Article

High-achieving schools connote risks for adolescents: Problems documented, processes implicated, and directions for interventions

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  • National Coalition of Independent Scholars
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Abstract

Excessive pressures to excel, generally in affluent contexts, are now listed among the top 4 "high risk" factors for adolescents' mental health, along with exposure to poverty, trauma, and discrimination. Multiple studies of high-achieving school (HAS) cohorts have shown elevated rates of serious symptoms relative to norms, with corroborating evidence from other research using diverse designs. Grounded in theories on resilience and ecological influences in development, a conceptual model is presented here on major risk and protective processes implicated in unrelenting achievement pressures facing HAS youth. These include forces at the macrolevel, including economic and technological changes that have led to the "middle class squeeze," and proximal influences involving the family, peers, schools, and communities. Also considered are potential directions for future interventions, with precautions about some practices that are currently widespread in HAS contexts. In the years ahead, any meaningful reductions in the high distress of HAS youth will require collaborations among all stakeholders, with parents and educators targeting the specific areas that must be prioritized in their own communities. Leaders in higher education and social policy could also help in beginning to curtail this problem, which is truly becoming an epidemic among today's youth. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved).

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... Early findings countered some presumptions (e.g., showing that overscheduling was not a likely cause) and, more importantly, provided initial insights into context-specific influences, as Ed urged. Specifically, two unique dimensions were identified as likely important in these highachieving school settings (see Luthar, Kumar, & Zillmer, 2019b;Luthar et al., 2013). The first was perceptions of parents' values: Students who felt their parents placed more value on personal decency, relative to personal accomplishments, fared better than the others. ...
... The importance of perceived parent containment was further highlighted in a long-term prospective study, wherein students were assessed from ages 12 to 28 years (summarized in Luthar et al., 2019b). Findings clearly showed that although substance use was somewhat commonplace among high school peers, it is by no means inconsequential. ...
... Accumulating evidence on HAS youth also led to a revised theoretical model of the likely mechanisms or processes exacerbating their vulnerability. This new conceptual model indicated, first, that it is not the affluence of students' own families that confers risk but rather, being in a high-achieving school where pressures to achieve and excel are constant (Luthar et al., 2019b; National Academy of Science, Engineering, & Medicine [NASEM], 2019). Second, these ongoing achievement pressures are multiply determined, reflecting equifinality (Cicchetti & Rogosch, 1996); they stem from peers, parents, teachers, communities, global competitiveness, and college admissions criteria. ...
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When children are exposed to serious life adversities, Ed Zigler believed that developmental scientists must expediently strive to illuminate the most critical directions for beneficial interventions. In this paper, we present a new study on risk and resilience on adolescents during COVID-19, bookended - in introductory and concluding discussions - by descriptions of programmatic work anchored in lessons learned from Zigler. The new study was conducted during the first two months of the pandemic, using a mixed-methods approach with a sample of over 2,000 students across five high schools. Overall, rates of clinically significant symptoms were generally lower as compared to norms documented in 2019. Multivariate regressions showed that the most robust, unique associations with teens' distress were with feelings of stress around parents and support received from them. Open ended responses to three questions highlighted concerns about schoolwork and college, but equally, emphasized worries about families' well-being, and positive outreach from school adults. The findings have recurred across subsequent school assessments, and strongly resonate with contemporary perspectives on resilience in science and policy. If serious distress is to be averted among youth under high stress, interventions must attend not just to the children's mental health but that of salient caregiving adults at home and school. The article concludes with some specific recommendations for community-based initiatives to address mental health through continued uncertainties of the pandemic.
... Our students are bright and motivated, and are fortunate to have an abundance of resources and opportunities. Typical of high achieving schools, they also feel the weight of their privilege in equal measures of stress and pressure, which manifests itself in higher than average rates of depression and anxiety, self-harm, and suicidality (Luthar et al., 2019). ...
... School settings that tend to have high test scores, many extracurricular activities, and a majority of graduates attending elite universities (Coley, Sims, Dearing, & Spielvogel, 2018;Luthar, Kumar, & Zillmer, 2019). ...
... Youth facing excessive pressure to excel typically exist within affluent communities, but that is not always the case. For this reason, the literature has moved away from referring to these populations of students as "privileged or affluent" (Luthar & Latendresse, 2005) and towards referring to them as students or youth in high-achieving schools, or HAS youth (Luthar, Kumar, & Zillmer, 2019). ...
Article
Adolescent girls are the future leaders of the world. They are desperately needed and increasingly in pain. Adolescent youth are facing a mental health epidemic caused by many complex factors. High-achieving settings are now considered a high-risk factor for adolescents, along with youth experiencing trauma, discrimination, and poverty. These students face immense pressure to excel, social isolation, and limited relationships. Positive Psychology provides a pathway for school environments to build structures that support adolescent well-being. Specifically, this paper will focus on how cooperative games and play are a pathway to increase well-being and build leadership competencies in adolescent girls.
... Although in our study, racism and social stratification are probable causes of such counterintuitive finding, some related pattern is also shown in high White and Asian American children in high-achieving families. An extensive body of work by Luthar and colleagues [102][103][104][105] has shown elevated rates of behavioral problems such as substance use and even affective problems in White adolescents in affluent settings, wealthy suburbs, high-achieving schools, and high SES families. In several original articles and a review article published in American Psychologist [103], it was explained that the potential mechanisms by which students in affluent settings, high-income neighborhoods, and high-achieving schools may in fact be at risk. ...
... An extensive body of work by Luthar and colleagues [102][103][104][105] has shown elevated rates of behavioral problems such as substance use and even affective problems in White adolescents in affluent settings, wealthy suburbs, high-achieving schools, and high SES families. In several original articles and a review article published in American Psychologist [103], it was explained that the potential mechanisms by which students in affluent settings, high-income neighborhoods, and high-achieving schools may in fact be at risk. Given the work by Luthar et al., high SES Black children are not the only group that shows worse-than-expected developmental, emotional, and behavioral trajectories [102][103][104][105]. ...
... In several original articles and a review article published in American Psychologist [103], it was explained that the potential mechanisms by which students in affluent settings, high-income neighborhoods, and high-achieving schools may in fact be at risk. Given the work by Luthar et al., high SES Black children are not the only group that shows worse-than-expected developmental, emotional, and behavioral trajectories [102][103][104][105]. However, the explanation for worse-than-expected outcomes of White and Asian American children is not related to racism but probably expectations due to high demand, expectations, and aspirations [106]. ...
Article
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Introduction: Although the effects of parental education and household income on children’s brain development are well established, less is known about possible variation in these effects across diverse racial and ethnic groups. According to the Minorities’ Diminished Returns (MDRs) phenomenon, due to structural racism, social stratification, and residential segregation, parental educational attainment and household income show weaker effects for non-White than White children. Purpose: Built on the MDRs framework and conceptualizing race as a social rather than a biological factor, this study explored racial and ethnic variation in the magnitude of the effects of parental education and household income on children’s whole-brain cortical surface area. Methods: For this cross-sectional study, we used baseline socioeconomic and structural magnetic resonance imaging (sMRI) data of the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) study. Our analytical sample was 10,262 American children between ages 9 and 10. The independent variables were parental education and household income. The primary outcome was the children’s whole-brain cortical surface area. Age, sex, and family marital status were covariates. Race and ethnicity were the moderators. We used mixed-effects regression models for data analysis as participants were nested within families and study sites. Results: High parental education and household income were associated with larger children’s whole-brain cortical surface area. The effects of high parental education and high household income on children’s whole-brain cortical surface area were modified by race. Compared to White children, Black children showed a diminished return of high parental education on the whole-brain cortical surface area when compared to White children. Asian American children showed weaker effects of household income on the whole-brain cortical surface area when compared to White children. We could not find differential associations between parental education and household income with the whole-brain cortical surface area, when compared to White children, for non-Hispanic and Hispanic children. Conclusions: The effects of parental educational attainment and household income on children’s whole-brain cortical surface area are weaker in non-White than White families. Although parental education and income contribute to children’s brain development, these effects are unequal across racial groups.
... Accumulated evidence shows that HAS youth manifest disturbingly high rates of both internalizing and externalizing symptoms, as well as substance use. As noted above, a core underlying reason is posited to be ongoing pressures to accumulate distinctions in academics and extracurriculars (for a review, see Luthar, Kumar, & Zillmer, 2019). The effort here was to explore the potential role of several constructs that are conceptually related to this overarching risk factor-high achievement pressuresfollowing recommendations for resilience research on any little studied group of at-risk youth (Luthar et al., 2019). ...
... As noted above, a core underlying reason is posited to be ongoing pressures to accumulate distinctions in academics and extracurriculars (for a review, see Luthar, Kumar, & Zillmer, 2019). The effort here was to explore the potential role of several constructs that are conceptually related to this overarching risk factor-high achievement pressuresfollowing recommendations for resilience research on any little studied group of at-risk youth (Luthar et al., 2019). ...
... An unfortunate byproduct of exposure to ongoing achievement pressures (Geisz & Nakashian, 2018;NASEM, 2019) is heightened competitiveness and comparisons among peers (Luthar et al., 2019). Within HAS settings, research has, in fact, demonstrated the "Big Fish Little Pond Effect," wherein growing up in a group of academically well-performing students is apparently worse for students' academic self-concepts than being the best among average students (Becker & Neumann, 2018;Fang et al., 2018). ...
Article
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Youth in high-achieving schools (HASs) are now declared to be an “at-risk group,” largely because of strong, ongoing pressures to achieve. In this study, we sought to disentangle processes that might underlie how achievement pressures might exacerbate distress, considering five dimensions conceptually important in HAS settings: feelings of envy, comparisons with others on social media, negative feedback from others, the ability to maintain supportive friendships with peers, and overall time pressures. Also included were two potential confounds: time spent on social media and attachment to parents. Across three different HAS samples (total N = 1608), these dimensions were examined in relation to anxious-depressed, withdrawn-depressed, and somatic symptoms, and rule-breaking behaviors using multivariate analyses conducted separately by school and gender. Results revealed that associations between social comparisons and internalizing symptoms were consistent in all subgroups, with robust effect sizes throughout. Additionally, negative feedback on social media was linked with rule-breaking behavior in five out of six subgroups. Results indicated the critical value of targeting social comparisons, in particular, followed by negative feedback on social media in future interventions aimed at fostering resilient adaptation among HAS youth.
... Therefore, this study focused on Black secondary students' mental health and help-seeking within a special admissions high-achieving school context. Discrimination and excessive pressures to succeed are two of the top four risk factors, further increasing mental health concerns within the adolescent population (Benner et al., 2018;Luthar et al., 2019). Adolescents in high-achieving schools present with higher rates of anxiety, depression, and somatic symptoms compared to the national normative data of adolescents in the United States (Luthar et al., 2019). ...
... Discrimination and excessive pressures to succeed are two of the top four risk factors, further increasing mental health concerns within the adolescent population (Benner et al., 2018;Luthar et al., 2019). Adolescents in high-achieving schools present with higher rates of anxiety, depression, and somatic symptoms compared to the national normative data of adolescents in the United States (Luthar et al., 2019). Similarly, perceptions of discrimination amongst adolescents are correlated with various internalizing symptoms, including anxiety, lonesomeness, stress, somatic symptoms, self-esteem, and diminished well-being, with the most substantial relationship between discrimination and depression (Benner et al., 2018). ...
