psychology

psychology

psychology

Reaction: Social media use in young people is associated with increased risk behaviour, says review of studies

A review including 126 studies shows an association between the use of social networking sites by 10-19 year olds and increased risk behaviours, including alcohol, tobacco and other drug use, risky sexual behaviour, gambling and antisocial behaviour. According to the authors, who acknowledge that their research does not establish causality, "precautions may need to be taken in academia, government, health and education before the risks of adolescent use of social networking sites are fully understood". The findings are published in The BMJ.

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Reaction: The risks and benefits of screens for children and young people are small, according to a large review of studies

A review of more than 100 meta-analyses and nearly 2500 studies has analysed the use of screens by children and young people and the consequences for their learning and health. Their conclusions are that, in general, the effects are small and vary according to the type of use and context. The results are published in the journal Nature Human Behaviour.

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Reactions: missed visits linked to higher mortality rate, study finds

The absence of visits from friends and family is associated with a higher mortality rate, according to an analysis of data from more than 450,000 people followed for more than a decade in the UK. The study, published in BMC Medicine, focussed on five indicators of loneliness, and concluded that having no visits from family or friends was associated with higher all-cause mortality and cardiovascular disease mortality. According to the authors, this kind of study helps to identify at-risk populations and measures of social connectedness that could provide the most benefit.

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Reactions: traumatic experiences can be passed on to offspring and reversed with drug in mice

Early-life adversity, such as separation from the mother, can alter the neurological functioning of mice, causing some to experience panic and anxiety later in life. A study shows that these changes can be passed on for at least two generations and that inhalation of a drug, the diuretic amiloride, can reverse them. According to the authors, this treatment could be used in the future to alleviate panic disorders and related conditions in humans. The results are published in the journal Science Advances.

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Reactions: Study contradicts idea that suppressing negative thoughts harms mental health

Training people to get rid of unwanted thoughts can improve their mental health, according to a study from the University of Cambridge (UK). The research team stresses that these results "challenge the century-old wisdom" that trying to get rid of negative thoughts can have harmful effects on mental health. The study, published in Science Advances, involved 120 adults - some with major depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder - from 16 countries, who underwent a three-day online training to suppress certain thoughts. After the training, participants reported feeling less anxiety, negative emotions and symptoms of depression.

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Reactions: The five strategies to increase happiness most often reported in the media lack sound scientific basis

A systematic review published in Nature Human Behaviour shows that there is a lack of solid scientific research supporting strategies commonly recommended by the media to increase happiness. The research identifies the five strategies most commonly cited by the press: expressing gratitude, improving sociability, exercising, practising meditation or mindfulness and increasing exposure to nature. According to the study, which analysed the published scientific literature on these practices, their effectiveness in increasing happiness is uncertain, because most of the research lacked sufficient statistical power to detect noticeable benefits or had not been previously recorded - a common practice in psychology today.

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Reactions: 20-year study of the psychological well-being of children born through third-party assisted reproduction

Two decades of research has found no differences in psychological well-being and the quality of family relationships between children born through assisted reproduction with third-party intervention (gamete donation or surrogacy) and those born naturally. The results, published in Developmental Psychology, suggest that it is better to talk to them early, at preschool age, about their biological origins.

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Reaction: Study examines the prevalence of hospital admissions for suicide attempts among transgender and non-binary youths

A study of hospitalised young people in the United States concludes that those with a diagnosis of gender dysphoria are four to five times more likely to be hospitalised for a suicide attempt or to have attempted self-harm. The research is published in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health.

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