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Teen dating violence strong predictor of future abuse

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Deinera Exner-Cortens

Teens who experience physical or psychological violence in their adolescent dating relationships have a significantly greater risk of suffering abuse in their future adult romantic relationships. A new study, led by University of Calgary, Faculty of Social Work researcher Deinera Exner-Cortens, PhD, has isolated dating violence as a strong predictor that someone will suffer future abuse, even when victimized individuals were compared to others with similar backgrounds but who did not experience dating violence.

Exner-Cortens completed this research as a doctoral student at Cornell, working with John Eckenrode (BCTR associate director and professor of human development), who is also a co-author on the article.

Domestic violence takes a huge toll on the health and well-being of victims and families. Studies have shown that intimate partner violence against women has an estimated societal cost of $5.8 billion. In this light, Exner-Cortens says her study is a wake-up call that adolescent dating violence needs to be taken more seriously.

“When I talk to adolescents, they may not recognize that what they’re experiencing is dating violence,” says Exner-Cortens. “For a lot of them, it's their very first encounter in a romantic setting, so they may not know that it's not healthy. So, from a primary prevention – or stopping it before it starts – standpoint, we want to be communicating healthy relationships messages to adolescents. That you have a right to be safe in your relationship, and if a partner ever makes you feel unsafe or hurts you, that's not okay, and you have a right to leave, and to seek help.”

Exner-Cortens’ study, recently published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, is the first to demonstrate, in a U.S. national sample, that adolescent dating violence is uniquely implicated in a cycle of violence from adolescence to adulthood, even when comparing teens who were matched on key risk factors at the socio-demographic, individual, family, peer, school and community levels.

“For a long time adolescent romantic relationships weren’t a focus in research because people thought that they didn’t really matter for well-being,” explains Exner-Cortens. “This study strongly demonstrates that violence first experienced in adolescent relationships may become chronic, and that adolescent dating violence is an important risk factor for adult partner violence.”

Exner-Cortens and colleagues analyzed a sample of 2,161 American male and female heterosexual youth from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health. Participants were first interviewed about their dating experiences when they were ages 12-18, and then again five, and 12 years later. To measure dating violence, participants were asked if a partner had ever used insults, name-calling or disrespect in front of others; sworn at them; threatened them with violence; pushed or shoved them; or thrown objects that could hurt. Over a one-year period, about 19 per cent of teen respondents reported dating violence.

Five years after they were first victimized, female victims of adolescent dating violence had almost 1.5 times greater risk for experiencing physical adult intimate partner violence, and male victims had almost twice the risk for experiencing adult intimate partner violence. Individuals who reported intimate partner violence five years after dating violence victimization were also more likely to report intimate partner violence victimization during the twelve-year follow-up. These findings were all in comparison to a group who did not experience dating violence, but who were otherwise very similar in terms of risk history to dating violence victims. Variables used to create this well-matched comparison group included known predictors of adult intimate partner violence, such as child maltreatment, substance use and mental health.

“This is the first study to show that even when we get rid of many other confounding factors, dating violence still emerges as a predictor,” says Exner-Cortens. “Something is happening in those relationships over and above other things that would predict risk. Dating violence appears to set off some sort of cycle in terms of interpersonal violence.”

Exner-Cortens is calling for improved screening for adolescent dating violence in health-care settings, as well as the need for intervention programs for teens who have experienced abuse in their dating relationships. Programs that prevent adolescent dating violence before it starts are also key to intimate partner violence prevention.

Study co-authors are John Eckenrode (Cornell University), John Bunge (Cornell University) and Emily Rothman (Boston University). The research was supported by funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

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New video: Judith Smetana on adolescent-parent relationships

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Video from the 2016 John Doris Memorial Lecture, Adolescent-Parent Relationships: Developmental Processes and Cultural Variations, by Judith Smetana of the University of Rochester is now online. The lecture was held on Wednesday, April 20, 2016.

 

 

About the talk:
Adolescence is often seen as a difficult time for both adolescents and their parents. Although current psychological research suggests that problems during this developmental period are often overstated, adolescent-parent relationships do go through significant transformations that pose challenges for the family. In her talk, Judith Smetana discusses findings from an ongoing program of research focusing on normative changes in different aspects of adolescent-parent relationships, including conflict and disagreements between parents and teenagers, adolescents’ disclosure, secrecy, and information management with parents, and adolescents’ and parents’ beliefs about parents’ legitimate authority to make rules about adolescents’ lives. She describes research with American families from diverse backgrounds and families from different cultures and discusses the significance of these findings for adolescent development and family functioning.

 

doris smetana eckenrode

L-R: Ellen Doris, Judith Smetana, and John Eckenrode.

