Open AccessEditorial
Advances in Animal Cognition
Behav. Sci. 2016, 6(4), 27; doi:10.3390/bs6040027 -
Abstract
This editorial endorses a diverse approach to the study of animal cognition and emphasizes the theoretical and applied gains that can be made by embracing this approach. This diversity emerges from cross-talk among scientists trained in a variety of backgrounds and theoretical approaches,
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This editorial endorses a diverse approach to the study of animal cognition and emphasizes the theoretical and applied gains that can be made by embracing this approach. This diversity emerges from cross-talk among scientists trained in a variety of backgrounds and theoretical approaches, who study a variety of topics with a range of species. By shifting from an anthropocentric focus on humans and our closest living relatives, and the historic reliance on the lab rat or pigeon, modern students of animal cognition have uncovered many fascinating facets of cognition in species ranging from insects to carnivores. Diversity in both topic and species of study will allow researchers to better understand the complex evolutionary forces giving rise to widely shared and unique cognitive processes. Furthermore, this increased understanding will translate into more effective strategies for managing wild and captive populations of nonhuman species. Full article
Open AccessCorrection
Bramlett-Parker, J.; Washburn, D.A. Can Rhesus Monkey Learn Executive Attention? Behav. Sci. 2016, 6, 11
Behav. Sci. 2016, 6(4), 26; doi:10.3390/bs6040026 (registering DOI) -
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Dynamic Duos? Jamaican Fruit Bats (Artibeus jamaicensis) Do Not Show Prosocial Behavior in a Release Paradigm
Behav. Sci. 2016, 6(4), 25; doi:10.3390/bs6040025 -
Abstract
Once thought to be uniquely human, prosocial behavior has been observed in a number of species, including vampire bats that engage in costly food-sharing. Another social chiropteran, Jamaican fruit bats (Artibeus jamaicensis), have been observed to engage in cooperative mate guarding,
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Once thought to be uniquely human, prosocial behavior has been observed in a number of species, including vampire bats that engage in costly food-sharing. Another social chiropteran, Jamaican fruit bats (Artibeus jamaicensis), have been observed to engage in cooperative mate guarding, and thus might be expected to display prosocial behavior as well. However, frugivory and hematophagy diets may impose different selection pressures on prosocial preferences, given that prosocial preferences may depend upon cognitive abilities selected by different ecological constraints. Thus, we assessed whether Jamaican fruit bats would assist a conspecific in an escape paradigm in which a donor could opt to release a recipient from an enclosure. The test apparatus contained two compartments—one of which was equipped with a sensor that, once triggered, released the trap door of the adjacent compartment. Sixty-six exhaustive pairs of 12 bats were tested, with each bat in each role, twice when the recipient was present and twice when absent. Bats decreased their behavior of releasing the trapdoor in both conditions over time, decreasing the behavior slightly more rapidly in the recipient absent condition. Bats did not release the door more often when recipients were present, regardless of the recipient; thus, there was no clear evidence of prosocial behavior. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
“We Dance and Find Each Other”1: Effects of Dance/Movement Therapy on Negative Symptoms in Autism Spectrum Disorder
Behav. Sci. 2016, 6(4), 24; doi:10.3390/bs6040024 -
Abstract
The treatment of deficits in social interaction, a shared symptom cluster in persons with schizophrenia (negative symptoms) and autism spectrum disorder (DSM-5 A-criterion), has so far remained widely unsuccessful in common approaches of psychotherapy. The alternative approach of embodiment brings to focus body-oriented
