et al., 2013;Martin & Dowson, 2009;Schutte et al., 2001;Stewart-Brown, 2005;Stoetzer et al., 2009;Zlotnick et al., 2000). ...
... Being able to recognize and understand emotions in speech prosody is essential to forming and maintaining healthy relationships (Jiam et al., 2017;Minzenberg et al., 2006;Stewart-Brown, 2005). Having healthier relationships leads to an improvement in overall well-being (Ciechanowski et al., 2005;Kenny et al., 2013;Martin & Dowson, 2009;Schutte et al., 2001;Stewart-Brown, 2005;Stoetzer et al., 2009;Zlotnick et al., 2000). ...
... Poor or unsatisfying interpersonal relationships are associated with more emotional distress in adolescence, higher rates of depression and stress, and less motivation and engagement in school (Ciechanowski et al., 2005;Kenny et al., 2013;Martin & Dowson, 2009;Schutte et al., 2001;Stewart-Brown, 2005;Stoetzer et al., 2009;Zlotnick et al., 2000). Contrastingly, strong or satisfying interpersonal relationships often correlate with better social and emotional development, lower emotional distress, and higher overall happiness (Ciechanowski et al., 2005;Kenny et al., 2013;Martin & Dowson, 2009;Schutte et al., 2001;Stewart-Brown, 2005;Stoetzer et al., 2009;Zlotnick et al., 2000). ...
Article
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Recent research has shown that formal musical training has a wealth of benefits in terms of cognition, mental health, social skills, and even speech perception. Of these benefits, there is strong support for a relationship between formal musical training and an improved ability to recognize emotions in speech prosody. Given this connection, interpersonal relationships stand to benefit from improved communication efficacy, which includes an improved ability to recognize emotions in speech. Interpersonal relationships rely on successful expression and interpretation of emotions in speech. If formal musical training can improve the perception of emotions in speech, it should indirectly benefit interpersonal relationship quality. The current study collected data from 197 undergraduate students about their formal musical training and interpersonal relationship quality through an online survey. The results showed that formal musical training accounted for 8% of the difference in relationship conflict but did not benefit relationship support or depth. While musical expertise does not necessarily improve relationship quality overall, it may help reduce conflict in relationships. Further research is needed, with participants who have greater musical expertise, to clarify the relationship between formal musical training and relationship conflict.
... Among these vital factors, students' interpersonal relationships attracted many researchers' attention. For example, Stewart-Brown reviewed the significance of interpersonal relationships in influencing mental health [21]. Okada et al. identified a positive relationship between interpersonal relationships and depression or less satisfaction with school life among students [22]. ...
... p < 0.001 *; and X 2 (4) = 5.522, p < 0.238 *). (2) This research work confirmed the correlation between the tension of interpersonal relationships and mental health distress conditions among college students in engineering professions, which were findings in some ways consistent with previous research [21,22,48]. However, the regression coefficients of the main effect models without controls were 1.087, 1.146, and 1.185 for the tension of interpersonal relationships on stress, anxiety, and depression, respectively, which were higher than Darling et al.'s results (−0.161, −0.082, −0.070, and −0.132 for friendship, parental relationship, love relationship, and family relationship on sense of coherence, respectively [41]). ...
Article
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Influenced by factors such as gendered masculine culture within the engineering fields, female engineering students are facing increasing mental health issues. However, the effect of gender or engineering identity on the mental health distress of female engineering students was not well explored till now. This study adds to the current body of knowledge of mental health distress in female engineering students by proposing and verifying a moderating model based on social identity theory (SIT). The data were collected in June 2022 using a cross-sectional survey questionnaire distributed at five universities in eastern China (N = 376). A stepwise multiple regression analysis was performed to understand the relation between the tension of interpersonal relationships, the mental health distress female engineering students suffer from, and their gender or engineering identity. In our sample, 13.03%, 15.96%, and 14.36% of the female engineering students self-reported moderate to extremely severe stress, anxiety, and depression, respectively. Meanwhile, our results provide empirical evidence for the significantly positive relationship between the female engineering students’ tension of interpersonal relationships and their mental health distress, including stress, anxiety, and depression. Moreover, we found that gender identity can enhance the positive relationships mentioned above, while engineering identity could weaken these relationships. These findings provide empirical evidence for the role of social identity theory in dealing with mental health problems among engineering students. Broadly, the results of this work inform that social identity and professional role identity should be considered when designing interventions to prevent mental health crises among college students.