... High achieving schools are perceived as environments that increase the risk for adolescent mental health concerns due to the challenging and demanding curriculum (Suldo et al., 2008); academic stress related to studying, grades, homework, and time management (Deanda et al., 2000); excessive pressures from parents and teachers; and perceptions of peer competition (Luthar et al., 2019). This stress due to high school demands occurs during a period of potentially stressful adolescent events, including puberty, school transitions, everyday life events, and changing relationships with family and peers (McNamara, 2000). ...
Article
The underrepresentation of Black youth in high‐achieving academic settings places significant importance on examining their daily experiences. This study investigated the relationship between school discrimination, well‐being in academic settings, the risk for anxiety and depression, and school mental health help‐seeking intentions. Participants included 110 Black high school students (66% women; mean age = 15.67) attending a special‐admissions public school who participated in their school universal mental health screening. Black high school students in this high achieving context experienced few occurrences of school discrimination, yet these experiences still significantly impacted their internalizing severity. The mediation analyses revealed that experiences of discrimination predicted lower levels of academic efficacy and school connectedness, which predicted higher levels of internalizing symptoms. Experiences of discrimination were not related to mental health help‐seeking at school. However, Black youth's intentions to seek mental health services at school were low, regardless of discriminatory experiences, as evidenced by the percentage of universal screening dissent and their self‐reported plans to seek support. The findings highlight the need to consider Black adolescents' experiences in high achieving schools when engaged in universal mental health screening and individual and school‐wide mental health prevention efforts.
... Adolescent girls from competitive, upwardly mobile communities appear to be particularly at risk for maladjustment, reporting greater levels of stress and clinical depression than their counterparts [20,26]. One study found that across all participating high achieving schools (HAS), students had clinically significant depressive and anxious symptoms that were six to seven times higher than the national average [28]. Partially underlying this depression and anxiety is that girls from HAS overly focus on extrinsic, self-oriented goals, such as physical appearance and peer admiration [29]. ...
... Specifically, in HAS communities, the general culture of achievement emphasis is associated with relatively poor student functioning, and parents can either perpetuate this culture or promote prosociality/kindness [28,41]. Among affluent youth from HAS communities, parenting that primarily focuses on self-oriented goals and extrinsic markers of success may have deleterious developmental consequences [41]. ...
... Our results are also consistent with Liang and Klein's [22] notion of performance mindset, and findings from Luthar and colleagues [26,28] that youth from affluent backgrounds are sometimes subject to disconnected parents who pressure them to conform to narrow definitions of success focused primarily on extrinsic goals (e.g., academic excellence), rather than supporting their intrinsic interests and purpose. Moreover, it stands to reason that parents who lack empathy in their relationships with their daughters fail to model and instill in their daughters the same empathy that is associated with prosociality and ultimately other-oriented purpose. ...
Article
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Youth purpose is defined as a life aim that is both personally meaningful and contributes to the world beyond the self. This study disaggregated other-oriented (OO) aims (i.e., purpose as defined as a life aim intended to contribute to the world) and self-oriented (SO) aims (i.e., a personally meaningful life aim without intention to contribute beyond the self) to examine the development of youth who evince various combinations of high and low OO and SO aims. In a sample of 207 adolescent girls, hierarchical cluster analysis revealed three clusters: High SO–High OO (“Self and Other-Oriented Aims”), High SO–Low OO (“Self-Oriented Aims”), and High OO–Low SO (“Other-Oriented Aims”). A MANOVA indicated that youth who reported higher levels of parental trust and communication were more likely to have OO purpose (i.e., “Self and Other-Oriented Aims” and “Other-Oriented Aims”) versus primarily SO aims (“Self-Oriented Aims”). The “Self and Other-Oriented Aims” cluster was associated with better psychosocial functioning.
... In this respect, research in evolutionary psychology and evolutionary anthropology supports the hypothesis that status-seeking motives are central to market-based AC (Buss et al., 2001;Miller, 2009;Ferguson et al., 2011a;Abed et al., 2012;Griskevicius and Kendrick, 2013;Barkow, 2014). Evolutionary research is complemented by studies in the critical domain of education, and more specifically research over the past few decades centered on the health and well-being of adolescents who attend high achieving schools (Luthar et al., 2013(Luthar et al., , 2020Luthar and Kumar, 2018;Spencer et al., 2018;Ebbert et al., 2019). ...
... More recently, these researchers emphasize the middle-class financial "squeeze" and consequent parental anxieties. Under these socio-economic conditions, parents become anxious that less than optimum performance by their children will increase the chances of their children being left behind, thus failing to attain the level of status that they themselves have achieved (Luthar et al., 2020). Young people in these environments feel significant pressures to succeed at the highest levels in all of their pursuits, not just academically but also in athletics and other extra-curricular activities (Spencer et al., 2018). ...
... The importance of educational achievement in the development of market-based industrial cultures has previously been noted Worthman and Trang, 2018). This population-level research is complemented by selective studies of young people and their identities in areas such as appearance ideals (Patrick et al., 2004;Ashikali and Dittmar, 2012;Holsen et al., 2012;Easterbrook et al., 2014;Guðnadóttir and Garðarsdóttir, 2014;Daniels and Gillen, 2015;Kling et al., 2017;Vartanian and Hayward, 2018) materialism (Ashikali and Dittmar, 2012;Easterbrook et al., 2014;Guðnadóttir and Garðarsdóttir, 2014) and educational achievement (Wiklund et al., 2010;Deci and Ryan, 2012;Luthar et al., 2013;Luthar and Kumar, 2018;Spencer et al., 2018;Luthar et al., 2020), cited below or at salient points in the paper. ...
Article
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With the transition toward densely populated and urbanized market-based cultures over the past 200 years, young people’s development has been conditioned by the ascendancy of highly competitive skills-based labor markets that demand new forms of embodied capital (e.g., education) for young people to succeed. Life-history analysis reveals parental shifts toward greater investment in fewer children so parents can invest more in their children’s embodied capital for them to compete successfully. Concomitantly, the evolution of market-based capitalism has been associated with the rise of extrinsic values such as individualism, materialism and status-seeking, which have intensified over the last 40–50 years in consumer economies. The dominance of extrinsic values is consequential: when young people show disproportionate extrinsic relative to intrinsic values there is increased risk for mental health problems and poorer well-being. This paper hypothesizes that, concomitant with the macro-cultural promotion of extrinsic values, young people in advanced capitalism (AC) are obliged to develop an identity that is market-driven and embedded in self-narratives of success, status, and enhanced self-image. The prominence of extrinsic values in AC are synergistic with neuro-maturational and stage-salient developments of adolescence and embodied in prominent market-driven criterion such as physical attractiveness, displays of wealth and material success, and high (educational and extra-curricular) achievements. Cultural transmission of market-driven criterion is facilitated by evolutionary tendencies in young people to learn from older, successful and prestigious individuals ( prestige bias ) and to copy their peers. The paper concludes with an integrated socio-ecological evolutionary account of market-driven identities in young people, while highlighting methodological challenges that arise when attempting to bridge macro-cultural and individual development.
... A recent meta-analytical review showed that perfectionism has steadily increased among young adults over the last three decades (Curran & Hill, 2019). In the meantime, excessive and recurrent pressure to perform became the fourth risk factor for the development of psychological maladjustment in youth (e.g., Luthar et al., 2019). These trends point toward the need for an ecological multidisciplinary approach to reshape policies and socioeconomic structures (Luthar et al., 2019) that otherwise give fuel to the cognitive, social, and behavioral expressions that accompany dispositional perfectionism. ...
... In the meantime, excessive and recurrent pressure to perform became the fourth risk factor for the development of psychological maladjustment in youth (e.g., Luthar et al., 2019). These trends point toward the need for an ecological multidisciplinary approach to reshape policies and socioeconomic structures (Luthar et al., 2019) that otherwise give fuel to the cognitive, social, and behavioral expressions that accompany dispositional perfectionism. ...
Article
Perfectionism involves aiming and striving toward excessive goals accompanied with overly critical self-evaluations. In my current theory elaboration, I propose that the cognitive, socio-cognitive, and socio-behavioral manifestations that accompany perfectionism should be operationalized as correlates rather than indicators of the core definitional feature of dispositional perfectionism. I offer arguments to explain how theory, research, and intervention will benefit from separating these signature expressions from the core definitional feature of perfectionism. In this new framework, signature expressions inhabit their own space in the conceptual domain of perfectionism to better explain their role as putative mechanisms involved in the maintenance of perfectionism and its associations with maladjustment. The results of a published meta-analysis are reanalyzed, and a Monte Carlo simulation is presented to show the promises of the current theory elaboration. In closing, six additional arguments are advanced to explain how this rethinking of the conceptual domain of perfectionism addresses many critical issues in the extant literature.
... This may demonstrate the importance of other dimensions of the parent-youth relationship. Furthermore, while negative parent relationships correlate with maladjustment overall (e.g., Luthar et al., 2019;Zimmerman et al. 1995), little research has compared the relative importance of parents' achievement expectations and parentchild relationships for mental health outcomes across groups. We attempt to shed more light on both of these issues in our study by concurrently investigating parent relationships, parent expectations, and mental health outcomes for Asian American and white youth. ...
... Although our analysis is limited to one school, the comparisons within the same affluent, suburban setting allows us to better control for community-level factors that may be proxied by individual race or ethnicity, such as levels of education among other parents, residential segregation, and local achievement culture in the school. We argue that this type of analysis is essential to making sense of national patterns that show racial differences in mental health outcomes, given research showing important differences related to community-level influences (Coley et al. 2018;Luthar et al., 2019). Further, by limiting our sample to a single location, we are able to capture a particular kind of Asian American experience, reducing variation in the group by limiting the sample to Asian Americans who migrated to a specific location, most with bachelor's degrees and working in professional positions. ...
Article
Previous studies have suggested that Asian parents’ high academic expectations can lead to negative mental health outcomes among Asian American youth. We explore this hypothesis by analyzing data collected in an affluent, suburban high school with a large Asian American population. We examine the relationships between parent expectations, students’ relationships with their parents, and mental health outcomes among Asian American (predominantly Indian American and Chinese American) and white youth. We find that the quality of parent‐child relationships is associated with mental health outcomes and that the association between parent expectations and mental health outcomes is insignificant after controlling for these relationships. We discuss significant differences by race and gender. The findings presented expand our understanding of the influence of Asian parents. They suggest that focusing on improving parent‐child relationships, as opposed to altering parents’ expectations, might lead to improved mental health outcomes for Asian American youth, particularly for those in affluent communities.
... Schools are increasingly concerned about the mental health of their students, given reports of increases in anxiety, depression, rulebreaking behaviors, and substance use among youth in recent years (see American Psychological Association [APA], 2018;Luthar, Kumar, & Zillmer, 2019). However, measures used to assess adolescents' mental health either take a substantial amount of time to administer, or when brief, are narrow in scope. ...
... The WBI was developed by the third author, drawing upon her background in psychology and expertise with school-based assessments (Ebbert, Kumar, & Luthar, 2019;Kumar, 2019;Luthar & Kumar, 2018;Luthar et al., 2019Luthar et al., , 2020. Three five-item subscales were drafted to capture problem areas common among adolescents (depression, anxiety, and rule-breaking; see below for details), plus one subscale that would assess feelings of isolation at school. ...
