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This study examined the association between pubertal timing, daily affect, conduct problems, and the exposure to hassles across family, peer, and school contexts. Adolescents (Mage = 12.27; 49.7% female; 62.6% White) completed ecological momentary assessments across 14 consecutive days (N = 388). Earlier maturing girls reported lower daily averages of positive affect compared to their same-sex, same-age peers. We did not find evidence for a relationship between pubertal timing and daily negative affect or conduct problems in girls, nor for daily negative and positive affect or conduct problems in boys. However, pubertal timing did moderate the day-level association between average negative affect and family hassles for both girls and boys. When experiencing more family hassles, earlier maturing girls reported greater negative affect relative to later maturing girls who experienced family hassles. In contrast, later maturing boys, relative to earlier maturing boys, reported higher levels of negative affect in the context of family hassles.
The present study examined patterns of stability and change in loneliness across adolescence. Data were drawn from the Environmental Risk (E-Risk) Longitudinal Twin Study, a UK population-representative cohort of 2,232 individuals born in 1994 and 1995. Loneliness was assessed when participants were aged 12 and 18. Loneliness showed modest stability across these ages (r = .25). Behavioral genetic modeling indicated that stability in loneliness was explained largely by genetic influences (66%), while change was explained by nonshared environmental effects (58%). Individuals who reported loneliness at both ages were broadly similar to individuals who only reported it at age 18, with both groups at elevated risk of mental health problems, physical health risk behaviors, and education and employment difficulties. Individuals who were lonely only at age 12 generally fared better; however, they were still more likely to finish school with lower qualifications. Positive family influences in childhood predicted reduced risk of loneliness at age 12, while negative peer experiences increased the risk. Together, the findings show that while early adolescent loneliness does not appear to exert a cumulative burden when it persists, it is nonetheless a risk for a range of concomitant impairments, some of which can endure.
The aim of this study was to build a detailed, integrative profile of the correlates of young adults’ feelings of loneliness, in terms of their current health and functioning and their childhood experiences and circumstances.
Data were drawn from the Environmental Risk Longitudinal Twin Study, a birth cohort of 2232 individuals born in England and Wales in 1994 and 1995. Loneliness was measured when participants were aged 18. Regression analyses were used to test concurrent associations between loneliness and health and functioning in young adulthood. Longitudinal analyses were conducted to examine childhood factors associated with young adult loneliness.
Lonelier young adults were more likely to experience mental health problems, to engage in physical health risk behaviours, and to use more negative strategies to cope with stress. They were less confident in their employment prospects and were more likely to be out of work. Lonelier young adults were, as children, more likely to have had mental health difficulties and to have experienced bullying and social isolation. Loneliness was evenly distributed across genders and socioeconomic backgrounds.
Young adults’ experience of loneliness co-occurs with a diverse range of problems, with potential implications for health in later life. The findings underscore the importance of early intervention to prevent lonely young adults from being trapped in loneliness as they age.
Adolescent psychotic experiences increase risk for schizophrenia and other severe psychopathology in adulthood. Converging evidence implicates urban and adverse neighborhood conditions in the etiology of adolescent psychotic experiences, but the role of young people's personal perceptions of disorder (i.e., physical and social signs of threat) in their neighborhood is unknown. This was examined using data from the Environmental Risk Longitudinal Twin Study, a nationally representative birth cohort of 2,232 British twins. Participants were interviewed at age 18 about psychotic phenomena and perceptions of disorder in the neighborhood. Multilevel, longitudinal, and genetically sensitive analyses investigated the association between perceptions of neighborhood disorder and adolescent psychotic experiences. Adolescents who perceived higher levels of neighborhood disorder were significantly more likely to have psychotic experiences, even after accounting for objectively/independently measured levels of crime and disorder, neighborhood- and family-level socioeconomic status, family psychiatric history, adolescent substance and mood problems, and childhood psychotic symptoms: odds ratio = 1.62, 95% confidence interval [1.27, 2.05], p < .001. The phenotypic overlap between adolescent psychotic experiences and perceptions of neighborhood disorder was explained by overlapping common environmental influences, rC = .88, 95% confidence interval [0.26, 1.00]. Findings suggest that early psychological interventions to prevent adolescent psychotic experiences should explore the role of young people's (potentially modifiable) perceptions of threatening neighborhood conditions.