... Social support is known to be especially important in mental health problems especially if stress is involved. A lack of social support has been shown to be associated with depression and other mental health problems 38 . ...
... There is a well described relationship between social networks and mental health. Those with few social contacts are known to be at a greater risk from mental health problems 38 . Social networks can also protect against stress. ...
Technical Report
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The reports in the ‘Indications of Public Health in the English Regions’ series address areas covered by the White Paper Choosing Health1 . Previous reports addressed the following topics: general health; lifestyles, ethnicity, child health, sexual health, and can be found at http://www.apho.org.uk/apho/indications.htm. Topics to be addressed in future reports include: older people, alcohol, and substance misuse.
... The significance of inter-personal relationships to mental health is widely recognisedacademics writing from different perspectives on mental wellbeing all appear to agree on the importance of positive inter-personal relationships. The capacity for mutually satisfying and enduring relationships has been identified as a key aspect of good mental health (World Health Organization et al., 2004) The development of attachment in early life and maintenance of positive relationships with self, intimate others, and strangers are also held to be important determinants of mental wellbeing (Bowlby, 1969;Fonagy and Higgitt, 2000) and negative relationships characterised by a lack of respect, or by distrust may also be an important precipitating factor in violence and an independent predictor of mental health problems (Stewart-Brown, 2005) (see sections 3.2.5 Emotional intelligence, 3.3.1 Family relations, 3.4.2 Peer and friend relationships, 3.5.2 ...
... Supportive social relationships protect and enhance mental health and have an important role in maintaining resilience in the face of adversity. Social support, especially perceived social support, correlates strongly with measures of mental health (Korkeila, 2000;Stewart-Brown, 2005). A 2004 mental health survey of children and young people in Great Britain showed that the well established relationship for adults between availability of social support and mental health 21 also exists for young people (aged 11 to 16) (Green et al., 2005). ...
... In other words, it would be sufficed to say: social alienation begets self-alienation. In accordance with these speculations, interpersonal PJSEL Vol 9 (1) DECEMBER 2022: ISSN 2521-8123 (Print) 2523-1227 (Online) communication, social well-being (Stewart-Brown, 2005), and close relationships (Sels et al., 2016) have been found to be significantly linked with mental health and psychological well-being. Earlier Jourard had suggested that personal growth, which he defined as a person's ability to adopt new ways of behaving is the direct outcome of 'openness to the world' (Greene et al., 2006). ...
Article
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The present study was undertaken to a) assess the relationship of self-disclosure and disclosure flexibility with personal growth, b) examine differences in the personal growth of individuals with low and high self-disclosure flexibility, and lastly, c) determine the interactive effect of self-disclosure and disclosure on personal growth among young adults. The sample for the study comprised 75 male and 75 female university students with an age range of 20 to 24 years. Results revealed that relative to self-disclosure, personal growth was significantly related to self-disclosure flexibility. As expected, the low flexibility disclosure group reported higher personal growth than the high flexibility disclosure group. In addition, a non-significant interaction was observed between self-disclosure and disclosure flexibility. In conclusion, the results emphasize the stronger contribution of self-disclosure flexibility in the personal growth of young adults.
... Compared to other life experiences, the peer relationship during childhood whereas being ignored by previous studies determines to a large extent the mental health through the whole life course especially in old age. A great deal of studies have examined the association between peer relationship and the mental health for a particular age cohort such as adolescents, working-age adults [49]. In this study, we confirmed a significantly larger "long arm" effect of the interpersonal relationship in childhood than the economic conditions and community environment on later mental health both in the baseline model and multiple-group comparison ones. ...
Article
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Current evidence and research of the life course approach on the association between life experiences and health in old age are fragmentary. This paper empirically examines the “long arm” effect of the childhood circumstances on mental health in later life using a large longitudinal dataset (CHARLS) conducted in 2014 and 2015. We operationalize the childhood circumstances as family economic conditions, community environment, and peer network to include the meaningful content and understand their interaction. The SEM results indicate that effects of those factors contributing to older people’s mental health are unequal and vary among age groups and genders. Of those, peer network in childhood determines to a large extent the mental health through the whole life course, while economic conditions and community environment are weakly associated with mental health. Furthermore, we find a distinct interaction mechanism linking those variables. The peer network completely mediates the effect of the community environment on the mental health of older adults and has a partial mediating effect on the economic conditions. Those findings suggest that social policies aimed at promoting older people’s mental health in the context of the active ageing and health ageing strategy should go beyond the old age stage and target social conditions early in childhood.