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The treatment of deficits in social interaction, a shared symptom cluster in persons with schizophrenia (negative symptoms) and autism spectrum disorder (DSM-5 A-criterion), has so far remained widely unsuccessful in common approaches of psychotherapy. The alternative approach of embodiment brings to focus body-oriented intervention methods based on a theoretic framework that explains the disorders on a more basic level than common theory of mind approaches. The randomized controlled trial at hand investigated the effects of a 10-week manualized dance and movement therapy intervention on negative symptoms in participants with autism spectrum disorder. Although the observed effects failed to reach significance at the conventional 0.05 threshold, possibly due to an undersized sample, an encouraging trend towards stronger symptom reduction in the treatment group for overall negative symptoms and for almost all subtypes was found at the 0.10-level. Effect sizes were small but clinically meaningful, and the resulting patterns were in accordance with theoretical expectations. The study at hand contributes to finding an effective treatment approach for autism spectrum disorder in accordance with the notion of embodiment. Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Supportive Relationships in Autism Spectrum Disorder: Perspectives of Individuals with ASD and Supporters
Behav. Sci. 2016, 6(4), 23; doi:10.3390/bs6040023 -
Abstract
This study explored 17 dyads of academically successful people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and individuals who they identified as supportive. Qualitative methods, including in-depth interviews, participant observations, and document analysis, were used to study these supportive relationships. The purpose of the study
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This study explored 17 dyads of academically successful people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and individuals who they identified as supportive. Qualitative methods, including in-depth interviews, participant observations, and document analysis, were used to study these supportive relationships. The purpose of the study was to develop a substantive grounded theory regarding supportive relationships within the lives of individuals with ASD. A dynamic model of supportive relationships emerged, with trust, unity, and support as the three core categories of these relationships. The data suggest that the quality of the relationship between an individual with ASD and the support provider can be a critical factor within effective support. These findings suggest that there is much yet to be learned about the social world of individuals with ASD. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Learned Use of Picture Cues by Bumblebees (Bombus impatiens) in a Delayed Matching Task
Behav. Sci. 2016, 6(4), 22; doi:10.3390/bs6040022 -
Abstract
Picture-object correspondence provides an alternate method of investigating delayed matching by providing a cue (picture) which may be spontaneously perceived as similar but different from a corresponding target. Memory for, and corresponding choice of, a target corresponding to a cue could be facilitated
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Picture-object correspondence provides an alternate method of investigating delayed matching by providing a cue (picture) which may be spontaneously perceived as similar but different from a corresponding target. Memory for, and corresponding choice of, a target corresponding to a cue could be facilitated by the use of a picture. Bumblebees have been found to both easily differentiate images from corresponding objects but also spontaneously perceive a similarity between the two. Herein, an approach was designed to test the possible use of picture cues to signal reward in a delayed matching task. Target choice preference corresponding to picture cues was tested among three bumblebee (Bombus impatiens) colonies using photograph cues (presented prior to target stimuli) corresponding to one of four target stimuli. Photograph cues were the only predictor of corresponding target reward, presented in stable locations. Rewarded and unrewarded tests show a choice preference significantly higher than chance for targets matching the cue. Results suggest that bumblebees can learn to use picture cues in a delayed matching task. Furthermore, experience, conditions of reward inconsistency and location, are discussed as possible contributing factors to learning in a delayed matching task. Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Black–White Disparities in Criminal Justice Referrals to Drug Treatment: Addressing Treatment Need or Expanding the Diagnostic Net?