Article
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Schools are increasingly concerned with the well-being of the whole child - likely, more so since the COVID-19 pandemic - and goals here were to document the psychometric properties of a brief new measure of adolescent mental health, the Well-Being Index (WBI). The measure assesses 4 symptom areas, 2 each of internalizing and externalizing symptoms-Depression, Anxiety, Rule-Breaking, and Substance Use-and an optional scale on Isolation at School. A total of 2,444 students from 2 high schools completed the WBI, the Youth Self-Report (YSR), and other related measures. Alpha coefficients showed acceptable internal consistency, with values for the 5 WBI subscales at .83, .84, .78, .79, and .74, respectively. Both exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses demonstrated consistent factorial validity. Correlations with corresponding YSR subscales indicated good convergent and discriminant validity. The WBI Substance Use and Isolation at School subscales, similarly, had high correlations with subscales from preexisting measures. Criterion-related validity was indicated in significant correlations between WBI subscales and conceptually related dimensions of close relationships. Also examined was the percentage of youth falling above clinical cutoffs on both the WBI and YSR, and findings demonstrated high concurrent validity. Collectively, results suggest the promise of the WBI as a brief, psychometrically sound measure to assess the adjustment of adolescents, along with perceptions of school climate that can be modified toward fostering their overall well-being. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved).
... The cancelation of in-person classes and activities could also provide some youth with more leisure time to engage in relaxing or creative endeavors, along with reduced workload and pressure to achieve. This could have positive impacts on well-being, potentially countering negative effects of the modern "achievement culture," in which pressure to excel is considered a top risk factor for adolescent mental health problems (Luthar et al., 2019;Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 2018). Youth may also benefit from more time to attend to health and wellness, potentially getting more sleep and exercise or engaging in healthy eating routines and cooking. ...
... This finding is likely attributable to challenges experienced by schools in implementing online schooling during the initial phase of the pandemic. Developmentalists and clinicians have expressed concerns that today's adolescents are receiving insufficient sleep (Zhang et al., 2017) and are overextended, with excessive pressure to excel in numerous academic and extracurricular activities (Luthar et al., 2019;Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 2018). These findings show that when overscheduling was suddenly put on hold due to the pandemic, adolescents engaged in activities and selfcare routines that are healthy for them. ...
Article
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Objective We examined risk and protective factors for emotional health problems in adolescent girls during the COVID-19 pandemic. We investigated pre- to early-pandemic changes in symptoms of anxiety and depression, documented daily activities and perceived positive and negative impacts of the pandemic, and linked perceived positive and negative impacts of the pandemic to real-time changes in emotional health. Methods The study was a 10-day daily diary study with 93 U.S. adolescent girls (aged 12–17; 68% White non-Hispanic) at temperamental risk for anxiety and depression, conducted in April/May 2020 when all participants were under state-issued stay-at-home orders. Girls provided daily reports of positive and negative affect, depressive and anxious symptoms, activities, and positive and negative impacts resulting from the pandemic. Results Girls reported engaging in many activities that may contribute to well-being. Mixed effects analyses revealed positive impacts associated with improved same-day emotional health such as more time for family and relaxation and reduced pressure from school/activities. Negative impacts associated with poorer same-day emotional health included problems with online schooling, lack of space/privacy, lack of a regular schedule, and family conflict. Conclusion Findings highlight the importance of providing in-person or quality online schooling, resources and space for learning, promoting daily routines, and spending time with teens while reducing family conflict. The pandemic also appears to have offered many girls a respite from the chronic stress of modern teen life, with time to relax and engage in creative and healthy pursuits showing benefits for daily emotional health, which should be considered following the return to normal life.
... A comprehensive consensus study report on childhood equity from the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM, 2019) named students at HASs as an at-risk group, given high, ongoing pressures to achieve. These are schools with good standardized test scores-with average SAT scores at the 75th percentile and higher (see Luthar, Kumar, & Zillmer, 2020)-potentially representing at least a quarter of high school students in the United States. HAS youth were included in the NASEM (2019) report along with several others traditionally considered vulnerable, including children with incarcerated parents, those in foster care, and those in deep poverty (see also Geisz & Nakashian, 2018). ...
... Within affluent suburban communities, parents often see adolescent substance use as normative and are somewhat lax about it. Findings have shown robust, inverse associations with students' self-reported use of drugs and alcohol in high school, with serious long-term repercussions (see Luthar, Kumar, & Zillmer, 2020). ...
Article
This study examines adjustment patterns among a group neglected in developmental science-Asian American students in high-achieving schools. National reports have declared such schools to connote risk for elevated problems among teens. Asian American students are commonly referred to as model minorities, but little is known about adjustment issues within academically competitive settings, specifically. Guided by past research on culturally salient issues, multiple U.S. high schools were examined to (a) determine areas of relative strength versus weakness in adjustment of Asian Americans compared with Whites, and (b) more importantly, to illuminate salient within-group processes related to Asian Americans' well-being. Risk modifiers examined were perceptions of ethnic discrimination, parent perfectionism, internalized achievement pressure, authenticity in self-presentation, and closeness to school adults. Outcome variables included depression, anxiety, and isolation at school. Results demonstrated that Asian Americans fared better than Whites on anxiety and school isolation, but with low effect sizes. By contrast, they fared more poorly on almost all risk modifiers, with a large effect size on discrimination. Regression results showed that among Asian Americans the most consistent associations, across cohorts and outcomes, were for discrimination and authenticity. Findings underscore the need for greater recognition that discrimination could be inimical for students not typically thought of as vulnerable-Asian Americans in high-achieving schools; these issues are especially pressing in light of increased racism following coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Results also suggest that feelings of inauthenticity could be a marker of generalized vulnerability to internalizing symptoms. Implications for future theory and interventions are discussed. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved).
... Despite assumptions that family affluence constitutes a lowrisk environment with respect to offspring development, there is replicated evidence that adolescent psychopathology exceeds national norms in high-achieving schools (HASs), where most students are from relatively wealthy families (for reviews, see Luthar et al. 2019; Leonard et al. 2015). Elevations have been reported as early as middle school with prospective effects extending through high school (Ciciolla et al. 2017;. ...
... Relative to the well-developed evidence base on risk factors, resilience-promoting factors, and their underlying mechanisms for traditionally disadvantaged youth (e.g., Yoshikawa et al. 2012), far less is known about basic developmental factors and processes among youth from HASs who are generally from affluent families (the descriptors "HAS" and "affluent" are used interchangeably in this paper). Theoretical formulations suggest that expectations of wealth and success for future generations, conveyed by parents, teachers, and peers, are central to the development of emotional and behavioral problems (Lund and Dearing 2013;Luthar et al. 2019). Chronic achievement stress is hypothesized to negatively affect socio-emotional and behavioral development as well as adaptive coping resources among affluent youth (Luthar and Kumar 2018;Suldo et al. 2008). ...
Article
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Although often considered to be at low risk for negative outcomes, there is replicated evidence that youth attending high-achieving schools experience clinically significant mental health problems that exceed national norms. However, relatively little is known about family correlates of adolescent socio-emotional development, including parental criticism and expectations. Using a sample of high school students (N = 710, mean age = 16.7 years, 45% female) drawn from a high-achieving school in a largely affluent area, this study investigated concurrent associations between adolescent perceptions of maternal and paternal criticism and expectations with their self-reported internalizing and externalizing psychopathology. To discern configurations of family environment based on separate ratings of maternal and paternal criticism and expectations, we employed person-centered, latent profile analysis. An empirically distinct class emerged consisting of families with elevated maternal and paternal criticism and expectations; this class concurrently reported the highest levels of internalizing and externalizing problems. These findings highlight the importance of parent-child relationships for offspring well-being and suggest that paternal achievement expectations may be particularly relevant among high-achieving youth. We consider these findings within the larger context of family factors and adolescent development among youth in high-achieving contexts, including the significant need to consider father-offspring relationship factors.
... Smith (2021) argues that one of the biggest threats to adolescent resilience is not isolation or anxiety, but the pressure to achieve, which has intensified over the past year. Luthar (2020) found that excessive pressures to excel, generally in affluent contexts, are now listed among the top four "high risk" factors for adolescents' mental health, along with exposure to poverty, trauma, and discrimination. ...
... But these improvements were short-lived. Luthar (2020) found that beginning in the fall of 2020, as school work ramped back up, the mental health of adolescents returned to pre pandemic levels or worse. ...
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This study examines the impact of the global coronavirus pandemic of 2020-2021 on high school seniors. The mixed methods design utilized survey data collected from a population of 226 18-year-old students at a Kentucky high school in May 2021 prior to graduation. The researchers identified a convenience sample of 19 students to conduct in-depth focus group interviews. Three themes emerged from qualitative data that were tested and validated from the quantitative survey data. The results are particularly important as high schools emerge from the coronavirus pandemic evaluating how best to engage and prepare adolescents for the future.
... Results of the YIPS indicated that 39.1% (n = 190) of students endorsed internalizing problems in the at risk range, with the remaining 60.9% (n = 296) reporting symptoms in the no or low risk range. This elevated proportion is consistent with literature that has found that high-achieving schools can increase the risk for adolescent mental health concerns due to the pressures and demanding curriculum (Luthar et al., 2019). There were significant differences in internalizing symptoms by gender identity with boys reporting the lowest level of internalizing symptoms (M = 17.63; ...
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Mental health challenges (including mood, anxiety, and behavioral disorders) affect up to one-fifth of adolescents ages 13–18. Although these disorders are associated with impairments in psychological, academic, social, and family domains, they are often left untreated. Schools have great potential to address this service-underutilization gap by identifying those students at risk through mental health screening tools and by providing treatment at no cost for students. However, at the secondary level, school personnel partly expect high school students to initiate support for themselves. The present study advances research by exploring the variables related to adolescent mental health help-seeking intentions within the school setting. Specifically, this study assesses the utility of the theory of planned behavior in an effort to identify what factors relate to high school students' willingness to seek help at school. A secondary aim of this study was to examine why adolescent boys are consistently less willing to seek help for mental health problems than adolescent girls. Results of this study highlight important factors to target when developing interventions to increase help-seeking intent in high school students.
... The need for achievement of excellence and perfection strivers did not significantly differ in Study 2. They are both motivated to attain success. We live in an increasingly competitive socioeconomic system in which adults and adolescents are asked to compete, make sacrifice, and maximize their productivity (e.g., Curran & Hill, 2019;Luthar et al., 2020). This potentially explains why university students easily endorse and seem to benefit from the pursuit of excellence. ...
Article
An unresolved and controversial issue in the perfectionism literature is whether perfectionism is beneficial, harmful, or unneeded. The model of excellencism and perfectionism (MEP) was recently developed to address this question by distinguishing the pursuit of perfection from the pursuit of excellence (Gaudreau, 2019). In this article, we report the results of the first empirical test of the core assumptions of the MEP. Across five studies (total N = 2,157), we tested the conceptual, functional, and developmental distinctiveness of excellencism and perfectionism. In Study 1, exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses with two samples supported the hypothesized two-factor structure of the newly developed Scale of Perfectionism and Excellencism (SCOPE). Study 2 provided evidence of convergent and discriminant validity from scores obtained from the SCOPE, and showed that, over and above excellencism, perfectionism was not associated with additional benefits (e.g., life satisfaction) or reduced harms (e.g., depression). Studies 3-4 focused on the academic achievement of undergraduates and showed that, compared to excellence strivers, perfection strivers more often aimed for perfect A+ grades (Study 3), but in fact achieved worse grades (Study 4). Study 5 adopted a four-wave longitudinal design with undergraduates and showed that excellencism and perfectionism were associated with an upward and a downward spiral of academic development. Overall, the results support the core assumptions of the MEP and show that perfectionism is either unneeded or harmful. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved).