... Maintaining healthy interpersonal relationships with other people has been found to improve psychological health and well-being. Poor social connections and support from others have been associated with stress and affect mental health negatively [58]. Considering this negative development of empathy within adolescents, it is necessary to explore ways to help enhance empathy with adolescents. ...
Article
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Attending college is meaningful for many young adults. This period is marked by physical, emotional, and psychological changes that can have both positive and negative effects on college students. The last two decades have seen an alarming increase in the number of college students who suffer from mental health conditions, such as depression, suicide, anxiety, and alcohol abuse. It is recommended that actions to support the students’ wellbeing must be creative and evidence-based. Research suggests that a mindfulness-based intervention may be an effective strategy to address mental health conditions among college students. This study was done to examine the efficacy of an adapted mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) program that was implemented in a classroom setting in the Philippines and to explore how mindfulness practice can affect empathy and self-compassion on senior Filipino college students aged 19–22 years old. Two classes were used to compare the effects of mindfulness intervention. One class underwent the adapted MBCT program while the other class underwent the same kind of class without mindfulness interventions. Self-report measures of the Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire, Perspective Taking subscale and Empathic Concern subscale of Interpersonal Reactivity Index, and Self-compassion scale—short form were administered before undergoing the adapted MBCT and after the program. After going through the adapted MBCT, college students’ mindfulness significantly improved. Empathy and self-compassion also significantly improved after undergoing the program. This corroborates previous studies done on mindfulness and its efficacy with adolescents and suggests how practicing mindfulness can improve empathy and self-compassion with Filipino college students. It provides a promising groundwork for the emerging interest and research in Asia, particularly in the Philippines, on how the practice of mindfulness can help with the mental health of college students.
... Researchers have investigated that positive interaction and social support encourages employee engagement (Hansen et al., 2014), creativity and innovation (Munoz-Doyague & Nieto, 2012;Nisula, 2015), sharing of knowledge (Peroune, 2007), positive mental health (Stewart-Brown, 2005) and reduce workplace violence (Bowen et al., 2011). Prior studies have reported that there are some contextual factors such as trust (Brower et al., 2000;Nienaber et al., 2015), work dimensions like task accomplishment, personal support and career development (Kahn, 2007), organizational culture, team size and company policies, which influence the development of a collegial relationship (Henderson et al., 2009;Liden et al., 1993). ...
Article
The wave of change and rigorous competition has compelled the power sector to adopt a proactive resolution-oriented employee relations (ER) approach towards employee satisfaction and organizational performance. A cordial ER is based on fairness, trust and mutual respect and leads to motivated, loyal and high-performing employees and facilitates them to achieve the optimum results for their organization. Therefore, the study aims to examine the employer–employee relations prevalent in power sector. A structured questionnaire was administered to collect the data from a sample of 175 full-time working members including both executives and non-executives and were analysed using SPSS. For this study, a hypothesized research model was developed to investigate the relationship between drivers of ER and cordial ER. The regression analysis entails that the variables such as: interpersonal relationships, safe and healthy work environment, and employee welfare were significant predictors of cordial ER. The research will add practical insights for managers to realize the importance of these drivers of ER and to design appropriate strategies and policies for maintaining better ER.
... This includes self-acceptance, positive relations with others, having a conducive work environment, having a sense of selfdetermination and personal authority, having a purpose in life and striving for personal growth. Stewart-Brown [6] *Corresponding author. Email: norintan@um.edu.my also suggested that emotional and protective factors, such as locus of control and resiliency, are important to developing positive mental well-being. ...
Article
Purpose: To assess Malaysian dentists’ perceptions of their mental well-being. Methods: A self-administered questionnaire was developed based on a conceptual framework of mental health and well-being model. Two aspects were assessed namely the physiological (2 domains) and the psychological (6 domains). Participants were asked to rate their experiences of the abovementioned aspects using a 5-point Likert scale ranging from all the time to never. Results: The response rate was 81%. Most of the dentists (61.7%) perceived having positive mental well-being. Under the physiological aspect, most respondents reported that they were ‘generally happy’ (93.3%), but about 30% stated they were ‘stressed physically and emotionally’. Of the six domains under the psychological aspect, positive well-being was observed in the ‘sense of coherence’ and ‘behavioural stress’ domains. Participants who were above 40 years old, married and had children reported having a more positive mental well-being when compared to their counterparts. Conclusion: Overall, most Malaysian dentists perceived having a positive mental well-being. It is however crucial to closely monitor and initiate early interventions for those with negative symptoms to ensure the safe practice of dentistry.