Behav. Sci. 2016, 6(4), 21; doi:10.3390/bs6040021 -
Abstract
Slightly more than half of admissions to U.S. publicly-funded treatment for marijuana use are referred by the criminal justice system; this pattern has remained for at least 20 years. Nationally, Blacks comprise nearly a third of treatment admissions for marijuana use. This article
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Slightly more than half of admissions to U.S. publicly-funded treatment for marijuana use are referred by the criminal justice system; this pattern has remained for at least 20 years. Nationally, Blacks comprise nearly a third of treatment admissions for marijuana use. This article explores the interplay between race and criminal justice referrals to treatment for marijuana use. Using data from the (U.S.) 2011 Treatment Episode Data Set, we examine the relationship between race and diagnosis of cannabis use disorder (dependence versus abuse) among referrals to community-based treatment in North Carolina. We compare Black/White differences in cannabis diagnoses across four referral sources: the criminal justice system, healthcare providers, self, and other sources. Race was significantly related to type of diagnosis across all four referral sources, however, the nature of the relationship was distinctly different among criminal justice referrals with Whites being more likely than Blacks to be diagnosed with cannabis dependence. Moreover, the marijuana use profiles of criminal justice referrals differed substantially from individuals referred by other sources. The findings suggest that diagnoses of cannabis abuse (rather than dependence) may have worked to widen the diagnostic net by “capturing” individuals under control of the criminal justice system who manifested few problems with marijuana use, other than their involvement in the criminal justice system. The potential for a net-widening effect appeared to be most pronounced for Blacks. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Long-Term Engagement in Formal Volunteering and Well-Being: An Exploratory Indian Study
Behav. Sci. 2016, 6(4), 20; doi:10.3390/bs6040020 -
Abstract
Sustained engagement in volunteering and its correlates have been examined in many studies across the globe. However, there is a dearth of research that explores the perspectives of long-term formal volunteers on the nature of changes perceived in oneself as a result of
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Sustained engagement in volunteering and its correlates have been examined in many studies across the globe. However, there is a dearth of research that explores the perspectives of long-term formal volunteers on the nature of changes perceived in oneself as a result of volunteering. Moreover, the linkages between psychological well-being and volunteering have been insufficiently explored. The present study was aimed at addressing these gaps. A heterogeneous sample of 20 long-term formal volunteer engaged in volunteering across different voluntary organisations in a southern metropolitan Indian city formed the primary sample for the study. In addition, a group of 21 short-term volunteers, matched on age, income and gender, was utilised for comparison with long-term volunteers on well-being indices. A semi structured interview schedule was used to explore self-perceived changes attributable to volunteering experience. In addition, a few standardised measures were used to comprehensively assess subjective well-being and psychological well-being. The interview data provided rich descriptions of perceived positive changes in self across cognitive, behavioral and emotional domains. Mirroring these patterns, the quantitative analyses indicated that long-term volunteers experienced higher levels of psychological well-being (sense of mastery and competence, self-acceptance and sense of engagement and growth) than short-term volunteers. The potential mechanisms involved in beneficial outcomes of long-term volunteering and implications for further research are highlighted. Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
The Effect of Computerized Testing on Sun Bear Behavior and Enrichment Preferences
Behav. Sci. 2016, 6(4), 19; doi:10.3390/bs6040019 -
Abstract
The field of comparative cognition investigates species’ differences and similarities in cognitive abilities, and sheds light on the evolutionary origins of such capacities. Cognitive testing has been carried out in a variety of species; however, there are some taxa that are underrepresented in
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The field of comparative cognition investigates species’ differences and similarities in cognitive abilities, and sheds light on the evolutionary origins of such capacities. Cognitive testing has been carried out in a variety of species; however, there are some taxa that are underrepresented in this field. The current work follows on a recent increase in cognitive research in the order Carnivora with a specific focus on sun bears. Sun bears are the smallest existing bear species and live in tropical regions of Southeast Asia. They have an omnivorous diet and use their tongues to forage for insects and sap. Little is known about sun bear cognition, although much like other bear species, anecdotes suggest a high level of intelligence. The current work explored training sun bears to use a touchscreen computer. This effort allows for insight into cognitive abilities as well as providing a complex source of enrichment for the bears. The bears use their tongues to respond to a touchscreen computer, and the effects on stereotypic behaviors on exhibit and preference for this over other forms of enrichment were examined. Overall, bears performed well on the task and showed a preference for the computer. Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperReview
The Classification of Substance Use Disorders: Historical, Contextual, and Conceptual Considerations
Behav. Sci. 2016, 6(3), 18; doi:10.3390/bs6030018 -
Abstract
This article provides an overview of the history of substance use and misuse and chronicles the long shared history humans have had with psychoactive substances, including alcohol. The practical and personal functions of substances and the prevailing views of society towards substance users
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This article provides an overview of the history of substance use and misuse and chronicles the long shared history humans have had with psychoactive substances, including alcohol. The practical and personal functions of substances and the prevailing views of society towards substance users are described for selected historical periods and within certain cultural contexts. This article portrays how the changing historical and cultural milieu influences the prevailing medical, moral, and legal conceptualizations of substance use as reflected both in popular opinion and the consensus of the scientific community and represented by the American Psychiatric Association’s (APA) Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). Finally, this article discusses the efforts to classify substance use disorders (SUDs) and associated psychopathology in the APA compendium. Controversies both lingering and resolved in the field are discussed, and implications for the future of SUD diagnoses are identified. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Is Internet Pornography Causing Sexual Dysfunctions? A Review with Clinical Reports
Behav. Sci. 2016, 6(3), 17; doi:10.3390/bs6030017 -
Abstract
Traditional factors that once explained men’s sexual difficulties appear insufficient to account for the sharp rise in erectile dysfunction, delayed ejaculation, decreased sexual satisfaction, and diminished libido during partnered sex in men under 40. This review (1) considers data from multiple domains, e.g.,
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Traditional factors that once explained men’s sexual difficulties appear insufficient to account for the sharp rise in erectile dysfunction, delayed ejaculation, decreased sexual satisfaction, and diminished libido during partnered sex in men under 40. This review (1) considers data from multiple domains, e.g., clinical, biological (addiction/urology), psychological (sexual conditioning), sociological; and (2) presents a series of clinical reports, all with the aim of proposing a possible direction for future research of this phenomenon. Alterations to the brain's motivational system are explored as a possible etiology underlying pornography-related sexual dysfunctions. This review also considers evidence that Internet pornography’s unique properties (limitless novelty, potential for easy escalation to more extreme material, video format, etc.) may be potent enough to condition sexual arousal to aspects of Internet pornography use that do not readily transition to real-life partners, such that sex with desired partners may not register as meeting expectations and arousal declines. Clinical reports suggest that terminating Internet pornography use is sometimes sufficient to reverse negative effects, underscoring the need for extensive investigation using methodologies that have subjects remove the variable of Internet pornography use. In the interim, a simple diagnostic protocol for assessing patients with porn-induced sexual dysfunction is put forth. Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Testing the Glucose Hypothesis among Capuchin Monkeys: Does Glucose Boost Self-Control?
Behav. Sci. 2016, 6(3), 16; doi:10.3390/bs6030016 -
Abstract
The ego-depletion hypothesis states that self-control diminishes over time and with exertion. Accordingly, the glucose hypothesis attributes this depletion of self-control resources to decreases in blood glucose levels. Research has led to mixed findings among humans and nonhuman animals, with limited evidence for
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The ego-depletion hypothesis states that self-control diminishes over time and with exertion. Accordingly, the glucose hypothesis attributes this depletion of self-control resources to decreases in blood glucose levels. Research has led to mixed findings among humans and nonhuman animals, with limited evidence for such a link between glucose and self-control among closely-related nonhuman primate species, but some evidence from more distantly related species (e.g., honeybees and dogs). We tested this hypothesis in capuchin monkeys by manipulating the sugar content of a calorie-matched breakfast meal following a nocturnal fast, and then presenting each monkey with the accumulation self-control task. Monkeys were presented with food items one-by-one until the subject retrieved and ate the accumulating items, which required continual inhibition of food retrieval in the face of an increasingly desirable reward. Results indicated no relationship between self-control performance on the accumulation task and glucose ingestion levels following a fast. These results do not provide support for the glucose hypothesis of self-control among capuchin monkeys within the presented paradigm. Further research assessing self-control and its physiological correlates among closely- and distantly-related species is warranted to shed light on the mechanisms underlying self-control behavior. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Reasoning about “Capability”: Wild Robins Respond to Limb Visibility in Humans