About Judith Smetana:
Judith Smetana is professor of psychology and Director of the Developmental Psychology Ph.D. program at the University of Rochester, where she has held the Frederica Warner Chair of Human Development. She obtained her B.A. with highest honors in psychology from the University of California, Berkeley, and her M.S. and Ph.D. in psychology from the University of California, Santa Cruz. After completing a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Michigan, she moved to the University of Rochester, where she has received several mentoring and leadership awards. Dr. Smetana’s research focuses on adolescent-parent relationships and parenting in different ethnic and cultural contexts and on children’s moral reasoning and behavior. She has published numerous articles and chapters on these topics. Her authored books include Adolescents, families, and social development: How children construct their worlds (2011), and several edited volumes, including the Handbook of Moral Development (2006, 2014), and Adolescent vulnerabilities and opportunities: Constructivist and developmental perspectives (2011).

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2016 John Doris Memorial Lecture

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Adolescent-Parent Relationships: Developmental Processes and Cultural Variations
Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Judith Smetana
Clinical and Social Sciences in Psychology, University of Rochester

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Engaging Cornell students to study adolescent sexual health in the digital age

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Janis Whitlock and Jane Powers

Janis Whitlock and Jane Powers

BCTR researchers Janis Whitlock (director, Cornell Research Program on Self-Injury and Recovery) and Jane Powers (director, ACT for Youth) have joined forces to study how technology impacts teen sexual behavior. Their project Adolescent Sexual Health in the Digital Age explores youth and “technology-mediated sexual activity” (TMSA): how young people engage in sexually explicit activities through digital technologies, such as online pornography, sexting, and hook up apps. The work is supported by a recently-awarded Hatch grant.

As a starting point, Whitlock and Powers surveyed youth service providers, sex educators, and parents to assess their overall level of awareness and concern about TMSA, and to capture what these individuals have been observing among the youth with whom they interact.

To learn directly from young people themselves, the researchers enlisted the help of undergraduates. In collaboration with Professor Kelly Musick and students in her Research Design, Practice and Policy class (PAM 3120) Whitlock and Powers launched a semester-long project to develop a survey that could be used to explore TMSA among college students. Class members first participated in focus groups led by members of the ACT for Youth evaluation team, research assistants in the Cornell Research Program on Self-Injury and Recovery lab, and Callie Silver (HD ’16), a Cooperative Extension intern and core research assistant for the project. The focus groups prompted students to discuss how they think their peers navigate sex in this new digital landscape. The students then learned how to code the focus group transcripts and generate themes to develop a college survey. Once the survey was developed, students conducted a pilot study, generating approximately 400 responses. Finally, the class presented their findings as well as their recommendations for revisions to the survey.

In this mutually rewarding project, students learned about research methods through a real- world project, and in turn their work provided BCTR researchers with essential information that will be incorporated into an NIH proposal to further examine this understudied, but important, topic.

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2016 Doris Lecture: Judith Smetana, Wednesday, April 20, 2016

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JUDITH G SMETANAPROFESSORCLINICAL & SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY

Adolescent-Parent Relationships: Developmental Processes and Cultural Variations
Judith Smetana, University of Rochester

Wednesday, April 20, 2016
12:00PM
Nevin Welcome Center, The Plantations



Adolescence is often seen as a difficult time for both adolescents and their parents. Although current psychological research suggests that problems during this developmental period are often overstated, adolescent-parent relationships do go through significant transformations that pose challenges for the family. In her talk, Judith Smetana will discuss findings from an ongoing program of research focusing on normative changes in different aspects of adolescent-parent relationships, including conflict and disagreements between parents and teenagers, adolescents’ disclosure, secrecy, and information management with parents, and adolescents’ and parents’ beliefs about parents’ legitimate authority to make rules about adolescents’ lives. She will describe research with American families from diverse backgrounds and families from different cultures and discuss the significance of these findings for adolescent development and family functioning.

Judith Smetana is professor of psychology and Director of the Developmental Psychology Ph.D. program at the University of Rochester, where she has held the Frederica Warner Chair of Human Development. She obtained her B.A. with highest honors in psychology from the University of California, Berkeley, and her M.S. and Ph.D. in psychology from the University of California, Santa Cruz. After completing a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Michigan, she moved to the University of Rochester, where she has received several mentoring and leadership awards. Dr. Smetana’s research focuses on adolescent-parent relationships and parenting in different ethnic and cultural contexts and on children’s moral reasoning and behavior. She has published numerous articles and chapters on these topics. Her authored books include Adolescents, families, and social development: How children construct their worlds (2011), and several edited volumes, including the Handbook of Moral Development (2006, 2014), and Adolescent vulnerabilities and opportunities: Constructivist and developmental perspectives (2011).

 

This talk is open to all. Lunch will be served. Metered parking is available in the Nevin Welcome Center parking lot. No registration or RSVP required except for groups of 5 or more. We ask that larger groups email Patty at pmt6@cornell.edu letting us know of your plans to attend so that we can order enough lunch.

