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Social Distancing and Adolescent Psychological Well-Being: The Role of Practical Knowledge and Exercise

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Background and Objectives: This intensive longitudinal study investigated (a) the extent to which engaging in social distancing predicted adolescents’ same- and next-day stress and positive affect and (b) whether COVID-19-related knowledge and exercise moderated these links during statewide stay-at-home orders that mandated schools and nonessential businesses to close during the coronavirus pandemic. Methods: Over the course of 28 days at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, a nationwide sample of 349 adolescents (Mean age = 15.0; 40% male; 44% Black, 39% White, 9% Latinx, 6% Asian American, 2% Native American) completed daily surveys about their social distancing behaviors, knowledge about the coronavirus, and exercise habits. Analysis was conducted on a total of 9,372 assessments using longitudinal multilevel modeling approaches. Results: Daily engagement in social distancing predicted increases in adolescents’ stress and decreases in their positive affect. Practical knowledge about COVID-19 and daily exercise moderated these links. Specifically, practical knowledge and exercise weakened the positive link between social distancing and stress as well as the negative link between social distancing and positive affect. Conclusions: Adolescents’ practical knowledge and exercise have the potential to buffer against the adverse effects of social distancing on stress and positive affect. However, it is critical for healthcare providers to recognize that youth are experiencing significant stress due to the disruption of developmentally normal patterns of social interaction. Pediatricians should focus on explaining the rationale behind social distancing while encouraging exercise as an adaptive coping mechanism that has benefits for psychological well-being.

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... That is, the older the students are, the lower their positive activation and the higher their negative activation as a result of social distancing. Similar findings reported by Wang et al. (2021) have revealed that social distancing predicted an increase in adolescents' stress and decreases in their positive activation. ...
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The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting stay-at-home orders created a need for assessing elementary, middle, and high school students’ experienced stressors associated with the coronavirus situation. In collaboration with a school district wanting information about their students’ well-being during the pandemic school shut-down, the current study investigated students’ reported types and levels of COVID-19 stressors. Data were collected from 2,738 students from fourth through 12th grade in a suburban Midwestern school district in the United States following school closure related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Data on stress associated with the COVID-19 pandemic were gathered from students via an online survey using Qualtrics. The students rated 20 items (e.g., not motivated to do schoolwork, not going to my school) on stress level. Stressor categories found included Social Isolation, Schoolwork Stress, Fear of COVID-19 Illness, and Missing Events. Middle and high school students reported higher schoolwork stress than did elementary students, and overall, females had higher reported stress on several stressors. The current study has implications for school psychologists including utilizing a tool to assess pandemic-related stressors, using prepandemic normative data in schools with caution, promoting education about COVID-19 to reduce fear, supporting teachers regarding addressing schoolwork stress experienced by students, and teaching students anxiety-reducing strategies such as mindfulness or coping strategies.
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Background COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown has brought about a sense of fear and anxiety around the globe. This phenomenon has led to short term as well as long term psychosocial and mental health implications for children and adolescents. The quality and magnitude of impact on minors is determined by many vulnerability factors like developmental age, educational status, pre-existing mental health condition, being economically underprivileged or being quarantined due to infection or fear of infection. Aims This paper is aimed at narratively reviewing various articles related to mental-health aspects of children and adolescents impacted by COVID-19 pandemic and enforcement of nationwide or regional lockdowns to prevent further spread of infection. Methodology We conducted a review and collected articles and advisories on mental health aspects of children and adolescents during the COVID-19 pandemic. We selected articles and thematically organized them. We put up their major findings under the thematic areas of impact on young children, school and college going students, children and adolescents with mental health challenges, economically underprivileged children, impact due to quarantine and separation from parents and the advisories of international organizations. We have also provided recommendations to the above. Conclusion There is a pressing need for planning longitudinal and developmental studies, and implementing evidence based elaborative plan of action to cater to the psycho social and mental health needs of the vulnerable children and adolescents during pandemic as well as post pandemic. There is a need to ameliorate children and adolescents’ access to mental health support services geared towards providing measures for developing healthy coping mechanisms during the current crisis. For this innovative child and adolescent mental health policies policies with direct and digital collaborative networks of psychiatrists, psychologists, paediatricians, and community volunteers are deemed necessary.