Behav. Sci. 2016, 6(3), 15; doi:10.3390/bs6030015 -
Abstract
Little comparative work has focused on what nonhumans understand about what physical acts others are capable of performing, and none has yet done so in the wild, or within a competitive framework. This study shows that North Island robins visually attend to human
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Little comparative work has focused on what nonhumans understand about what physical acts others are capable of performing, and none has yet done so in the wild, or within a competitive framework. This study shows that North Island robins visually attend to human limbs in the context of determining who to steal food from. We presented 24 wild North Island Robins (Petroica longipes) with two experimenters. Robins could choose to steal a mealworm from one of two experimenters: one whose limbs were exposed and one who underwent a range of visual obstructions in two experiments. In most conditions, robins preferred to steal food located near the experimenter whose limbs were obscured by a cloth or board rather than food located near the experimenter whose limbs were not obscured. The robins’ responses indicate that human limb visibility is associated with reduced access to food. Current findings lay the groundwork for a closer look at the potential general use of causal reasoning in an inter-specific context of using limbs to perform physical acts, specifically within the context of pilfering. This study presents one of the first tests of the role of visual attendance of potential limb availability in a competitive context, and could provide an alternative hypothesis for how other species have passed tests designed to examine what individuals understand about the physical acts others are capable of performing. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperReview
Historical Underpinnings of Bipolar Disorder Diagnostic Criteria
Behav. Sci. 2016, 6(3), 14; doi:10.3390/bs6030014 -
Abstract
Mood is the changing expression of emotion and can be described as a spectrum. The outermost ends of this spectrum highlight two states, the lowest low, melancholia, and the highest high, mania. These mood extremes have been documented repeatedly in human history, being
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Mood is the changing expression of emotion and can be described as a spectrum. The outermost ends of this spectrum highlight two states, the lowest low, melancholia, and the highest high, mania. These mood extremes have been documented repeatedly in human history, being first systematically described by Hippocrates. Nineteenth century contemporaries Falret and Baillarger described two forms of an extreme mood disorder, with the validity and accuracy of both debated. Regardless, the concept of a cycling mood disease was accepted before the end of the 19th century. Kraepelin then described “manic depressive insanity” and presented his description of a full spectrum of mood dysfunction which could be exhibited through single episodes of mania or depression or a complement of many episodes of each. It was this concept which was incorporated into the first DSM and carried out until DSM-III, in which the description of episodic mood dysfunction was used to build a diagnosis of bipolar disorder. Criticism of this approach is explored through discussion of the bipolar spectrum concept and some recent examinations of the clinical validity of these DSM diagnoses are presented. The concept of bipolar disorder in children is also explored. Full article
Open AccessReview
What’s Special about Human Imitation? A Comparison with Enculturated Apes
Behav. Sci. 2016, 6(3), 13; doi:10.3390/bs6030013 -
Abstract
What, if anything, is special about human imitation? An evaluation of enculturated apes’ imitation skills, a “best case scenario” of non-human apes’ imitation performance, reveals important similarities and differences between this special population of apes and human children. Candidates for shared imitation mechanisms
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What, if anything, is special about human imitation? An evaluation of enculturated apes’ imitation skills, a “best case scenario” of non-human apes’ imitation performance, reveals important similarities and differences between this special population of apes and human children. Candidates for shared imitation mechanisms include the ability to imitate various familiar transitive responses and object–object actions that involve familiar tools. Candidates for uniquely derived imitation mechanisms include: imitating novel transitive actions and novel tool-using responses as well as imitating opaque or intransitive gestures, regardless of familiarity. While the evidence demonstrates that enculturated apes outperform non-enculturated apes and perform more like human children, all apes, regardless of rearing