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Talks at Twelve: Joan Jacobs Brumberg, Wednesday, September 10, 2014

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More Body Projects
Joan Jacobs Brumberg, Cornell University

Wednesday, September 10, 2014
12:00PM - 1:30PM
Beebe Hall, 2nd floor conference room



This illustrated talk is a reprise of a lecture delivered at Cornell’s June 2014 reunion. Professor Brumberg will discuss the ways in which the adolescent female body has been shaped by American culture, focusing on how body projects and body modification have changed over the past 20 years since the publication of her award-winning book The Body Project: An Intimate History of American Girls.

 

Joan Jacobs Brumberg, a social and cultural historian, is a faculty fellow at the Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research. As Stephen H. Weiss Presidential Fellow and a professor in the College of Human Ecology, she taught courses for over twenty years on the history of American childhood, American women and girls, and the history of medicine. She has written three books on adolescents: Fasting Girls: The History of Anorexia Nervosa, The Body Project: An Intimate History of American Girls, and Kansas Charley: The Boy Murderer. In addition to book awards, she has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Guggenheim and Rockefeller Foundations. She is a fellow of the Society of American Historians.

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BCTR at the Society for Research on Adolescence meeting

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Stephen Hamilton and Mary Agnes Hamilton

The 15th Biannual Meeting of the Society for Research on Adolescence was held in Austin, TX on March 20, 2014. The 2014 conference theme of Social Justice was addressed by faculty, staff, and students from the BCTR's Cornell Research Program on Self-Injury and RecoveryCornell Youth in Society, and The Role of Grandparents in the Lives of Adolescent Grandchildren.

  • Stephen Hamilton participated in the roundtable discussion, Improving the uses of evidence in working with young people: International perspectives on challenges and opportunities.
  • Stephen Hamilton and  Mary Agnes Hamilton presented a paper, When is a youth program leader a mentor?
  • Kimberly Kopko presented the paper A Dyadic Analysis of Parenting Behaviors and Relationship Quality Among Adolescent Grandchildren and Custodial Grandparents, which was co-authored with Megan L. Dolbin-MacNab and Rachel Dunifon
  • Kemar Prussien, a junior Psychology major and BCTR research assistant, presented a poster co-authored with Janis Whitlock: Parent-Child Agreement in Understanding the What and Why of Child Non-Suicidal Self-Injury.
  • Janis Whitlock and Deinera Exner-Cortens were co-chairs for the media and communications sub-committee, which hosted a pre-conference, Translating Research Evidence to Policy and Practice.
  • Additionally, BCTR faculty affiliates Jane Mendle and Tony Burrow both gave presentations at the conference.

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ACT focus group studies connect policy makers with youth voices

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Since its inception in 2000, the ACT for Youth Center of Excellence (COE) has sought to enhance efforts to promote the health and well-being of adolescents. As an intermediary funded by the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH), the COE aims to connect research to practice by applying knowledge about what works in prevention and youth development in communities across the state. But the sharing of information is not a one-way street: the COE also collects wisdom and data from the field, which in turn is used to inform policy and practice.

One illustration of this process is the COE's recent youth focus group study. The COE has often been called upon by the NYSDOH to conduct focus groups on topics of interest in adolescent health, specifically so policy makers and decision makers can hear directly from youth in New York State (NYS). The focus group findings have been incorporated into funding announcements and media campaigns, and used to develop new sexual health initiatives. Recently, the COE partnered with grantees who are working in the field of teen pregnancy prevention to conduct focus groups with youth in order to understand how adolescents think about “family planning,” as well as identify barriers to their accessing reproductive health services. This study was driven by the fact that while significant numbers of adolescents are sexually active, there has been a decline in adolescent use of publicly-funded family planning services, a fact that has been observed nationally as well as in NYS. Major findings from this focus group study support those documented in national studies:

  1. teens want to prevent pregnancy, but they have misconceptions about and negative views of birth control methods; and
  2. utilization of family planning services can be improved by attending to several factors including teen perceptions of stigma, discomfort, and lack of privacy.

These findings are outlined in a recent COE publication, Youth and Family Planning: Findings from a Focus Group Study, which is part of the Research fACTs and Findings series. In addition, the COE has also presented findings to practitioners who work in the area of teen pregnancy prevention, adolescent sexual health, and reproductive health services. By connecting these results directly with those working in the field, the COE is able to reach a wide audience of practitioners, policy makers, and educators who can use the information to inform practice.

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Youth smoking prevention works

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"Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, causing about 500,000 deaths per year and driving up costs in the U.S. health care system."

Read the rest of this post on the Evidence-Based Living blog:

Youth smoking prevention works

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Talks at Twelve: Barry Burkhart

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An Outline of an Empirically Oriented Assessment and Treatment Program for Adolescent Sex Offenders
April 18, 2013

Barry Burkhart
Psychology Department, Auburn University

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