Article
The construct of engagement provides a holistic lens for understanding how children interact with learning activities, with distinct behavioral, emotional-affective, and cognitive components forming a multidimensional engagement profile for each child. As the understanding of engagement and recognition of its complexity grow, a pressing need has emerged for a synthetic, coherent review that simultaneously integrates extant literature and clarifies the conceptualization of engagement, identifies its key facilitators and consequences, and proffers a theoretical framework that elaborates on how engagement functions. Using a developmental-contextual approach, this article integrates empirical and theoretical scholarship to illustrate how engagement is produced by developmental and relational processes involving transactions across multiple ecologies. The integrative model of engagement offers a comprehensive perspective on the multiple pathways-psychological, cognitive, social, and cultural-underlying the development of children's engagement. Conceptualizing engagement as a multidimensional construct shaped by interactions between an individual and the environment enriches the field's understanding of the personal, contextual, and sociocultural factors that foster or undermine engagement. This framing also enhances understanding of the psychosocial mechanisms through which learning environments influence engagement. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved).
Article
Evidence-based practice requires the use of data grounded in theory with clear conceptualization and reliable and valid measurement. Unfortunately, developing a knowledge base regarding children’s coping in the context of disasters, terrorism, and war has been hampered by a lack of theoretical consensus and a virtual absence of rigorous test construction, implementation, and evaluation. This report presents a comprehensive review of measurement tools assessing child and adolescent coping in the aftermath of mass trauma, with a particular emphasis on coping dimensions identified through factor analytic procedures. Coping measurement and issues related to the assessment of coping are reviewed. Concepts important in instrument development and psychometric features of coping measures used in disasters, terrorism, and war are presented. The relationships between coping dimensions and both youth characteristics and clinical outcomes also are presented. A discussion of the reviewed findings highlights the difficulty clinicians may experience when trying to integrate the inconsistencies in coping dimensions across studies. Incorporating the need for multiple informants and the difference between general and context-specific coping measures suggests the importance of a multilevel, theoretical conceptualization of coping and thus, the use of more advanced statistical measures. Attention also is given to issues deemed important for further exploration in child disaster coping research. B Pfefferbaum, P Nitiéma, AK Jacobs, MA Noffsinger, LH Wind, SF Allen. Review of coping in children exposed to mass trauma: measurement tools, coping styles, and clinical implications. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2016;31(2):1–12.
Article
The study of resilience in development has overturned many negative assumptions and deficit-focused models about children growing up under the threat of disadvantage and adversity. The most surprising conclusion emerging from studies of these children is the ordinariness of resilience. An examination of converging findings from variable-focused and person-focused investigations of these phenomena suggests that resilience is common and that it usually arises from the normative functions of human adaptational systems, with the greatest threats to human development being those that compromise these protective systems. The conclusion that resilience is made of ordinary rather than extraordinary processes offers a more positive outlook on human development and adaptation, as well as direction for policy and practice aimed at enhancing the development of children at risk for problems and psychopathology. The study of resilience in development has overturned many negative assumptions and deficit-focused models about children growing up under the threat of disadvantage and adversity.
Article
There is no satisfactory account of the psychological processes that mediate a news framing effect. Based on an experimental study (N = 1,537), this article presents a mediation analysis of a news framing effect on opinion, testing for two important mediation processes: belief importance and belief content change. Results show that framing is mediated by both belief importance and belief content, with belief content being the more prominent variable. The extent to which each process takes effect depends on a person’s level of political knowledge. Knowledgeable individuals are affected to a greater extent via both belief content and belief importance change.
Article
This study examined the effects of four coping dimensions—active coping, avoidance, distraction, and support—on conduct problems, depression, and achievement in a multiethnic, inner-city sample of early adolescents. The main effects of coping were examined, along with stress X coping interactions. For girls, active coping interacted with family and community stress to predict conduct problems and grades, respectively, and with community stress to predict depression. These interactions revealed a classic stress-buffering effect for active coping. For boys, although active coping interacted with community and peer stress to predict depression and with community and family stress to predict grades, these findings did not support the stress-buffering effect. Although avoidant coping was positively associated with depression and poor grades at low levels of stress, it was associated with more adaptive functioning on these outcomes at higher levels of stress.