history, generally excel at imitating familiar, over-rehearsed responses and are poor, relative to human children, at imitating novel, opaque or intransitive responses. Given the similarities between the sensory and motor systems of preschool age human children and non-human apes, it is unlikely that differences in sensory input and/or motor-output alone explain the observed discontinuities in imitation performance. The special rearing history of enculturated apes—including imitation-specific training—further diminishes arguments suggesting that differences are experience-dependent. Here, it is argued that such differences are best explained by distinct, specialized mechanisms that have evolved for copying rules and responses in particular content domains. Uniquely derived social and imitation learning mechanisms may represent adaptations for learning novel communicative gestures and complex tool-use. Given our species’ dependence on both language and tools, mechanisms that accelerated learning in these domains are likely to have faced intense selective pressures, starting with the earliest of human ancestors. Full article
Open AccessReview
Categorization: The View from Animal Cognition
Behav. Sci. 2016, 6(2), 12; doi:10.3390/bs6020012 -
Abstract
Exemplar, prototype, and rule theory have organized much of the enormous literature on categorization. From this theoretical foundation have arisen the two primary debates in the literature—the prototype-exemplar debate and the single system-multiple systems debate. We review these theories and debates. Then, we
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Exemplar, prototype, and rule theory have organized much of the enormous literature on categorization. From this theoretical foundation have arisen the two primary debates in the literature—the prototype-exemplar debate and the single system-multiple systems debate. We review these theories and debates. Then, we examine the contribution that animal-cognition studies have made to them. Animals have been crucial behavioral ambassadors to the literature on categorization. They reveal the roots of human categorization, the basic assumptions of vertebrates entering category tasks, the surprising weakness of exemplar memory as a category-learning strategy. They show that a unitary exemplar theory of categorization is insufficient to explain human and animal categorization. They show that a multiple-systems theoretical account—encompassing exemplars, prototypes, and rules—will be required for a complete explanation. They show the value of a fitness perspective in understanding categorization, and the value of giving categorization an evolutionary depth and phylogenetic breadth. They raise important questions about the internal similarity structure of natural kinds and categories. They demonstrate strong continuities with humans in categorization, but discontinuities, too. Categorization’s great debates are resolving themselves, and to these resolutions animals have made crucial contributions. Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Can Rhesus Monkeys Learn Executive Attention?
Behav. Sci. 2016, 6(2), 11; doi:10.3390/bs6020011 -
Abstract
A growing body of data indicates that, compared to humans, rhesus monkeys perform poorly on tasks that assess executive attention, or voluntary control over selection for processing, particularly under circumstances in which attention is attracted elsewhere by competing stimulus control. In the human-cognition
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A growing body of data indicates that, compared to humans, rhesus monkeys perform poorly on tasks that assess executive attention, or voluntary control over selection for processing, particularly under circumstances in which attention is attracted elsewhere by competing stimulus control. In the human-cognition literature, there are hotly active debates about whether various competencies such as executive attention, working memory capacity, and fluid intelligence can be improved through training. In the current study, rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta) completed an attention-training intervention including several inhibitory-control tasks (a Simon task, numerical Stroop task, global/local interference task, and a continuous performance task) to determine whether generalized improvements would be observed on a version of the Attention Network Test (ANT) of controlled attention, which was administered before and after the training intervention. Although the animals demonstrated inhibition of prepotent responses and improved in executive attention with practice, this improvement did not generalize to the ANT at levels consistently better than were observed for control animals. Although these findings fail to encourage the possibility that species differences in cognitive competencies can be ameliorated through training, they do advance our understanding of the competition between stimulus-control and cognitive-control in performance by nonhuman and human primates. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Using Free Internet Videogames in Upper Extremity Motor Training for Children with Cerebral Palsy
Behav. Sci. 2016, 6(2), 10; doi:10.3390/bs6020010 -
Abstract
Movement therapy is one type of upper extremity intervention for children with cerebral palsy (CP) to improve function. It requires high-intensity, repetitive and task-specific training. Tedium and lack of motivation are substantial barriers to completing the training. An approach to overcome these barriers