... This scale has three dimensions. Knowledge (statements 1-17), Attitude (statements [18][19][20][21][22][23][24][25][26][27][28][29][30][31][32][33][34][35] and Practices (statements 36-52). First dimension i-e Knowledge, each statement was scored on a four-point Likert scale from 1(Don't Know) to 4 (Know). ...
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Purpose of the study: This study was designed to explore the knowledge, attitude, and practices of teachers toward ADHD students. The objectives of the study were to document the knowledge, attitude, and practices of the teachers regarding ADHD, to find out the difference between knowledge attitude and practices among different strata of teachers, and to find out the effect of age, experience, and qualification on knowledge, attitude, and practices of teachers towards ADHD. Methodology: Stratified random sampling technique was used to select 600 primary school teachers from 2469 primary school teachers of district Haripur. This instrument contained 29 statements. This scale has three dimensions. Knowledge (statements 1-17), Attitude (statements18-35), and Practices (statements 36-52). The Cronbach Alpha reliability coefficient for the questionnaire was 0.76 which was got through the pilot study conducted on sixty teachers. Main findings: The results indicate that overall practices of teachers are the highest in comparison to Knowledge and Attitude. There was no significant difference between knowledge, practices, and attitudes about ADHD between different strata i-e Urban and Rural area primary teachers, Male and Female primary teachers, and public and Private primary teachers. Furthermore, experience, Age, and Qualification have a profound influence on primary teachers’ knowledge regarding ADHD. Teachers’ Qualification has a profound influence over primary teacher’s Attitude towards students with ADHD. Thus, qualification has a profound influence over primary teacher’s practices towards students with ADHD. Applications of the study: This study is applicable in the field of primary education where the teachers are assessed to find out their knowledge, attitude, and practices towards ADHD students. Novelty originality of this study: Much of the research is conducted in mainstream education but this research specifically explores the knowledge, attitude of teachers towards ADHD students. Therefore, this research is a torchbearer in this particular area of education.
... Children of affluence are generally presumed to be at low risk for negative health outcomes. However, the current study, in accordance with other recent studies [29,55], suggest problems in several domains including alcohol and drug use and stress related problems, even if the cause of these problems cannot be determined based on our interview study. Previous explanations for extensive substance use among affluent young people have been exceptionally high-performance requirements in both school and in leisure activities, and absence of emotional and physical adult contact, resulting from parents in affluent areas spending a lot of time on their jobs and careers [30,[56][57][58]. ...
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Background The use of alcohol and illicit drugs during adolescence can lead to serious short- and long-term health related consequences. Despite a global trend of decreased substance use, in particular alcohol, among adolescents, evidence suggests excessive use of substances by young people in socioeconomically affluent areas. To prevent substance use-related harm, we need in-depth knowledge about the reasons for substance use in this group and how they perceive various prevention interventions. The aim of the current study was to explore motives for using or abstaining from using substances among students in affluent areas as well as their attitudes to, and suggestions for, substance use prevention. Methods Twenty high school students (age 15–19 years) in a Swedish affluent municipality were recruited through purposive sampling to take part in semi-structured interviews. Qualitative content analysis of transcribed interviews was performed. Results The most prominent motive for substance use appears to be a desire to feel a part of the social milieu and to have high social status within the peer group. Motives for abstaining included academic ambitions, activities requiring sobriety and parental influence. Students reported universal information-based prevention to be irrelevant and hesitation to use selective prevention interventions due to fear of being reported to authorities. Suggested universal prevention concerned reliable information from credible sources, stricter substance control measures for those providing substances, parental involvement, and social leisure activities without substance use. Suggested selective prevention included guaranteed confidentiality and non-judging encounters when seeking help. Conclusions Future research on substance use prevention targeting students in affluent areas should take into account the social milieu and with advantage pay attention to students’ suggestions on credible prevention information, stricter control measures for substance providers, parental involvement, substance-free leisure, and confidential ways to seek help with a non-judging approach from adults.
... Objective SES and subjective SES are proposed to have somewhat different pathways to mental health-objective SES more through the benefits of access to material resources and subjective SES more through psychosocial mechanisms-so it is important that studies of this social gradient include both SES indicators [1,4]. Regarding mental health, some studies have even found that adolescents with higher SES may show vulnerability for some mental health outcomes (see [5]). Therefore, in this study, we included multiple indicators of SES and of mental health problems. ...
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Purpose A social gradient in adolescent mental health exists: adolescents with higher socioeconomic status (SES) have fewer mental health problems than their peers with lower SES. Little is known about whether adolescents’ societal beliefs play a role in this social gradient. Belief in a just world (BJW) may be a mediator or moderator of the social gradient in adolescent mental health. Methods Using data from 848 adolescents ( M age = 17) in the Netherlands, path analyses examined whether two indicators of BJW (general and personal) mediated or moderated the associations between two indicators of SES (family affluence and perceived family wealth), and four indicators of adolescent mental health problems (emotional symptoms, conduct problems, hyperactivity, and peer problems). Results Adolescents with lower family affluence and lower perceived family wealth reported more emotional symptoms, and the association between perceived family wealth and emotional symptoms was mediated by lower personal and general BJW. Furthermore, higher personal BJW amplified the negative association between SES and peer problems. Conclusion This study suggests BJW may both mediate and amplify the social gradient in adolescent mental health. Adolescents’ beliefs about society may be important to include in research aimed at understanding this social gradient.
... Whereas youth in ongoing poverty struggle for physical survival and safety, challenges facing HAS youth are ongoing, intense pressures to achieve ever more (Geisz & Nakashian, 2018;Luthar & Kumar, 2018). In fact, numerous reports indicate that students' mental health problems are elevated among youth not only at the low end but also at high levels of community affluence (see Korous, Causadias, Bradley, & Luthar, 2018;Luthar, Kumar, & Zillmer, 2019). The latter are generally students attending schools with good standardized test scores, rich extracurricular and advanced academic offerings, and graduates heading to the first school (SW-Ind-15) which included grades 10-12. ...
Article
Teachers in the US are now considered integral to promoting students’ mental health; here we report on two major challenges for educators in high achieving schools (HAS). The first involves high adjustment disturbances among students. We present data on nine HAS cohorts showing elevated rates of clinically significant symptoms relative to norms; rates of anxious-depressed symptoms, in particular, were six to seven times those in national norms on average. As high achieving youth often keep internalizing symptoms hidden, their teachers will need help in understanding how to identify early signs of these types of distress, and to ensure appropriate, timely interventions. The second challenge we consider has to do with relationships between service providers and parents. Data obtained from the former showed that they tend to perceive relatively wealthy parents more negatively, and as more likely to threaten litigation, compared to parents from middle- or low-income backgrounds. We discuss the importance of proactively addressing such potentially adversarial relationships for the success of both the early detection of HAS students’ adjustment problems, and appropriate interventions for them. Next, we appraise how the aforementioned challenges can greatly exacerbate risks for burnout among educators in HAS settings, and how this might be alleviated via evidence-based, institutional-level interventions. Schools must ensure ongoing support for educators who carry the weighty, dual charge of tending to the emotional needs of a group of highly stressed students, in addition to ensuring their continued, exemplary levels of educational accomplishments.
... (To be clear, public school districts must provide free disability evaluations by parental request, but school district employees lack a direct financial incentive to recommend desired accommodations, especially when children are doing well in school). Finally, students from privileged families are more likely to be under intense pressure from parents and schools to achieve at extremely high levels (Luthar et al., 2020), leading to a search for any supports (e.g., subject-area tutors, executive function coaches, and educational accommodations) to make that achievement possible. These students are apt to feel in competition with peers in the same high-achieving environment, rather than judging themselves against expectations for the general population or criterionreferenced standards such as skill mastery. ...
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Educational accommodations are frequently given to students with disabilities. For instance, students might be given a copy of class notes or provided additional time to complete a test. One purpose of accommodations is to improve educational equity, putting all students on equal footing. However, research on current accommodations practices raises two distinct equity-related concerns. First, students from privileged backgrounds are more likely to receive certain accommodations even without adequate evidence of need; this can provide an unfair boost in performance and widen gaps among students. Second, when students from less privileged backgrounds are given accommodations, the incentive for schools to provide academic remediation, compensatory strategies, and coping skills is lessened, leaving these students in a worse position when accommodations are not available outside of educational settings. Implications for practice are discussed.
... The challenges confronting middle-aged adults nowadays have increased in their intensity, magnitude, and sheer load, particularly in the areas of intergenerational relationships and financial vulnerabilities (Infurna et al., 2020). For example, the relationship dynamic between middle-aged adults and their adult children is undergoing historical changes in the form of increased contact and support from parents to children (i.e., continued or renewed dependency; Fingerman, 2017), in addition to increased parenting pressures (Luthar et al., 2020 A c c e p t e d M a n u s c r i p t ...
Article
Objective: Our objective is to examine whether lifetime adversity has either a 'steeling effect' or 'cumulative disadvantage effect' on the consequences of monthly adversity on psychological well-being in middle-aged adults. An exploratory step was to examine whether such associations differed based on the domain of adversity (personal, family/friend, bereavement, social-environmental, and relationship). Method: Multilevel modeling was applied to data from a sample of participants in midlife (n = 358, ages 50-65, 54% women) who were assessed monthly for two years. Results: Lifetime adversity did not show steeling effects, but instead appeared to exacerbate the impact of monthly adversity on psychological well-being, indicating cumulative disadvantage. On months where an adversity was experienced, on average, individuals who reported more lifetime adversity showed stronger increases in depressive symptoms, anxiety, and negative affect and decreases in positive affect. There was limited evidence to suggest for steeling effects for life satisfaction. Reporting adversity in the personal, bereavement, social-environmental, and relationship domains showed the strongest associations with psychological well-being. Discussion: Our discussion focuses on how lifetime adversity showed a cumulative disadvantage effect on the consequences of monthly adversity on psychological well-being. We also elaborate on future directions for research that include other conceptualizations of adversity and research to examine mechanisms underlying this relationship.
... As with any other vulnerable subgroup, it is important for developmental scientists to illuminate processes through which risk is conferred, and therefore, potentially minimized in the future. With regard to the conduits implicated in this particular population, accumulated evidence shows that achievement pressures come from all socializing influences in HAS students' lives (for a review, see Luthar, Kumar, & Zillmer, 2020). Their parents, teachers, community members, and school administrators seek high academic scores and extracurricular distinctions; peers are in constant competition to be the best within a generally high-performing group; college admissions policies have become increasingly selective over time; and economic changes, along with globalization, have rendered it more difficult to maintain a middle-class standard of living than was possible in the past. ...
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This is a mixed-methods study of risk and resilience in a sample of over 14,000 students from 49 schools, assessed during the first 3 months of COVID-19 in the United States. Over a third of students were of color and almost a third received financial aid. Participation rates were typically 90–99%. Overall, rates of clinically significant depression and anxiety were lower during distance learning in 2020 as compared to parallel rates documented during 2019, with a few exceptions. Hispanic students did not show reductions in depression rates, nor did gender non-binary youth. Analyses of multiple risk and protective factors showed that in relation to depression, the most potent predictor was parent support, with effect sizes at least twice as high as those for any other predictor. Other robust predictors of depression included efficacy of learning online and concerns heard by school adults. In predicting to anxiety, parent support again had the largest effect sizes, followed by concerns heard at school, students’ worries about their futures, and worries about grades. In general, the absence of protective factors was more likely to be linked with high distress among youth of color than White students, and among girls and gender non-binary students as compared to boys. At a policy level, the findings call for concerted attention to the well-being of adults charged with caring for youth. Parents’ mental health has been increasingly threatened with the protracted stress linked with the pandemic. Thus, all avenues must be considered toward providing them with support—using feasible, community-based interventions—as this is always the most important step in fostering children's resilience through adversity. Additionally, schools’ expectations about learning will have to be adjusted. As educators try to make up for academic losses during the pandemic, they must avoid high workloads detrimental for students’ mental health (and thus ability to learn). Finally, there must be ongoing institutional mental health support for teachers, counselors, administrators, and staff. Many of these adults have provided critical safety nets for youth since the start of the pandemic and are themselves at high risk for burnout. In conclusion, findings clearly show that if a central societal goal is to maximize resilience among youth through the continuing pandemic related challenges, we will have to deliberately prioritize an “upstream” approach, ensuring ongoing support for the adults who take care of them in their everyday lives.