... Social networks are quantified as the number, frequency and density of contacts with other people. There is a strong relationship between social networks and mental health: those with few social contacts are at increased risk of mental health problems (Stewart-Brown 2002). Social networks can prevent problems arising from stress and research suggests that they can help women recover from depression (Brugha et al 1990). ...
... In general, large-scale and sustained national or regional mental health promotion initiatives are needed in Europe 51 and behavioural change on individual level must necessarily be accompanied by a transformation of the environment. Therefore living spaces, services, communities and, as a consequence, policies have to be modified 66 and institutional relationships and networking should be encouraged 67 . The positive impact of policies and programmes will be improved if older people themselves are included in the planning phase of policies and programmes affecting them. ...
... These include physical activity, diet, alcohol consumption and the use of cannabis and other psychotropic substances. Certain emotional and cognitive skills and attributes are also associated with positive mental well-being, including feeling satisfied, optimistic, hopeful, confident, understood, relaxed, enthusiastic, interested in other people and in control (Kammann & Flett, 1983;Mauthner & Platt, 1998;Stewart-Brown, 2005). ...
Article
Choosing Health is the first government public health white paper since Saving Lives: Our Healthier Nation, published in 1999. It aims to make the NHS ‘a health service, not a sickness service,’ and is strongly influenced by the Wanless reports. This paper presents a critical review of the main elements of the white paper that relate to mental health, and sets out the actions that policy makers and service delivery organisations need to take to build genuinely mental health promoting public services within a mentally healthy society. Details Journal of Public Mental Health, vol. 4 no. 1 Type: Research Article DOI: https://doi.org/10.1108/17465729200500009 ISSN: 1746-5729
... self-acceptance, positive relations with others, autonomy, environmental mastery, purpose in life and personal growth). The relatively few scales designed to measure positive mental health since then have also based their indicators on similar constructs, including resilience, self-esteem, self-effi cacy, optimism, life satisfaction, hopefulness, perceptions and judgements about sense of coherence and meaning in life, and social integration (Antonovsky, 1993;Mauthner and Platt, 1998;Stewart-Brown, 2005;Ryff and Singer, 1996;Zubrick and Kovess-Masfety, 2005) 2 . These indicators, which include both general measures and validated scales of specifi c constructs (see Zubrick and Kovess-Masfety, 2005) have been found to be associated with better physical health, improved recovery rates, fewer limitations in daily living, greater productivity, educational attainment, employment and earnings, better quality of life, relationships, and health behaviours (NIMHE, 2005;Dolan et al., 2006;Lyubomirsky et al., 2005). ...
Article
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Mental health is fundamental to good health and quality of life and also infl uences social and economic outcomes across the lifespan. In the UK, Europe and globally, there has been an increasing recognition of the importance of mental health and wellbeing to overall health in recent years (WHO, 2001; 2002, 2004a; 2004b; Jané-Llopis and Anderson 2005; Mental Health Foundation, 2005; NIMHE, 2005). The WHO European Mental Health Declaration and Action Plan (WHO, 2005) and the EC Mental Health Green Paper and Strategy (European Commission, 2005) highlight two emerging themes: 1) the social and economic prosperity of Europe will depend on improving mental health and wellbeing; 2) promoting mental health will also deliver improved outcomes for people with mental health problems.
... The correlation between the latent dimension and the social desirability construct was also considered., it was expected that the Psychology students should be more oriented toward the psychological constructs than the other students. For the gender, the expectation was that females should be particularly oriented toward the psychological/social constructs (e.g.Angermeyer et al. 1998;Stewart-Brown 2005). ...
Article
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A Many-Facet Rasch analysis was carried out with the intent of identifying a latent trait dimension characterized by mental disorders causal beliefs variables. The present research consists of two studies. In Study 1, the responses of 443 Italian university students to a 40-item scale were analyzed by means of Rasch models. In Study 2, the responses of two new groups of subjects, of 300 and 135 people respectively, were examined to further validate the mental disorders causal beliefs dimension obtained in Study 1. Specific bias/interactions between the MDCB dimension and other variables, such as gender and university faculties, were detected. Correlation analyses between the MDCB dimension and attribution theory and social desirability variables were also carried out. The results showed that a 30-item Mental Disorder Causal Beliefs (MDCB) latent dimension exists, characterized by contents representative of biological-genetic and psycho-social causes. Males and females did not differ on their causal beliefs, whereas Psychology students presented more psycho-social etiology beliefs. The MDCB dimension was correlated neither to a general locus of control scale nor to the social desirability measure, whereas it was significantly correlated to the psychotherapeutic attribution measure. The results evidenced a well devised measure which can be potentially useful in the research and clinical practice for the assessment of people's etiology beliefs about mental illness, focusing on the development of personalized interventions to reduce or modify eventual negative attitudes and misconceptions.