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Movement therapy is one type of upper extremity intervention for children with cerebral palsy (CP) to improve function. It requires high-intensity, repetitive and task-specific training. Tedium and lack of motivation are substantial barriers to completing the training. An approach to overcome these barriers is to couple the movement therapy with videogames. This investigation: (1) tested the feasibility of delivering a free Internet videogame upper extremity motor intervention to four children with CP (aged 8–17 years) with mild to moderate limitations to upper limb function; and (2) determined the level of intrinsic motivation during the intervention. The intervention used free Internet videogames in conjunction with the Microsoft Kinect motion sensor and the Flexible Action and Articulated Skeleton Toolkit software (FAAST) software. Results indicated that the intervention could be successfully delivered in the laboratory and the home, and pre- and post- impairment, function and performance assessments were possible. Results also indicated a high level of motivation among the participants. It was concluded that the use of inexpensive hardware and software in conjunction with free Internet videogames has the potential to be very motivating in helping to improve the upper extremity abilities of children with CP. Future work should include results from additional participants and from a control group in a randomized controlled trial to establish efficacy. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Young Love: Romantic Concerns and Associated Mental Health Issues among Adolescent Help-Seekers
Behav. Sci. 2016, 6(2), 9; doi:10.3390/bs6020009 -
Abstract
Over 50% of young people have dated by age 15. While romantic relationship concerns are a major reason for adolescent help-seeking from counselling services, we have a limited understanding of what types of relationship issues are most strongly related to mental health issues
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Over 50% of young people have dated by age 15. While romantic relationship concerns are a major reason for adolescent help-seeking from counselling services, we have a limited understanding of what types of relationship issues are most strongly related to mental health issues and suicide risk. This paper used records of 4019 counselling sessions with adolescents (10–18 years) seeking help from a national youth counselling service for a romantic relationship concern to: (i) explore what types and stage (pre, during, post) of romantic concerns adolescents seek help for; (ii) how they are associated with mental health problems, self-harm and suicide risk; and (iii) whether these associations differ by age and gender. In line with developmental-contextual theory, results suggest that concerns about the initiation of relationships are common in early adolescence, while concerns about maintaining and repairing relationships increase with age. Relationship breakups were the most common concern for both male and female adolescents and for all age groups (early, mid, late adolescence). Data relating to a range of mental health issues were available for approximately half of the sample. Post-relationship concerns (including breakups) were also more likely than pre- or during-relationship concerns to be associated with concurrent mental health issues (36.8%), self-harm (22.6%) and suicide (9.9%). Results draw on a staged developmental theory of adolescent romantic relationships to provide a comprehensive assessment of relationship stressors, highlighting post-relationship as a particularly vulnerable time for all stages of adolescence. These findings contribute to the development of targeted intervention and support programs. Full article
Open AccessReview
Sexuality (and Lack Thereof) in Adolescence and Early Adulthood: A Review of the Literature
Behav. Sci. 2016, 6(1), 8; doi:10.3390/bs6010008 -
Abstract
Youth sexuality has been primarily studied with a focus on its potential public health issues, such as sexually transmitted infections and unwanted pregnancies, and its comorbidity with other risky behaviors. More recently, it has been studied as a normative step in romantic partnerships,
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Youth sexuality has been primarily studied with a focus on its potential public health issues, such as sexually transmitted infections and unwanted pregnancies, and its comorbidity with other risky behaviors. More recently, it has been studied as a normative step in romantic partnerships, either pre- or post-marital, as well as outside the context of romantic involvement. In this paper, we review the extensive literature on sexuality in adolescence and early adulthood both within and outside romantic relationships (i.e., casual sexual relationships and experiences; CSREs). Furthermore, the recent recognition of youth sexuality as a developmental task has led to a renewed interest from scholars in youth who abstain from sexual encounters, whether deliberately or not. A brief overview of the literature on cultural differences in sexuality, and sexual-minority youth sexual development is also provided. This paper concludes by suggesting future directions to bring the field of youth sexuality and romantic relationships forward. Full article