... In American public schools, classroom sizes recently peaked from 2012-2015 at 21.5 per primary school classroom and 27.6 per lower secondary classroom (OECD, 2018), and these numbers can be larger in some states. Thus, the issue of adequate funding to support trauma-informed education is a systemic issue that needs attention at the national and state policy levels (e.g., see Luthar, Kumar, & Zillmer, 2019). ...
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The focus of this article is on the important need for educators in trauma-informed schools to receive ongoing support themselves. That K-12 teachers should attend to their students’ mental health is now commonly emphasized and indeed is invaluable for prevention purposes. At the same time, teachers in general are at high risk for burnout, and there can be much additional stress from routinely providing empathic support to troubled students in classrooms. After reviewing the relevant literature, we provide preliminary data – based on first-hand reports from 10 teachers in trauma-informed K-12 schools – about major challenges faced and ways in which these might be alleviated. These exploratory insights are then discussed within the framework of current recommendations in the field of resilience in childhood. The latter clearly indicates that if adults in major socializing roles (parents as well as teachers) contend with high everyday stress, the most important protective factor is their ongoing access to supportive relationships in everyday life settings. The paper concludes with directions for future work, highlighting areas where educational and school psychologists might spearhead and support training efforts, and help to incorporate support-based interventions within schools’ institutional cultures.
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Purpose of review: The purpose of this review is to examine the multitude of factors which may impact learning and academic performance in patients with pediatric migraine. Recent findings: A range of associations of varying degree were noted between pediatric migraine and conditions such as ADHD, learning disabilities, sleep disorders, and psychiatric comorbidities with regard to headache pain and school functioning. Recent literature highlights the importance of sleep in relation to headache, mood disorders, and learning in youth and the emerging role of perfectionism. Children with migraine remain at risk for school related and learning difficulties which may be primarily due to pain, due to other medical and psychiatric comorbidities commonly found in this population, or a combination. The relationships are complex and further studies are needed to clearly elucidate the shared biological and environmental pathophysiologic mechanisms.
Article
Replicated evidence shows that adolescents enrolled in high-achieving schools exhibit elevated mental health problems relative to national norms, reflecting risk factors such as achievement and social pressures. The frequency of digital media use is similarly a potential risk factor for poor youth mental health, although mediators of this association have not been identified. 2952 youth from three high-achieving U.S. high schools reported the frequency of their digital media use as well as internalizing and externalizing problems and substance use. Using a multiple mediation framework, the frequency of social comparison, receiving negative feedback, and risky self-presentation online each uniquely mediated the association of digital media use with internalizing and externalizing problems in boys and girls; for substance use, risky self-presentation mediated this association in both boys and girls and negative feedback mediated substance use in girls only. Measurable online behaviors in the form of social comparison, negative feedback, and self-presentation may crucially underlie the association of digital media use frequency with socio-emotional development in adolescents. Implications for intervention focused on impacting online behaviors for improving youth mental health are discussed.
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Ed Zigler believed that developmental science should be applied to policy, programs, and practices to improve the lives of children and families. He shared this belief with others and paved the way for alternative career pathways. This paper describes how Ed influenced others to connect science with program development, evaluation, and policy, and created networks of applied scholars. Ed Zigler's influence is broad and spans beyond academia to influencer organizations. We weave our own professional experiences throughout the paper, which we organized around three lessons we learned from Ed: (a) explore alternative career pathways and build the field; (b) start with the science and think application; (c) apply the knowledge and influence policy.
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Meta-analyses on the relation between socioeconomic status (SES) and performance on measures of cognitive ability and achievement arrive at the same general conclusion of a small to medium association. Advancements in methods make possible for meta-analyses to examine specific pathways linking SES to cognitive ability and achievement, as well as the moderators of these pathways. In this study, we conducted a systematic overview of meta-analyses on SES to address three research questions: 1) what is the direction and overall strength of association between SES and performance on measures of cognitive ability and achievement, and how precise are the effect sizes reported? 2) to what extent have meta-analyses examined moderation by components of SES, age, sex, and race/ethnicity? and 3) to what extent have meta-analyses examined mechanisms linking SES to cognitive ability and achievement? We conducted a systematic search using online archives (i.e., PsycINFO, ERIC, PubMed, Sociological Abstracts, and Web of Science), searching issues in Psychological Bulletin and Review of Educational Research, and examining references and citations. We identified 14 meta-analyses published between 1982 and 2019. These meta- analyses consistently reported positive associations of small to medium magnitude, indicating that SES is a meaningful contributor to the development of cognitive ability and achievement. Fewer meta-analyses reported evidence of moderation by age, sex, and race/ethnicity. None of the meta-analyses directly examined mechanisms, but provided evidence of possible mechanisms for future research. We suggest that meta-analyses can increase their contribution to future research, interventions, and policy by narrowing their focus on specific pathways.
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This exploratory study aims to analyse the factors that influence subjective well-being of high school students. The purpose of the study is to formulate hypotheses about the impact of the situation of self-identification on the school students’ subjective well-being. The research is based on 14 interviews with school students in 10th and 11th grades. These interviews showed how adolescents perceive the situation of transition from the status of schoolchildren to the status of school graduates, what aspects of this transition cause anxiety and stress, and what changes in the behavior and everyday life of schoolchildren are caused by the need to make educational and life choices. The results suggest that in schools with a highly competitive environment, in which students have higher educational aspirations, the stress from self-determination and planning for the future in adolescents is higher than in schools with a less competitive environment. The obtained data place the subjective well-being of the high schoolchild in a broader context of life path design and allow to formulate a hypothesis that it is the need to solve the age-related problem of self-determination that has a decisive influence on the experiences of adolescents of this age. Understanding how well-being is related to the characteristics of this transitional stage in adolescents’ life, on the one hand, and social factors, on the other, creates the basis for further analysis: identifying risk groups of schoolchildren, studying and revising strategies to improve their well-being.
Article
Among youth from high-achieving schools, adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) were examined in relation to (a) internalizing and externalizing symptoms in adolescence (n = 527), and (b) symptoms plus psychiatric diagnoses-based on multiple annual interviews-in adulthood (n = 316). Also examined were associations for a "Proxy ACEs" (P-ACEs) measure, containing items similar to those on standard ACEs measures without reference to abuse or neglect. Rates of ACEs were comparable with those in other studies; most commonly endorsed were perceived parental depression followed by aspects of emotional neglect. Groups exposed to zero, 1, 2, 3, and 4+ ACEs differed on symptoms in adulthood, with small to moderate effect sizes; in parallel comparisons of P-ACEs groups on Grade 12 symptoms, differences had large effect sizes. In relation to psychiatric diagnoses, comparisons with the zero ACEs group showed that groups with 1, 2, 3 ACEs, versus 4+ ACES, respectively, had twofold and over fivefold greater odds of having any lifetime diagnosis. The odds for internalizing diagnoses specifically were 2-6 times greater for individuals with 1, 2, and 3 ACEs, and 12 times greater for those reporting 4 ACEs. Remarkably, Grade 12 reports of 2, 3, and 4+ P-ACEs were linked to 2-3 times greater odds of a psychiatric disorder in adulthood, and 3-6 times greater odds for internalizing diagnoses specifically. In the future, assessments of ACEs and P-ACEs could facilitate early detection of problems among HAS students, informing interventions to mitigate vulnerability processes and promote resilience among these youth and their families. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved).
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The current study examined the feasibility of adapting an existing measure to create a brief mattering measure suitable for use with adolescents. We then evaluated this brief measure by testing the hypothesis that mattering in adolescents is associated broadly with positive achievement outcomes and associated motivational orientations and behavioral tendencies. A sample of 206 high school students completed a slightly modified version of the Mattering Index, the Pattern of Adaptive Learning Scales, and a measure of executive function. School grades, school risk behavior, and social risk behavior were also assessed. Participants also completed measures of hope and loneliness. Psychometric analyses resulted in two brief four-item mattering subscales tapping a) general mattering and b) mattering by giving value to others. Correlational and regression analyses established that both mattering factors were associated with a positive academic orientation and higher grades. Mattering was also associated with less risk behavior, lower levels of loneliness, and higher levels of hope. Gender differences were found in terms of levels of mattering and the correlates of mattering. The findings are discussed in terms of how a focus on the promotion of mattering should contribute to an adaptive academic orientation, enhanced self-regulation, and the capacity to be adaptable and resilient.
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Perfectionism is a multidimensional personality construct with various components. Socially prescribed perfectionism (i.e., perceived social pressures and expectations to be perfect) is one key element. This trait dimension represents a chronic source of pressure that elicits feelings of helplessness and hopelessness at extreme levels. Unfortunately, at present, the destructiveness of socially prescribed perfectionism has not been fully recognized or extended conceptually despite the extensive volume of research on this dimension. To address this, we first trace the history and initial conceptualization of socially prescribed perfectionism. Next, we summarize and review findings that underscore the uniqueness and impact of socially prescribed perfectionism, including an emphasis on its link with personal, relationship, and societal outcomes that reflect poor mental well-being, physical health, and interpersonal adjustment. Most notably, we propose that socially prescribed perfectionism is a complex entity in and of itself and introduce new conceptual elements of socially prescribed perfectionism designed to illuminate further the nature of this construct and its role in distress, illness, dysfunction, and impairment. It is concluded that socially prescribed perfectionism is a significant public health concern that urgently requires sustained prevention and intervention efforts.
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This study examined associations between characteristics of the residential neighbourhood and the school and adolescent mental health, including the moderating role of family socioeconomic status (SES) and family support. Nationally representative Dutch data from adolescents aged 12–16 (N = 6422) were analysed through cross-classified multilevel models. Findings showed that school characteristics are more strongly linked to adolescent mental health than residential neighbourhood characteristics. More specifically, higher levels of school SES were associated with more hyperactivity-inattention problems, while higher levels of school social disorder were related to more conduct problems and more peer relationship problems. Further, higher levels of school SES were associated with more emotional symptoms only for adolescents with a relatively low family SES. Higher levels of neighbourhood SES were associated with fewer peer relationship problems. Overall, there was little evidence for the moderating role of family SES or family support.