Book
www.intensivelongitudinal.com : A complete, practical guide to planning and executing an intensive longitudinal study, this book provides the tools for understanding within-subject social, psychological, and physiological processes in everyday contexts. Intensive longitudinal studies involve many repeated measurements taken on individuals, dyads, or groups, and include diary and experience sampling studies. A range of engaging, worked-through research examples with datasets are featured. Coverage includes how to: select the best intensive longitudinal design for a particular research question, model within-subject change processes for continuous and categorical outcomes, distinguish within-subject from between-subjects effects, assess the reliability of within-subject changes, assure sufficient statistical power, and more. Several end-of-chapter write-ups illustrate effective ways to present study findings for publication. Datasets and output in SPSS, SAS, Mplus, HLM, MLwiN, and R for the examples are available on the companion website (www.intensivelongitudinal.com).
Article
A child version of the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS; D. Watson et al, see record 1988-31508-001), the PANAS-C, was developed using students in Grades 4–8 ( N = 707). Item selection was based on psychometric and theoretical grounds. The resulting Negative Affect (NA) and Positive Affect (PA) scales demonstrated good convergent and discriminant validity with existing self-report measures of childhood anxiety and depression; the PANAS-C performed much like its adult namesake. Overall, the PANAS-C, like the adult PANAS, is a brief, useful measure that can be used to differentiate anxiety from depression in youngsters. As such, this instrument addresses the shortcomings of existing measures of childhood anxiety and depression. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
We examine potential roles of 4 functions of affect in health communication and the construction of health preferences. The roles of these 4 functions (affect as information, as a spotlight, as a motivator, and as common currency) are illustrated in the area of cancer screening and treatment decision making. We demonstrate that experienced affect influences information processes, judgments, and decisions. We relate the functions to a self-regulation approach and examine factors that may influence the weight of cognitive versus affective processing of information. Affect’s role in health communication is likely to be nuanced, and it deserves careful empirical study of its effects on patients’ well-being.
Article
This study examined the relative influence of adolescents' supportive relationships with teachers, peers, and parents on trajectories of different dimensions of school engagement from middle to high school and how these associations differed by gender and race or ethnicity. The sample consisted of 1,479 students (52% females, 56% African American). The average growth trajectories of school compliance, participation in extracurricular activities, school identification, and subjective valuing of learning decreased from 7th to 11th grades (mean ages = 12.9 years to 17.2 years). Different sources of social support were not equally important in their impact on school engagement, and the effect of these sources differed by the aspect of engagement studied. For instance, peer social support predicted adolescents' school compliance more strongly and school identification less strongly than teacher social support.
Article
ObjectiveThe purpose of this meta-analysis was to examine the effect of regular aerobic exercise on self-reported positive-activated affect (PAA). Samples from 105 studies (1980–2008) were included yielding 370 effect sizes (ESs) and 9840 participants.MethodStudies were coded for the following moderators: baseline affect, exercise frequency, intensity, time, program duration, exercise dose, study quality, and study source. The analysis employed multiple measures of affect and corrected for statistical artifacts using the meta-analytical methods of [85] and [86].ResultsThe overall mean corrected and standard deviation (SDcorr) were .57 and .48, respectively. Two clear moderator effects were found: the inverse association between baseline PAA and ES and the positive association between study quality and ES. The effect also varied with exercise frequency (positive relation) and exercise intensity (negative relation). Exercise dose was only a weak moderator, but the results indicate the following aerobic exercise program as optimal for improving PAA: low intensity (∼30% VO2R), 30–35 min, 3–5 days/wk for 10–12 weeks. Similar effects were found for published and unpublished studies (source). Control conditions produced little change in .ConclusionRegular aerobic exercise results in moderate increases in self-reported PAA, but the effects vary by baseline affect and study quality. Exercise-related variables produced weaker moderating effects. PAA was unchanged for control conditions. A more comprehensive understanding of exercise-related affect will emerge when researchers examine the interaction of acute and chronic responses.
