Ever since birth control pills first became available, researchers have been trying to understand the connection between oral contraceptive use and mood. A new study led by investigators at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG) and Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands adds important, new information by surveying young women about depressive symptoms.
Depressive symptoms — such as crying, sleeping excessively, and eating issues — can be far subtler than diagnosed clinical depression. But by surveying a cohort of more than 1,000 women every three years, investigators have amassed a unique trove of data about these subclinical symptoms. In a study published in JAMA Psychiatry, investigators report that there was no association between oral contraceptive use and depressive symptom severity in the entire population they studied (ages 16 through 25). However, they found that 16-year-old girls reported higher depressive symptom severity compared with 16-year-old girls not using oral contraceptives.
In an analysis of one of the largest electronic medical records databases in the world, researchers found that patients with acne had a significantly increased risk of developing major depression, but only in the first 5 years after being diagnosed with acne.
The British Journal of Dermatology analysis included data from The Health Improvement Network (THIN) (1986-2012), a large primary care database in the United Kingdom.
The investigators found that the risk for major depression was highest within 1 year of acne diagnosis — a 63% higher risk compared with individuals without acne — and decreased thereafter.
In an assessment of their “depression literacy” program, which has already been taught to tens of thousands, Johns Hopkins researchers say the Adolescent Depression .Awareness Program (ADAP) achieved its intended effect of encouraging many teenagers to speak up and seek adult help for themselves or a peer.
The program provides selected high school teachers a curriculum geared to students in ninth or 10th grade in the required health education classes.
In a report of their findings, published in the December issue of the American Journal of Public Health, the researchers say the program was designed to prevent suffering at a time when adolescent depression rates are on the rise and many believe awareness, early recognition and effective therapies can lead to better outcomes.
Adolescents with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are licensed to drive less often and, when this group is licensed, they have a greater risk of crashing, according to a new study published by JAMA Pediatrics.
The defining symptoms of ADHD (inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity) have been linked to unsafe driving behaviors.
Allison E. Curry, Ph.D., M.P.H., of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), and coauthors linked electronic health records to New Jersey traffic safety databases for more than 18,000 primary care patients of the CHOP health care network born from 1987 to 1997. Study analyses were restricted to 2,479 adolescents and young adults with ADHD and 15,865 without ADHD who had at least one full month of follow-up after becoming age-eligible for licensure, which in New Jersey is at the minimum age of 17.
Transgender and gender-fluid teens, particularly those born male, face up to three times more mental and physical abuse at school and at home than their gender-conforming peers, according to a new study from the University of California, Berkeley.
The study is one of the largest national surveys to date of sexual and gender minority adolescents who have suffered multiple forms of victimization, including child abuse, physical and sexual assault and bullying, raising their risk of depression, post-traumatic stress, self-harm and suicide.
“Our results show that approximately 50 to 70 percent of trans and gender-fluid teens reported being exposed to 10 or more different types of aggression,” said study lead author Paul Sterzing, a UC Berkeley assistant professor of social welfare. “For these young people, victimization is happening in the home. It’s happening at school. It’s happening online. There often isn’t a safe harbor for them.”
Chronic insufficient sleep is at epidemic levels in U.S. teens and has been associated with depression, substance use, accidents, and academic failure. Poor self-regulation or an inability to alter thinking, emotions, and behaviors to meet varying social demands is thought to be a key link between inadequate sleep in teens and poor health and school-related outcomes. However, a study led by Judith Owens, MD, MPH, at Boston Children’s Hospital and Robert Whitaker, MD, MPH, at Temple University found that the number of hours teens sleep on school nights may not be the main problem. Instead, daytime sleepiness and a tendency to be a “night owl,” referred to as an evening chronotype, appear to be more strongly associated with poor self-regulation. Findings were published online November 3 by Pediatrics.
“The results of this study suggest it’s not how long you sleep that has the biggest impact on self- regulation, but when you sleep in relation to the body’s natural circadian rhythms and how impaired you are by sleepiness,” says Owens, director of the Sleep Center at Boston Children’s and first author on the paper.
Facebook can have positive and negative effects on teens levels of a stress hormone, say researchers at the University of Montreal and the Institut universitaire de santé mentale de Montréal. Led by Professor Sonia Lupien, the team found that having more than 300 Facebook friends increased teens’ levels of cortisol. On the other hand, teens who act in ways that support their Facebook friends — for example, by liking what they posted or sending them words of encouragement — decreased their levels of cortisol. Their findings were published inPsychoneuroendocrinology.
Lupien and her colleagues recruited 88 participants aged 12-17 years who were asked about their frequency of use of Facebook, their number of friends on the social media site, their self-promoting behaviour, and finally, the supporting behaviour they displayed toward their friends. Along with these four measures, the team collected cortisol samples of the participating adolescents. The samples were taken four times a day for three days.
Stress levels measured in adolescents from cortisol samples are obviously not entirely due to the popular social media site. “While other important external factors are also responsible, we estimated that the isolated effect of Facebook on cortisol was around eight percent,” Lupien said. “We were able to show that beyond 300 Facebook friends, adolescents showed higher cortisol levels; we can therefore imagine that those who have 1,000 or 2,000 friends on Facebook may be subjected to even greater stress.”
An innovative high school health program helped students maintain healthier weights and even alleviated severe depression for a full year after the program ended.
Researchers found that 12 months after completing the COPE Healthy Lifestyles TEEN Program, students had markedly lower body mass index than students who received a more standard health curriculum. Additionally, COPE teens who began the program with extremely elevated depression had symptoms in the normal range after 12 months.
COPE (Creating Opportunities for Personal Empowerment) Healthy Lifestyles TEEN (Thinking, Emotions, Exercise, Nutrition) teaches adolescents that how they think is directly related to how they feel and behave. It also teaches them how to turn negative beliefs triggered by “activating events” into positive beliefs so that they feel emotionally better and engage in healthy behaviors. The program is based on cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), with an emphasis on skills-building.
Youth who enter puberty ahead of their peers are at heightened risk of depression, although the disease develops differently in girls than in boys, a new study suggests.
Early maturation triggers an array of psychological, social-behavioral and interpersonal difficulties that predict elevated levels of depression in boys and girls several years later, according to research by led by psychology professor Karen D. Rudolph at the University of Illinois.
Rudolph and her colleagues measured pubertal timing and tracked levels of depression among more than 160 youth over a four-year period. During their early teenage years, the youth in the study completed annual questionnaires and interviews that assessed their psychological risk factors, interpersonal stressors and coping behaviors. Parents also reported on their children’s social relationships and difficulties.
Cyberbullying was associated with mental health and substance use problems in adolescents but family dinners may help protect teens from the consequences of cyberbullying and also be beneficial for their mental health.
About 1 in 5 adolescents has experienced recent online bullying and cyberbullying, like traditional bullying, can increase the risk of mental health problems in teens as well as the misuse of drugs and alcohol. It is important to understand whether cyberbullying contributes uniquely to mental health and substance use problems independent of its overlap with traditional face-to-face bullying. Family dinners are an outlet of support for adolescents.
The authors examined the association between cyberbullying and mental health and substance use problems, as well any moderation of the effects by family contact and communication through family dinners. The study included survey data on 18,834 students (ages 12-18) from 49 schools in a Midwestern state. The authors measured five internalizing problems (anxiety, depression, self-harm, suicide ideation and suicide attempt), two externalizing problems (fighting and vandalism) and four substance use problems (frequent alcohol use, frequent binge drinking, prescription drug misuse and over-the-counter drug misuse).