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In interventions for at-risk children, Tom Dishion strongly exhorted programs that are short term, cost-effective, and delivered in families’ own communities, just as resilience researchers underscore the need for programs that provide ongoing support for children's primary caregivers, and are implementable on a large scale. Presented here are preliminary results on a short-term intervention for mothers, the Authentic Connections Virtual Groups. A previous randomized trial of the in-person version of this program, conducted with mothers at high risk for stress and burnout, showed significant benefits. There had been zero dropouts across the 3-month program, and participants showed significant improvements on psychological indices as well as cortisol, even 3 months after the program ended. In the present study, virtual groups were conducted with five sets of women, all white-collar professionals with highly stressful, exacting careers, and most also primary caregivers of their children. Again, there were zero dropouts. Mean satisfaction ratings were 9.6 of 10, and the Net Promoter Score (promoters vs. detractors) fell in the “world class” range. To illuminate mechanisms of change, participants’ responses to open-ended questions on the groups’ value are presented verbatim. Recurrently mentioned were the development of new, authentic connections and invaluable ongoing support. These results, with the low costs and ease of women's attendance, attest to the value of expanding offerings such as these, toward benefiting even more highly stressed mothers themselves as well as the children for whose care they are responsible.
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From Conference brochure: With a basis in over 30 years of scientific research on resilience, Dr. Luthar will describe the culture-specific risk and protective factors that affect student well-being in high achieving schools. She will discuss critical aspects of students' relationships with parents and with peers, as well as salient aspects of school climate, with an emphasis, throughout, on factors that are amenable to change by stakeholders at schools. Based on cutting-edge data across multiple schools, she will summarize specific directions for educators and parents about how to foster the well-being of “the whole child” in high achievement settings.
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Substantial evidence links socioeconomic status to internalizing and externalizing behavior problems. However, it is unclear how these two categories of behavior problems relate to specific components of socioeconomic status (e.g., income, educational attainment, and occupational prestige) or overall social status. In this study, we conducted a second-order meta-analysis to estimate the average associations of income, education, occupation, and overall socioeconomic status with internalizing and externalizing behavior problems, and to examine if age, sex, and race/ethnicity moderated these associations. Our systematic search in PsycINFO, PubMed, Google Scholar, Web of Science, and ProQuest Dissertations and Theses Global identified 12 meta-analyses (17% unpublished), including approximately 474 primary studies and 327,617 participants. In relation to internalizing, we found small average associations with income, r+ = –.18, 95% confidence interval (CI) [–.31, –.04], and education, r+ = –.12, 95% CI [–.15, –.09]. In relation to externalizing, we found smaller associations with income, r+ = –.02, 95% CI [–.15, .10], education, r+ = –.03, 95% CI [–.16, .10], and overall socioeconomic status, r+ = –.05, 95% CI [–.11, .01], but these CIs included zero. Only sex composition of the samples moderated the latter association. We provide recommendations for best practices and future research directions.
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In an upper-middle class setting, we explored associations between students’ peer reputation in Grades 6 and 7 with adjustment at Grade 12. With a sample of 209 students, a confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) of peer reputation dimensions supported a 4-factor model (i.e., popular, prosocial, aggressive, isolated). Structural equation models were used to examine prospective links between middle school peer reputation and diverse Grade 12 adjustment indices, including academic achievement (Scholastic Aptitude Test scores and grade point average), internalizing and externalizing symptoms, and use of cigarettes, alcohol, and marijuana. Prosocial reputation was connected to higher academic achievement levels and fewer externalizing symptoms. Both prosocial and isolated reputations were negatively associated with dimensions of substance use, whereas popularity was positively associated. Implications for future research and interventions are discussed.
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Although high socioeconomic status (SES) is traditionally conceptualized as a health protective factor, recent literature has documented positive associations between SES (e.g., income) and depression among Blacks, including Black youth. To extend the results of this recent literature, the current study used the Family and Community Health Study (FACHS) data to examine the multiplicative effects of gender, place, and SES on average depressive symptoms of Black youth over a long period of time. FACHS, 1997–2017, followed 889 Black children aged 10–12 years old for up to 18 years. Depressive symptoms were measured in seven waves. The main predictors of interest were two SES indicators, parent education and family income measured at baseline (1997). Main outcome of interest was average depressive symptoms over the 18 year follow up period. Place of residence and gender were the focal moderators. Linear regression models were used for data analysis. In the pooled sample, living in a predominantly White area was associated with higher average depressive symptoms over time, however, this association was fully explained by higher perceived racial discrimination in the predominantly White areas. We found an interaction between income and place of residence on average depressive symptoms, suggesting that higher income is associated with more depressive symptoms in predominantly White compared to predominantly Black areas. Place did not interact with parent education on average depressive symptoms. Gender also did not interact with education or income on depressive symptoms. Findings suggest that place and SES may interact on depressive symptoms of Black youth, with high income becoming a risk factor for depressive symptoms in predominantly White areas. How SES indicators, such as income, protect or become a risk factor depend on other contextual factors, such as place of residence. There is a need to reduce discrimination experienced by Blacks, especially in predominantly White areas. Meanwhile, Black youth who live in predominantly White areas may require additional help that enhances their coping.
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In this chapter, we review evidence on a group recently identified as "at-risk", that is, youth growing up in the context of high achieving schools (HAS), predominated by well-educated, white collar professional families. Though these youngsters are thought of as "having it all", they are statistically more likely than normative samples to show serious disturbances across several domains including drug and alcohol use, as well as internalizing and externalizing problems. We review data on these problems with attention to gender-specific patterns, presenting quantitative developmental research findings along with relevant evidence across other disciplines. In considering possible reasons for elevated maladjustment, we appraise multiple pathways including aspects of family dynamics, peer norms, and pressures at schools. All of these pathways are considered within the context of broad, exosystemic mores: the pervasive emphasis, in contemporary American culture, on maximizing personal status, and how this can threaten the well-being of individuals and of communities. The chapter concludes with ideas for future interventions, with discussions on how research-based assessments of schools can best be used to reduce pressures, and to maximize positive adaptation, among youth in highly competitive, pressured school environments.
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Bronfenbrenner’s bioecological theory of human development is one of the most widely known theoretical frameworks in human development. In spite of its popularity, the notion of culture within the macrosystem, as a separate entity of everyday practices and therefore microsystems, is problematic. Using the theoretical and empirical work of Rogoff and Weisner, and influenced as they are by Vygotsky’s sociocultural perspective, we reconceptualize Bronfenbrenner’s model by placing culture as an intricate part of proximal development processes. In our model, culture has the role of defining and organizing microsystems and therefore becomes part of the central processes of human development. Culture is an ever changing system composed of the daily practices of social communities (families, schools, neighborhoods, etc.) and the interpretation of those practices through language and communication. It also comprises tools and signs that are part of the historical legacy of those communities, and thus diversity is an integral part of the child’s microsystems, leading to culturally defined acceptable developmental processes and outcomes.
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Research on executive control during the teenage years points to shortfalls in emotion regulation, coping, and decision making as three linked capabilities associated with youth's externalizing behavior problems. Evidence gleaned from a detailed review of the literature makes clear that improvement of all three capabilities is critical to help young people better navigate challenges and prevent or reduce externalizing and related problems. Moreover, interventions can successfully improve these three capabilities and have been found to produce behavioral improvements with real-world significance. Examples of how successful interventions remediate more than one of these capabilities are provided. Future directions in research and practice are also proposed to move the field toward the development of more comprehensive programs for adolescents to foster their integration.
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Compiled in this Special Section are recommendations from multiple experts on how to maximize resilience among children at risk for maladjustment. Contributors delineated processes with relatively strong effects and modifiable by behavioral interventions. Commonly highlighted was fostering the well-being of caregivers via regular support, reduction of maltreatment while promoting positive parenting, and strengthening emotional self-regulation of caregivers and children. In future work, there must be more attention to developing and testing interventions within real-world settings (not just in laboratories) and to ensuring feasibility in procedures, costs, and assessments involved. Such movement will require shifts in funding priorities—currently focused largely on biological processes—toward maximizing the benefits from large-scale, empirically supported intervention programs for today's at-risk youth and families.
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High achievement expectations and academic pressure from parents have been implicated in rising levels of stress and reduced well-being among adolescents. In this study of affluent, middle school youth, we examined how perceptions of parents’ emphases on achievement (relative to prosocial behavior) influenced youth’s psychological adjustment and school performance, and examined perceived parental criticism as a possible moderator of this association. The data were collected from 506 (50% female) middle school students from a predominately white, upper middle class community. Students reported their perceptions of parents’ values by rank ordering a list of achievement- and prosocial-oriented goals based on what they believed was most valued by their mothers and fathers for them (the child) to achieve. The data also included students’ reports of perceived parental criticism, internalizing symptoms, externalizing symptoms, and self-esteem, as well as school-based data on grade point average and teacher-reported classroom behavior. Person-based analyses revealed six distinct latent classes based on perceptions of both mother and father emphases on achievement. Class comparisons showed a consistent pattern of healthier child functioning, including higher school performance, higher self-esteem, and lower psychological symptoms, in association with low to neutral parental achievement emphasis, whereas poorer child functioning was associated with high parental achievement emphasis. In variable-based analyses, interaction effects showed elevated maladjustment when high maternal achievement emphasis coexisted with high (but not low) perceived parental criticism. Results of the study suggest that to foster early adolescents’ well-being in affluent school settings, parents focus on prioritizing intrinsic, prosocial values that promote affiliation and community, at least as much as, or more than, they prioritize academic performance and external achievement; and strive to limit the amount of criticism and pressure they place on their children.
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Helicopter parenting has become an increasing concern among practitioners, college administrators, and professors. Further, some research has indicated that this form of parenting may have a deleterious effect on emerging adult college students’ mental health. This study examines the factor structure of the Helicopter Parenting Behaviors measure, a recent scale developed to examine intrusive and supportive parenting behaviors, by using confirmatory factor analysis. We utilized a self-determination theoretical framework to replicate and expand current research regarding the impact of helicopter parenting and autonomy supportive parenting on emerging adult mental and physical well-being. Further, we examined self-efficacy as a mechanism for helicopter parenting and autonomy supportive parenting to impact well-being, using structural equation modeling with a sample of 461 emerging adult college students from a large southeastern, United States university. The two-factor structure of the Helicopter Parenting Behaviors measure was confirmed, indicating helicopter parenting and autonomy supportive parenting are two unique, but related, constructs. Both autonomy supportive parenting and helicopter parenting were found to have indirect effects on anxiety, depression, life satisfaction, and physical health through self-efficacy. Results also indicated autonomy supportive parenting was directly related to life satisfaction and physical health when accounting for self-efficacy, whereas helicopter parenting was not directly related to well-being. This study adds to the extant literature by its’ application of a family-level lens to the self-determination theory, its’ advancement of parenting behaviors measurement, and its’ exploration of the continued influence of parenting during emerging adulthood.
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We review evidence on a group recently identified as "at risk," that is, youth in upwardly mobile, upper-middle class community contexts. These youngsters are statistically more likely than normative samples to show serious disturbance across several domains including drug and alcohol use, as well as internalizing and externalizing problems. Extant data on these problems are reviewed with attention to gender-specific patterns, presenting quantitative developmental research findings along with relevant evidence across other disciplines. In considering possible reasons for elevated maladjustment, we appraise multiple pathways, including aspects of family dynamics, peer norms, pressures at schools, and policies in higher education. All of these pathways are considered within the context of broad, exosystemic mores: the pervasive emphasis, in contemporary American culture, on maximizing personal status, and how this can threaten the well-being of individuals and of communities. We then discuss issues that warrant attention in future research. The paper concludes with suggestions for interventions at multiple levels, targeting youth, parents, educators, as well as policymakers, toward reducing pressures and maximizing positive adaptation among "privileged but pressured" youth and their families.
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Imagining one's possible future self can motivate action but whether motivational power resides more in positive or more in negative future identities is not clear. We predicted that motivational power resides not in these positive or negative future identities but in the fit between context and future self. We varied fit in four experiments by having students read about college as a success-likely or failure-likely context and then write about their desired or undesired possible future identities. Which aspect of the future self was motivating depended on context. Motivation was higher in success-likely contexts if desired rather than undesired possible futures came to mind and was higher in failure-likely contexts if undesired rather than desired possible futures come to mind.