Article
Recommended daily physical activity accumulated in short intervals (e.g., <10 minutes) may be more feasible and appealing to the relatively sedentary populace than longer bouts. The purpose of this paper is to present a systematic review of the evidence for the effectiveness of short activity bouts incorporated into organizational routine as part of the regular "conduct of business." PubMed, MEDLINE, and Google Scholar databases were searched in August 2009 (updated search in February and July 2010) to identify relevant, peer-reviewed journal articles and abstracts on school-, worksite-, and faith-based interventions of short, structurally integrated physical activity breaks. The majority of interventions implemented daily physical activity bouts of 10-15 minutes in length. Schools were the most common settings among the 40 published articles included in this review. The rigor of the studies varied by setting, with more than 75% of worksite versus 25% of school studies utilizing RCT designs. Studies focused on a broad range of outcomes, including academic/work performance indicators, mental health outcomes, and clinical disease risk indicators, in addition to physical activity level. Physical activity was the most commonly assessed outcome in school-based studies, with more than half of studies assessing and observing improvements in physical activity outcomes following the intervention. About a quarter of worksite-based studies assessed physical activity, and the majority found a positive effect of the intervention on physical activity levels. About half of studies also observed improvements in other relevant outcomes such as academic and work performance indicators (e.g., academic achievement, cognitive performance, work productivity); psychosocial factors (e.g., stress, mood); and clinical disease risk indicators (e.g., blood pressure, BMI). The average study duration was more than 1 year, and several reported outcomes at 3-6 years. Interventions integrating physical activity into organizational routine during everyday life have demonstrated modest but consistent benefits, particularly for physical activity, and these are promising avenues of investigation. The proportionately longer-term outcomes available in these studies compared with individual-level studies suggest that physical activity promotion strategies at the organizational level may be more sustainable.
Article
Self-determination theory posits that the degree to which a prosocial act is volitional or autonomous predicts its effect on well-being and that psychological need satisfaction mediates this relation. Four studies tested the impact of autonomous and controlled motivation for helping others on well-being and explored effects on other outcomes of helping for both helpers and recipients. Study 1 used a diary method to assess daily relations between prosocial behaviors and helper well-being and tested mediating effects of basic psychological need satisfaction. Study 2 examined the effect of choice on motivation and consequences of autonomous versus controlled helping using an experimental design. Study 3 examined the consequences of autonomous versus controlled helping for both helpers and recipients in a dyadic task. Finally, Study 4 manipulated motivation to predict helper and recipient outcomes. Findings support the idea that autonomous motivation for helping yields benefits for both helper and recipient through greater need satisfaction. Limitations and implications are discussed.
The Concept of Mind. Hutchinson
  • G Ryle
Ryle G. The Concept of Mind. Hutchinson; 1949. https://doi.org/ 10.4324/9780203875858.
Positive affect and meaning-focused coping during significant psychological stress
  • Folkman
Folkman S, Moskowitz JT. Positive affect and meaning-focused coping during significant psychological stress. In: Hewstone M, Schut HAW, de Wit JBF, van den Bos K, Stroebe MS, eds. The Scope of Social Psychology: Theory and Applications. Psychology Press; 2007:193-208. https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203965245.
The evolutionary basis of risky adolescent behavior: implications for science, policy, and practice
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Ellis BJ, Giudice M Del, Dishion TJ, et al. The evolutionary basis of risky adolescent behavior: implications for science, policy, and practice. Dev Psychol. 2012;48:598-623. https://doi.org/10.1037/ a0026220.
Male (ref=Female) .32 (.04) c
  • J Reed
  • D S Ones
Reed J, Ones DS. The effect of acute aerobic exercise on positive activated affect: A -.12 (.06) [-.23,.04] -.13 (.06) a [-.25, -.01] -.32 (.09) c [-.49, -.14] -.26 (.09) b [-.43, -.09] Other race (ref=Black) -.20 (.06) c [-.32, -.09] -.20 (.06) c [-.31, -.09] -.04 (.08) [-.20,.13] -.03 (.08) [-.20,.13] Male (ref=Female) .32 (.04) c [.25,.39] .33 (.04) c [.26,.40] -.43 (.05) c [-.53, -.33] -.38 (.05) c [-.48, -.27] Age .10 (.01) c [.08,.12] .10 (.01) c [.08,.13] -.19 (.02) c [-.22, -.15] -.18 (.02) c [-.21, -.14] Parent's education -.03 (.01) b [-.04, -.01] -.03 (.01) c [-.05, -.01] -.03 (.01) b [-.06,.-01] -.03 (.01) a [-.05, -.00] Residential type .17 (.04) c [.10,.24] .15 (.04) c [.08,.23] .19 (.05) c [.08,.29] .17 (.05) b [.06,.27] GPA .05 (.01) c [.03,.07] .05 (.01) c [.03,.07] -.10 (.01) c [-.13, -.07] -.09 (.02) c [-.12, -.06] Low-income family .12 (.03) c [.06,.18] .12 (.03) c [.06,.18] .19 (.04) c [.11,.28] .19 (.05) c [.10, 28] COVID-19 descriptive knowledge .20 (.01) c [.18,.22] .20 (.01) c [.18,.22] -.01 (.01) [-.02,.04] -.02 (.01) [-.02,.04]