... self-acceptance, positive relations with others, autonomy, environmental mastery, purpose in life and personal growth). The relatively few scales designed to measure positive mental health since then have also based their indicators on similar constructs, including resilience, self-esteem, self-effi cacy, optimism, life satisfaction, hopefulness, perceptions and judgements about sense of coherence and meaning in life, and social integration (Antonovsky, 1993;Mauthner and Platt, 1998;Stewart-Brown, 2005;Ryff and Singer, 1996;Zubrick and Kovess-Masfety, 2005) 2 . These indicators, which include both general measures and validated scales of specifi c constructs (see Zubrick and Kovess-Masfety, 2005) have been found to be associated with better physical health, improved recovery rates, fewer limitations in daily living, greater productivity, educational attainment, employment and earnings, better quality of life, relationships, and health behaviours (NIMHE, 2005;Dolan et al., 2006;Lyubomirsky et al., 2005). ...
Chapter
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From" Foresight State-of-Science Review: SR-B3." Summary This report reviews the literature on the conceptualisation of positive mental health and outlines current understanding on the determinants of mental health and their implications for research, policy and practice.The concept of positive mental health is introduced and its contribution to the future health, social and economic capital and wellbeing of society is discussed. The determinants of positive mental health across the lifespan from infancy to old age are reviewed, focusing particularly on the modifi able psychosocial, economic and environmental determinants. Enhancing factors for mental health operating at the structural, community and individual level are considered, including socioeconomic circumstances, distribution of wealth, living environments, education, employment, access to natural and community resources, social inclusion, social support, and individual skills and attributes. The review considers the need for further research on the nature and determinants of positive mental health. The evidence suggests that policies focusing on curing or preventing mental disorders will not necessarily deliver on improved mental health at a population level. The growing evidence of the effectiveness of mental health promotion interventions strengthens the case for action across all sectors in creating conditions that promote positive mental health, fl ourishing and wellbeing.
... The relatively few scales designed to measure positive mental health since then have also based their indicators on similar constructs, including resilience, self-esteem, selfefficacy, optimism, life satisfaction, hopefulness, perceptions and judgements about sense of coherence and meaning in life, and social integration (Antonovsky, 1993;Ryff & Singer, 1996;Stewart-Brown, 2005;Zubrick & Kovess-Masfety, 2005). Keyes developed scales of social well-being to explore how people perceive themselves functioning in their social and public life. ...
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Chapter
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• We examined sequelae of depressive mood, experienced at ages 15 to 16 years, nine years later at ages 24 to 25 years in subjects formerly enrolled in New York State public high schools. Feelings of dysphoria in adolescence predict most strongly a similar experience in adulthood. Such feelings also predict psychiatric hospitalization for women but not for men, at least up to the period we investigated. In addition, adolescent depression is associated with heavy cigarette smoking, increased use of minor prescription tranquilizers (among women), more deviant activities and accidents as young adults, and selective effects on interpersonal relationships. The long-term effects of adolescent depression manifest themselves in a reduced ability to establish an intimate relationship with a member of the opposite sex rather than the ability to maintain a circle of male and female friends. The distance from spouse (or partner) repeats within the marital dyad the lack of closeness to parents experienced in adolescence. Dysphoric mood seems to be associated with a deficiency to establish close interpersonal relationships within the family that expresses itself differently at different stages of the life cycle: toward parents in adolescence, and toward spouses and parents in young adulthood.
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Some of the personality characteristics of infants emerge from the positive and negative interactions of their brain emotional strengths with world events. Positive emotional systems appear to operate as attractors that capture cognitive spaces, leading to their broadening, cultivation, and development. Negative emotions tend to constrain cognitive activities to more narrow and obsessive channels. One aim of healthy development is to generate harmonious, well-integrated layers of emotional and higher mental processes, as opposed to conflicts between emotional and cognitive experiences. To understand such processes scientifically, we need to conceptualize the deep nature of the emotional brain and the psychiatric difficulties that can emerge from underlying imbalances. Obviously, one has to view the infant as a coherent entity rather than a conglomeration of neurological parts—but a scientific understanding of how their fundamental brain emotional systems may operate (based on the detailed neurobehavioral study of other mammals), may provide new ways to conceptualize how different social environments may modify those paths. Herein, I will highlight areas of research we might cultivate to promote a deeper understanding of key neuro-developmental issues. The basic premise is that with the emergence of habitual capacities to project their emotions into the world, infants gradually come to see their environments as fundamentally friendly places or uncaring and threatening ones. A great deal of this presumably emerges from brain systems that control sadness and joy. Those brain processes, along with developmental implications, are discussed in some detail. ©2001 Michigan Association for Infant Mental Health.