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This study involved two academically-gifted samples of 11th and 12th grade youth at the socioeconomic status (SES) extremes; one from an exclusive private, affluent school, and the other from a magnet school with low-income students. Negative and positive adjustment outcomes were examined in relation to multiple dimensions of perfectionism including perceived parental pressures to be perfect, personal perfectionistic self-presentation, and envy of peers. The low-income students showed some areas of relative vulnerability, but when large group differences were found, it was the affluent youth who were at a disadvantage, with substantially higher substance use and peer envy. Affluent girls seemed particularly vulnerable, with pronounced elevations in perfectionistic tendencies, peer envy, as well as body dissatisfaction. Examination of risk and protective processes showed that relationships with mothers were associated with students' distress as well as positive adjustment. Additionally, findings showed links between (a) envy of peers and multiple outcomes (among high SES girls in particular), (b) dimensions of perfectionism in relation to internalizing symptoms, and (c) high extrinsic versus intrinsic values in relation to externalizing symptoms.
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This randomized intervention trial examined the effects of yearly Family Check-Ups (FCUs) and tailored parent management training on parent report of problem behavior from age 2 to 5 years and teacher report of oppositional behavior at age 7.5. A multiethnic risk sample of 731 families in 3 distinct geographical settings who were receiving assistance from the Women, Infants, and Children Nutritional Supplement (WIC) program were randomly assigned to a yearly FCU. Intention to treat (ITT) analyses were used to examine overall intervention effects, and complier average causal effect (CACE) modeling was used to examine the effects of annual intervention engagement in the FCU on parent reports of child problem behavior from age 2 to 5 and teacher reports of problem behavior at age 7.5. ITT intervention effects were found regarding parent report at ages 2 to 5 and teacher report at age 7.5, indicating less growth in problem behavior for children in the intervention group than for those in the control group. CACE modeling of intervention engagement revealed that the effect sizes on parent- and teacher-reported problem behavior increased as a function of the number of yearly FCUs caregivers participated in. Findings suggest that embedding yearly FCU services within the context of social, health, and educational services in early childhood can potentially prevent early-onset trajectories of antisocial behavior. The increases in effect size with successive FCU engagement underscores the importance of a motivational approach to parenting support among high-risk families.
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In this article, we employ Spencer's (1995) Phenomenological variant of ecological systems theory (PVEST) as a framework to examine risk and resilience, with a spe- cific focus on understanding hypermasculine attitudes among low-resource urban, adolescent males. In the article, we highlight the need to understand normative hu- man development processes in context and to consider risk and resilience in con- junction with these processes. We describe findings from a study of risk, social supports, and hypermasculinity. In the discussion, we outline the implications of these findings for theory and practice. A comprehensive and nuanced understanding of risk and resilience is among the most salient prerequisites for the application of human development research to policy and practice. The risks that youth face, along with the successful and un- successful strategies they employ to cope with these risks, need to be understood both in relation to their maturation and identity development and as linked to the social, cultural, and historical context in which these youth develop. Throughout the broad, interdisciplinary realm of human development, it is critical to concep- tualize the development of lives in context. It is apparent from research efforts on diverse, urban youth that this is rarely the case as illustrated in the ways that re- searchers formulate questions, identify constructs, theorize about phenomena, in- terpret results, and implement social policy. A myriad of conceptual flaws have
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In this article, we examine the construct of peer contagion in childhood and adolescence and review studies of child and adolescent development that have identified peer contagion influences. Evidence suggests that children's interactions with peers are tied to increases in aggression in early and middle childhood and amplification of problem behaviors such as drug use, delinquency, and violence in early to late adolescence. Deviancy training is one mechanism that accounts for peer contagion effects on problem behaviors from age 5 through adolescence. In addition, we discuss peer contagion relevant to depression in adolescence, and corumination as an interactive process that may account for these effects. Social network analyses suggest that peer contagion underlies the influence of friendship on obesity, unhealthy body images, and expectations. Literature is reviewed that suggests how peer contagion effects can undermine the goals of public education from elementary school through college and impair the goals of juvenile corrections systems. In particular, programs that "select" adolescents at risk for aggregated preventive interventions are particularly vulnerable to peer contagion effects. It appears that a history of peer rejection is a vulnerability factor for influence by peers, and adult monitoring, supervision, positive parenting, structure, and self-regulation serve as protective factors.
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In this article a conceptual model for the study of child development in minority populations in the United States is proposed. In support of the proposed model, this article includes (a) a delineation and critical analysis of mainstream theoretical frameworks in relation to their attention and applicability to the understanding of developmental processes in children of color and of issues at the intersection of social class, culture, ethnicity, and race, and (b) a description and evaluation of the conceptual frameworks that have guided the extant literature on minority children and families. Based on the above considerations, an integrative conceptual model of child development is presented, anchored within social stratification theory, emphasizing the importance of racism, prejudice, discrimination, oppression, and segregation on the development of minority children and families.
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Growing up in the culture of affluence can connote various psychosocial risks. Studies have shown that upper-class children can manifest elevated disturbance in several areas-such as substance use, anxiety, and depression-and that two sets of factors seem to be implicated, that is, excessive pressures to achieve and isolation from parents (both literal and emotional). Whereas stereotypically, affluent youth and poor youth are respectively thought of as being at "low risk" and "high risk," comparative studies have revealed more similarities than differences in their adjustment patterns and socialization processes. In the years ahead, psychologists must correct the long-standing neglect of a group of youngsters treated, thus far, as not needing their attention. Family wealth does not automatically confer either wisdom in parenting or equanimity of spirit; whereas children rendered atypical by virtue of their parents' wealth are undoubtedly privileged in many respects, there is also, clearly, the potential for some nontrivial threats to their psychological well-being.
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Drawing from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH; N = 611,880), a nationally representative survey of U.S. adolescents and adults, we assess age, period, and cohort trends in mood disorders and suicide-related outcomes since the mid-2000s. Rates of major depressive episode in the last year increased 52% 2005-2017 (from 8.7% to 13.2%) among adolescents aged 12 to 17 and 63% 2009-2017 (from 8.1% to 13.2%) among young adults 18-25. Serious psychological distress in the last month and suicide-related outcomes (suicidal ideation, plans, attempts, and deaths by suicide) in the last year also increased among young adults 18-25 from 2008-2017 (with a 71% increase in serious psychological distress), with less consistent and weaker increases among adults ages 26 and over. Hierarchical linear modeling analyses separating the effects of age, period, and birth cohort suggest the trends among adults are primarily due to cohort, with a steady rise in mood disorder and suicide-related outcomes between cohorts born from the early 1980s (Millennials) to the late 1990s (iGen). Cultural trends contributing to an increase in mood disorders and suicidal thoughts and behaviors since the mid-2000s, including the rise of electronic communication and digital media and declines in sleep duration, may have had a larger impact on younger people, creating a cohort effect. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved).
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A theoretical model linking achievement and emotions is proposed. The model posits that individual achievement promotes positive achievement emotions and reduces negative achievement emotions. In contrast, group-level achievement is thought to reduce individuals' positive emotions and increase their negative emotions. The model was tested using one cross-sectional and two longitudinal datasets on 5th to 10th grade students' achievement emotions in mathematics (Studies 1-3: Ns = 1,610, 1,759, and 4,353, respectively). Multilevel latent structural equation modeling confirmed that individual achievement had positive predictive effects on positive emotions (enjoyment, pride) and negative predictive effects on negative emotions (anger, anxiety, shame, and hopelessness), controlling for prior achievement, autoregressive effects, reciprocal effects, gender, and socioeconomic status (SES). Class-level achievement had negative compositional effects on the positive emotions and positive compositional effects on the negative emotions. Additional analyses suggested that self-concept of ability is a possible mediator of these effects. Furthermore, there were positive compositional effects of class-level achievement on individual achievement in Study 2 but not in Study 3, indicating that negative compositional effects on emotion are not reliably counteracted by positive effects on performance. The results were robust across studies, age groups, synchronous versus longitudinal analysis, and latent-manifest versus doubly latent modeling. These findings imply that individual success drives emotional well-being, whereas placing individuals in high-achieving groups can undermine well-being. Thus, the findings challenge policy and practice decisions on achievement-contingent allocation of individuals to groups.
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Mindset theory predicts that children’s IQ and school grades are positively linked to their belief that basic ability is malleable rather than fixed. We test this prediction in three experimental studies (total n = 624 individually-tested 10-12-year-olds). Two studies included active-control conditions to test effects of fixed-ability beliefs independent of motivation. In addition, we tested whether children’s own mindsets relate to real-life IQ, educational attainment in longitudinal analyses of school grades. Praise for intelligence had no significant effect on cognitive performance. Nor were any effects of mindset were found for challenging material. Active-control data showed that occasional apparent effects of praise for hard work on easy outcome measures reflected motivational confounds rather than effects of implicit beliefs about the malleability of intelligence (study 3, active control condition). Children’s own mindsets showed no relationship to IQ, school grades, or change in grades across the school year, with the only significant result being in the reverse direction to prediction (better performance in children holding a fixed mindset). Fixed beliefs about basic ability appear to be unrelated to ability, and we found no support for mindset-effects on cognitive ability, response to challenge, or educational progress.
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We examined longitudinal associations across an 8-year time span between overcontrolling parenting during toddlerhood, self-regulation during early childhood, and social, emotional, and academic adjustment in preadolescence (N = 422). Overcontrolling parenting, emotion regulation (ER), and inhibitory control (IC) were observed in the laboratory; preadolescent adjustment was teacher-reported and child self-reported. Results from path analysis indicated that overcontrolling parenting at age 2 was associated negatively with ER and IC at age 5, which, in turn, were associated with more child-reported emotional and school problems, fewer teacher-reported social skills, and less teacher-reported academic productivity at age 10. These effects held even when controlling for prior levels of adjustment at age 5, suggesting that ER and IC in early childhood may be associated with increases and decreases in social, emotional, and academic functioning from childhood to preadolescence. Finally, indirect effects from overcontrolling parenting at age 2 to preadolescent outcomes at age 10 were significant, both through IC and ER at age 5. These results support the notion that parenting during toddlerhood is associated with child adjustment into adolescence through its relation with early developing self-regulatory skills.
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Research examining associations between self-reported experiences of discrimination overall (e.g., potentially due to race, gender, socioeconomic status, age) and health—particularly among African Americans—has grown rapidly over the past two decades. Yet recent findings suggest that self-reported experiences of racism alone may be less impactful for the health of African Americans than previously hypothesized. Thus, an approach that captures a broader range of complexities in the study of discrimination and health among African Americans may be warranted. This article presents an argument for the importance of examining intersectionalities in studies of discrimination and physical health in African Americans and provides an overview of research in this area.
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Mind-sets (aka implicit theories) are beliefs about the nature of human attributes (e.g., intelligence). The theory holds that individuals with growth mind-sets (beliefs that attributes are malleable with effort) enjoy many positive outcomes—including higher academic achievement—while their peers who have fixed mind-sets experience negative outcomes. Given this relationship, interventions designed to increase students’ growth mind-sets—thereby increasing their academic achievement—have been implemented in schools around the world. In our first meta-analysis (k = 273, N = 365,915), we examined the strength of the relationship between mind-set and academic achievement and potential moderating factors. In our second meta-analysis (k = 43, N = 57,155), we examined the effectiveness of mind-set interventions on academic achievement and potential moderating factors. Overall effects were weak for both meta-analyses. However, some results supported specific tenets of the theory, namely, that students with low socioeconomic status or who are academically at risk might benefit from mind-set interventions.