Many young adolescents are embedded in neighborhoods, schools, and homes where alcohol and drugs are frequently used. However, little is known about (a) how witnessing others' substance use affects adolescents in their daily lives and (b) which adolescents will be most affected. The current study used ecological momentary assessment with 151 young adolescents (ages 11–15) to examine the daily association between witnessing substance use and antisocial behavior across 38 consecutive days. Results from multilevel logistic regression models indicated that adolescents were more likely to engage in antisocial behavior on days when they witnessed others using substances, an association that held when substance use was witnessed inside the home as well as outside the home (e.g., at school or in their neighborhoods). A significant Gene × Environment interaction suggested that the same-day association between witnessing substance use and antisocial behavior was significantly stronger among adolescents with, versus without, the dopamine receptor D4 seven repeat (DRD4-7R) allele. The implications of the findings for theory and research related to adolescent antisocial behavior are discussed.
This paper presents multilevel findings on adolescents' victimization exposure from a large longitudinal cohort of twins. Data were obtained from the Environmental Risk (E-Risk) Longitudinal Twin Study, an epidemiological study of 2,232 children (1,116 twin pairs) followed to 18 years of age (with 93% retention). To assess adolescent victimization, we combined best practices in survey research on victimization with optimal approaches to measuring life stress and traumatic experiences, and introduce a reliable system for coding severity of victimization. One in three children experienced at least one type of severe victimization during adolescence (crime victimization, peer/sibling victimization, Internet/mobile phone victimization, sexual victimization, family violence, maltreatment, or neglect), and most types of victimization were more prevalent among children from low socioeconomic backgrounds. Exposure to multiple victimization types was common, as was revictimization; over half of those physically maltreated in childhood were also exposed to severe physical violence in adolescence. Biometric twin analyses revealed that environmental factors had the greatest influence on most types of victimization, while severe physical maltreatment from caregivers during adolescence was predominantly influenced by heritable factors. The findings from this study showcase how distinct levels of victimization measurement can be harmonized in large-scale studies of health and development.
We report a graded relationship between neighborhood socioeconomic status (SES) and children's antisocial behavior that (a) can be observed at school entry, (b) widens across childhood, (c) remains after controlling for family-level SES and risk, and (d) is completely mediated by maternal warmth and parental monitoring (defined throughout as supportive parenting). The children were participants in the Environmental Risk Longitudinal Twin Study (N = 2,232), which prospectively tracked the development of children and their neighborhoods across childhood. Direct and independent effects of neighborhood-level SES on children's antisocial behavior were observed as early as age 5, and the gap between children living in deprived versus more affluent neighborhoods widened as children approached adolescence. By age 12, the effect of neighborhood SES on children's antisocial behavior was as large as the effect observed for our most robust predictor of antisocial behavior: sex (Cohen d = 0.51 when comparing children growing up in deprived vs. more affluent neighborhoods in comparison to Cohen d = 0.53 when comparing antisocial behavior among boys vs. girls). However, these relatively large differences in children's levels and rate of change in antisocial behavior across deprived versus more affluent neighborhoods were completely mediated by supportive parenting practices. The implications of our findings for studying and reducing socioeconomic disparities in antisocial behavior among children are discussed.
This article reports on the childhood origins and adult outcomes of female versus male antisocial behavior trajectories in the Dunedin longitudinal study. Four antisocial behavior trajectory groups were identified among females and males using general growth mixture modeling and included life-course persistent (LCP), adolescent-onset, childhood-limited, and low trajectory groups. During childhood, both LCP females and males were characterized by social, familial and neurodevelopmental risk factors, whereas those on the adolescent-onset pathway were not. At age 32, women and men on the LCP pathway were engaging in serious violence and experiencing significant mental health, physical health, and economic problems. Females and males on the adolescent-onset pathway were also experiencing difficulties at age 32, although to a lesser extent. Although more males than females followed the LCP trajectory, findings support similarities across gender with respect to developmental trajectories of antisocial behavior and their associated childhood origins and adult consequences. Implications for theory, research, and practice are discussed.
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