Article
Longitudinal data from a high-risk sample (N = 173, male: n = 93, female: n = 80) were used to examine socioemotional antecedents of school adjustment in adolescence. Parental problem-solving support in early childhood and early adolescence and measures of peer competence, externalizing behavior, and emotional health/self-esteem in early middle childhood were examined both independently and in relation to academic achievement in early middle childhood as predictors of high school adjustment. For this sample, early and later parental problem-solving support alone accounted for 13% of the variance in high school adjustment. Early and later parental problem-solving support and measures of peer competence, externalizing behavior, and emotional health/self-esteem in early middle childhood accounted for 32% of the total variance in high school adjustment with or without early academic achievement taken into account. In regression analyses controlling for socioeconomic status and prior achievement, middle childhood socioemotional variables significantly predicted high school adjustment. Modest differences in results for boys and girls were obtained.
Article
Three studies explored the connection between attachment and peer-related representations. Children heard stories in which a peer with ambiguous intent caused a negative event. Study 1 examined three aspects of peer-related representations in 3.5-yr-olds: representations of (1) peer intent, (2) behavioral responses to the event, and (3) peer feelings. Children's representations of the mother's response to the event were also examined. Study 2 examined the connection between attachment and the same aspects of peer-related representations in kindergarten and 1st-grade children. The proposition implicit in attachment theory that it is children's representations of peer relationships that in part account for the connection between child–parent attachment and relations with peers was also tested. Study 3 focused on representations of peer intent in connection with self-reported maternal and paternal rejection in 5th graders. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
To describe the prevalence of suicide attempts and suicidal ideation in a birth cohort of New Zealand children studied to the age of 16 years; to examine the extent to which risks of suicide attempts and suicidal ideation varied with levels of adolescent psychopathology, problems of adjustment, and exposure to adverse conditions during childhood; and to examine the extent to which those attempting suicide could be distinguished from those reporting suicidal ideation alone. Data were gathered on suicide attempts, suicidal ideation, psychiatric diagnoses, adjustment problems, and childhood factors during the course of a 16-year longitudinal study of a birth cohort of New Zealand children. Twelve percent of this cohort reported suicidal ideation before the age of 16 years and 3% attempted suicide. The extent to which young people expressed suicidal tendencies varied with the extent to which the young person met criteria for psychiatric disorder, the extent of adjustment problems, and the extent to which the young person had been exposed to adverse family circumstances. Those attempting suicide were distinguished from those reporting suicidal ideation by having significantly higher rates of psychopathology (p < .05), higher rates of adjustment problems (p < .005), and greater exposure to childhood and family adversity (p < .05). The results of this analysis were consistent with a dimensional model of suicidal behaviors in which those attempting suicide are distinguished from those reporting suicidal ideation alone by having a greater burden of psychosocial risk factors including psychiatric disorder, adjustment problems, and adverse childhood circumstances.
Article
Brain development is affected by stress early in development. Activity of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical (HPA) axis plays a role in mediating the effects of adversity on the developing brain. The impact of glucocorticoids on brain development has been studied in animal models. The literature linking activity of the HPA axis to memory, attention, and emotion in human children is briefly reviewed. Evidence for decreased reactivity of the HPA system developing over the first year of life is presented. Finally, the role of sensitive and responsive caregiving in buffering reactivity of the HPA system to potentially stressful events is described. It is argued that these data provide yet more support for the importance of fostering safe, secure care for children early in their development.
Article
Researchers have questioned why some children and adolescents are more resilient than others in the face of adversity and have identified several protective factors. The present paper focuses on one of these variables, namely, support from caring adults in the community. We present a brief review of this component of the resiliency literature along with a discussion of some of the issues and challenges raised by the findings. It is suggested that the evidence is substantial enough and the possible rewards associated with exploiting these findings considerable enough to warrant mounting wide-scale community-based efforts to assist vulnerable youth.