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Praise for process, which includes praising students’ level of effort and effective strategies, has shown promise in improving students’ motivation to learn. However, parents and teachers may interpret this to mean that solely praising students’ effort level is sufficient. Although praise for effort is effective in some respects in early childhood, it often stops working and even backfires by adolescence. In this article, we explain these findings developmentally. We suggest that effort praise can communicate that effort is a path to improving ability, but can also imply that the student needs to work hard because of low innate ability. We propose that adolescents are at greater risk for interpreting the praise in the second way because secondary schools often value innate ability more than effort and adolescents are conscious of ability stereotypes. We conclude with implications for theory and research.
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In two nationally representative surveys of U.S. adolescents in grades 8 through 12 (N = 506,820) and national statistics on suicide deaths for those ages 13 to 18, adolescents’ depressive symptoms, suicide-related outcomes, and suicide rates increased between 2010 and 2015, especially among females. Adolescents who spent more time on new media (including social media and electronic devices such as smartphones) were more likely to report mental health issues, and adolescents who spent more time on nonscreen activities (in-person social interaction, sports/exercise, homework, print media, and attending religious services) were less likely. Since 2010, iGen adolescents have spent more time on new media screen activities and less time on nonscreen activities, which may account for the increases in depression and suicide. In contrast, cyclical economic factors such as unemployment and the Dow Jones Index were not linked to depressive symptoms or suicide rates when matched by year.
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Background Major depression is associated with significant disability, morbidity, and mortality. The current study estimated trends in the prevalence of major depression in the US population from 2005 to 2015 overall and by demographic subgroups. Methods Data were drawn from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), an annual cross-sectional study of US persons ages 12 and over (total analytic sample N = 607 520). Past-year depression prevalence was examined annually among respondents from 2005 to 2015. Time trends in depression prevalence stratified by survey year were tested using logistic regression. Data were re-analyzed stratified by age, gender, race/ethnicity, income, and education. Results Depression prevalence increased significantly in the USA from 2005 to 2015, before and after controlling for demographics. Increases in depression were significant for the youngest and oldest age groups, men, and women, Non-Hispanic White persons, the lowest income group, and the highest education and income groups. A significant year × demographic interaction was found for age. The rate of increase in depression was significantly more rapid among youth relative to all older age groups. Conclusions The prevalence of depression increased significantly in the USA from 2005 to 2015. The rate of increase in depression among youth was significantly more rapid relative to older groups. Further research into understanding the macro level, micro level, and individual factors that are contributing to the increase in depression, including factors specific to demographic subgroups, would help to direct public health prevention and intervention efforts.
Article
Implicit theories of intelligence have been proposed to predict a large number of different outcomes in education. The belief that intelligence is malleable (growth mindset) is supposed to lead to better academic achievement and students' mindset is therefore a potential target for interventions. The present study used a large sample of university applicants (N = 5653) taking a scholastic aptitude test to further examine the relationship between mindset and achievement in the academic domain. We found that results in the test were slightly negatively associated with growth mindset (r = − 0.03). Mindset showed no relationship with the number of test administrations participants signed up for and it did not predict change in the test results. The results show that the strength of the association between academic achievement and mindset might be weaker than previously thought.
Article
Studies suggest that affluence poses a risk for adolescents, but this has rarely been studied outside the United States. We examined the unique and additive roles of family and school affluence for adolescent outcomes among 10th-grade students (n = 7,203) in Oslo, Norway. Multilevel models were estimated separately by gender. For both boys and girls, school affluence was a risk for alcohol abuse and family affluence was a risk for conduct problems, although for conduct the risk was only at the very highest end of income distribution and adolescents in very poor families were also at risk. There was also a complex pattern of risk for early sexual debut; family affluence posed risk, but school affluence appeared protective.
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Research has identified risks of both poverty and affluence for adolescents. This study sought to clarify associations between income and youth mental and behavioral health by delineating economic risks derived from family, neighborhood, and school contexts within a nationally representative sample of high school students (N = 13,179, average age 16). Attending schools with more affluent schoolmates was associated with heightened likelihoods of intoxication, drug use, and property crime, but youth at poorer schools reported greater depressive and anxiety symptoms, engagement in violence, and for male adolescents, more frequent violence and intoxication. Neighborhood and family income were far less predictive. Results suggest that adolescent health risks derive from both ends of the economic spectrum, and may be largely driven by school contexts.
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Although trends in the racial segregation of schools are well documented, less is known about trends in income segregation. We use multiple data sources to document trends in income segregation between schools and school districts. Between-district income segregation of families with children enrolled in public school increased by over 15% from 1990 to 2010. Within large districts, between-school segregation of students who are eligible and ineligible for free lunch increased by over 40% from 1991 to 2012. Consistent with research on neighborhood segregation, we find that rising income inequality contributed to the rise in income segregation between schools and districts during this period. The rise in income segregation between both schools and districts may have implications for inequality in students’ access to resources that bear on academic achievement.
Article
This article considers the understudied phenomenon of children’s organized leisure as it relates to the division of labor in the family. Using both quantitative and qualitative data, we first ask whether the labor entailed by children’s organized leisure is divided evenly between mothers and fathers. Both data sets indicate that this is not the case, with the majority of the work falling to mothers; they also indicate that at least some employed mothers face a tradeoff between time devoted to paid work and time devoted to facilitating their children’s leisure. Subsequently, we consider key qualitative aspects of these leisure activities, including deadline sensitivity, authority over scheduling, and degree of predictability. These factors, we find, serve to exacerbate the inequity of the allocation of responsibility between mothers and fathers. We conclude by suggesting that organized leisure has become an important part of the familial landscape and thus warrants further attention. We also suggest that research on the gender division of labor would be enhanced in important ways by greater attention to qualitative dimensions of time use. Researchers should not simply assume that “an hour is an hour.”
Article
Community studies indicating that affluence has social‐emotional consequences for youth have conflated family and neighborhood wealth. We examined adolescent boys' delinquency and adolescent girls' anxiety‐depression as a function of family, neighborhood, and cumulative affluence in a sample that is primarily of European–American descent, but geographically and economically diverse (N = 1,364). Boys in affluent neighborhoods reported higher levels of delinquency and girls in affluent neighborhoods reported higher levels of anxiety‐depression compared with youth in middle‐class neighborhoods. Neither family affluence nor cumulative affluence, however, placed boys or girls at risk in these domains. Indeed, boys' delinquency and girls' anxiety‐depression levels were lowest for those in affluent families living in middle‐class neighborhoods.
Article
This study examined the role of hypermasculinity as a form of reactive coping among urban African American adolescent males (ages 12-17) and assessed the extent to which hypermasculinity is influenced by youth appraisals of how adults in their school and community perceive them. Two research questions were addressed: (a) Do adolescent males who report negative community and school experiences use hypermasculine attitudes as a coping response? (b) Do the effects of perceived negative school and community experiences persist, if they are present at all? Participants in the study were 241 African American adolescent males who attended public schools in a large southeastern city. Associating youth-reported questionnaires on perceived teacher expectations and perceptions of community challenges from one wave of data on hypermasculine attitudes within the same year and 2 years later, the results indicate that hypermasculinity attitudes stem from negative perceptions in the community and school contexts. Also, hypermasculinity attitudes were associated with these negatively perceived experiences across time. When examined longitudinally, negative experiences in the community had a stronger relation to hypermasculinity than similar experiences at school.
Article
Using data from the 2003-2007 American Time Use Surveys (ATUS), we compare mothers' (N = 6,640) time spent in four parenting activities across maternal education and child age subgroups. We test the hypothesis that highly educated mothers not only spend more time in active child care than less-educated mothers but also alter the composition of that time to suit children's developmental needs more than less-educated mothers. Results support this hypothesis: not only do highly educated mothers invest more time in basic care and play when youngest children are infants or toddlers than when children are older, but differences across education groups in basic care and play time are largest among mothers with infants or toddlers; by contrast, highly educated mothers invest more time in management activities when children are 6 to 13 years old than when children are younger, and differences across education groups in management are largest among mothers with school-aged children. These patterns indicate that the education gradient in mothers' time with children is characterized by a "developmental gradient."
Article
After three decades of decline, the amount of time spent by parents on childcare in the U.S. began to rise dramatically in the mid-1990s. Moreover, the rise in childcare time was particularly pronounced among college-educated parents. Why would highly educated parents increase the amount of time they allocate to childcare at the same time that their own market returns have skyrocketed? After finding no empirical support for standard explanations, such as selection or income effects, we offer a new explanation. We argue that increased competition for college admissions may be an important source of these trends. The number of college-bound students has surged in recent years, coincident with the rise in time spent on childcare. The resulting “cohort crowding” has led parents to compete more aggressively for college slots by spending increasing amounts of time on college preparation. Our theoretical model shows that, since college-educated parents have a comparative advantage in college preparation, rivalry leads them to increase preparation time by a greater amount than less-educated parents. We provide empirical support for our explanation with a comparison of trends between the U.S. and Canada, and a comparison across racial groups in the U.S.
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The country music star Wynonna Judd amassed a fortune and squandered much of it, throwing money at her children out of guilt for missing hockey practices and buying more cars than she could ever drive. Having grown up poor in Appalachia, Ms. Judd said she found herself with ‘‘everything and nothing at all.’’ 1 Ms. Judd_s remark epitomizes the no-win situation in which many American families have found themselvesVvictims of the all-consuming afflictionVa condition known as affluenza. Affluenza is an apt metaphorical term suggesting an illness that occurs when people view the acquisition of material goods as a measure of their worth. Affluenza is considered a serious, chronic, societal problem, akin to an epidemic. Affluence is a relative term. Typically, society reserves the terms affluence or privileged for the top 1% of the population, earning a total net worth exceeding 1 million dollars. 2 However, it is rapidly becoming apparent that middle to upper income households, with high-achieving, hard working, and/ or two-income families are also experiencing the pains of affluenza, even without the seven-figure salaries. Providing for one_s family is part of the American dream, and indisputably, money represents opportunity and choice. Many affluent parents raise their children to benefit from these privileges, thus enabling them to grow up with a sense of confidence and to gain satisfaction from their relationships and accomplishments. However, when money and its pursuit become paramount, parental debt and overwork can result. Children_s motivation to learn and explore diminishes because of easy access to material things, overindulgence, and a sense of entitlement. Within some families, day-to-day problem solving becomes difficult, and psychological distress emerges. Given the social benefits of affluence, it is not surprising that many resources have been directed toward prevention and treatment services for disadvantaged youth. In fact, the research overwhelmingly supports the environmental, social, and behavioral challenges linked to underprivileged individuals and communities. However, the research is scarce regarding a newly identified high-risk group. As pointed out by Dr. Suniya Luthar, a professor of clinical and developmental psychology at Columbia University, children living in affluent families have shown an increase in problems such as substance abuse, anxiety, and depression. Luthar attributes these difficulties to two primary causes: the isolation from parents, both physical and emotional; and excessive pressure to achieve at academic and extracurricular pursuits. The obvious advantages of privilege obscure the fact that there is a possible threat to the psychological well-being of ‘‘pressured but neglected’’ children and adolescents. 3
The perils of pushing kids too hard, and how parents can learn to back off
  • A Aubrey
  • J Greenhalgh
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