Behav. Sci.2016, 6(2), 9; doi:10.3390/bs6020009 - published 6 May 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
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 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.
Behav. Sci.2016, 6(1), 8; doi:10.3390/bs6010008 - published 17 March 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
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, 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.
Behav. Sci.2016, 6(1), 7; doi:10.3390/bs6010007 - published 29 January 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Our systematic review identified 21 quantitative articles and eight qualitative articles addressing dating violence among high risk young women. The groups of high-risk young women in this review include street-involved, justice-involved, pregnant or parenting, involved with Child Protective Services, and youth diagnosed with a mental health issue. Our meta-analysis of the quantitative articles indicated that 34% (CI = 0.24–0.45) of high-risk young women report that they have been victims of physical dating violence and 45% (CI = 0.31–0.61) of these young women report perpetrating physical dating violence. Significant moderator variables included questionnaire and timeframe. Meta-synthesis of the qualitative studies revealed that high-risk young women report perpetrating dating violence to gain power and respect, whereas women report becoming victims of dating violence due to increased vulnerability.
Behav. Sci.2016, 6(1), 5; doi:10.3390/bs6010005 - published 18 January 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: This article traces the history of classification systems for mental illness and then reviews the history of the American diagnostic system for mental disorders. The steps leading up to each publication of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) are described including leaders, timelines, pre-publication meetings, and field trials. Important changes in the purpose of the manuals are described with a focus on events leading to the manual’s third edition (DSM-III), which represented a paradigm shift in how we think about, and use, the classification system for mental illness. For the first time, DSM-III emphasized empirically-based, atheoretical and agnostic diagnostic criteria. New criticisms of the DSM-III and subsequent editions have arisen with a call for a new paradigm shift to replace diagnostic categories with continuous dimensional systems of classification, returning to etiologically-based definitions and incorporating findings from neurobiological science into systems of diagnosis. In the foreseeable future, however, psychiatric diagnosis must continue to be accomplished by taking a history and assessing the currently established criteria. This is necessary for communication about diseases and education of clinicians and scientists in medical fields, as well as advancement of research needed to further advance the diagnostic criteria of psychiatry.
Behav. Sci.2016, 6(1), 4; doi:10.3390/bs6010004 - published 18 January 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Many scholars have called for an increased focus on positive aspects of sexual health and sexuality. Using a longitudinal design with two assessments, we investigated patterns of entitlement to sexual partner pleasure and self-efficacy to achieve sexual pleasure among 295 young men and women aged 17–25 years attending one Australian university. We also tested whether entitlement and efficacy differed by gender, and hypothesized that entitlement and efficacy would be higher in older participants and those with more sexual experience. A sense of entitlement to sexual partner pleasure increased significantly over the year of the study, whereas, on average, there was no change in self-efficacy over time. At Time 1 (T1), young women reported more entitlement than young men. Age was positively associated with T1 entitlement, and experience with a wider range of partnered sexual behaviors was concurrently associated with more entitlement and efficacy and was also associated with increased entitlement to partner pleasure and increased self-efficacy in achieving sexual pleasure at T2 relative to T1. A group with the least amount of sexual experience was particularly low in entitlement and efficacy when compared to groups with a history of coital experience. There was no evidence that any association differed between young men and young women. Limitations of the study include a sample of predominantly middle class, Caucasian students at one university and the possibility that students more interested in sex and relationships, and with more sexual experience, chose to participate.