Browsing by Subject "Adolescence"

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  • Mäkinen, Viivi; Liebkind, Karmela; Jasinskaja-Lahti, Inga; Renvik (Mähönen), Tuuli Anna (2019)
    Existing prejudice-reduction interventions in schools mainly target majority students and are mostly conducted by researchers, which limits their use for anti-discriminatory practices in culturally mixed schools. We tested a teacher-led intervention aiming at prejudice-reduction among both minority and majority adolescents through vicarious contact. The effects of indirect vicarious contact rest on observed ingroup role models of intergroup contact who have positive attitudes towards the outgroup, and vice versa. However, the specific impact of vicarious contact exerted by outgroup role models in comparison with ingroup role models has never been studied in interventions conducted in naturalistic school settings. To fill these gaps, a field experiment was conducted among secondary school students in Finland (N-majority = 437; N-minority = 146). The experiment consisted of two stages, between which the ethnic status of the role models (majority vs minority) in stories read during the intervention sessions was changed. This was done to explore the impact of the in- and outgroup role models after the first stage, and to test the overall effect of the intervention on out-group attitudes and perceived in- and outgroup norms after participants were presented with both majority and minority storytellers after the second stage. The intervention affected the perceived outgroup norms among the minority participants as they perceived norms prevailing in the majority group to be more positive after the intervention. However, the ethnic status of the role models made no difference for any outcome variable. Ways to implement scientific knowledge into practice by providing research-based tools for multicultural education are discussed.
  • Lajunen, Katariina; Kalliola, Satu; Kotaniemi-Syrjänen, Anne; Sarna, Seppo; Malmberg, L. Pekka; Pelkonen, Anna S.; Mäkelä, Mika J. (2018)
    Background: Asthma often begins early in childhood. However, the risk for persistence is challenging to evaluate. Objective: This longitudinal study relates lung function assessed with impulse oscillometry (IOS) in preschool children to asthma in adolescence. Methods: Lung function was measured with IOS in 255 children with asthma-like symptoms aged 4-7 years. Baseline measurements were followed by exercise challenge and bronchodilation tests. At age 12-16 years, 121 children participated in the follow-up visit, when lung function was assessed with spirometry, followed by a bronchodilation test. Asthma symptoms and medication were recorded by a questionnaire and atopy defined by skin prick tests. Results: Abnormal baseline values in preschool IOS were significantly associated with low lung function, the need for asthma medication, and asthma symptoms in adolescence. Preschool abnormal R5 at baseline (z-score >= 1.645 SD) showed 9.2 odds ratio (95% CI 2.7; 31.7) for abnormal FEV1/FVC, use of asthma medication in adolescence, and 9.9 odds ratio (95% CI 2.9; 34.4) for asthma symptoms. Positive exercise challenge and modified asthma-predictive index at preschool age predicted asthma symptoms and the need for asthma medication, but not abnormal lung function at teenage. Conclusion: Abnormal preschool IOS is associated with asthma and poor lung function in adolescence and might be utilised for identification of asthma persistence. (c) 2018 American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Published by Elsevier Inc.
  • Kinnunen, Jaana M.; Lindfors, Pirjo; Rimpela, Arja; Salmela-Aro, Katariina; Rathmann, Katharina; Perelman, Julian; Federico, Bruno; Richter, Matthias; Kunst, Anton E.; Lorant, Vincent (2016)
    It is well established that poor academic performance is related to smoking, but the association between academic well-being and smoking is less known. We measured academic well-being by school burnout and schoolwork engagement and studied their associations with smoking among 14- to 17-year-old schoolchildren in Belgium, Germany, Finland, Italy, the Netherlands, and Portugal. A classroom survey (2013 SILNE survey, N = 11,015) was conducted using the Short School Burnout Inventory and the Schoolwork Engagement Inventory. Logistic regression, generalized linear mixed models, and ANOVA were used. Low schoolwork engagement and high school burnout increased the odds for daily smoking in all countries. Academic performance was correlated with school burnout and schoolwork engagement, and adjusting for it slightly decreased the odds for smoking. Adjusting for socioeconomic factors and school level had little effect. Although high school burnout and low schoolwork engagement correlate with low academic performance, they are mutually independent risk factors for smoking. (C) 2016 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd on behalf of The Foundation for Professionals in Services for Adolescents.
  • Malanchini, Margherita; Smith-Woolley, Emily; Ayorech, Ziada; Rimfeld, Kaili; Krapohl, Eva; Vuoksimaa, Eero; Korhonen, Tellervo; Bartels, Meike; van Beijsterveldt, Toos C. E. M.; Rose, Richard J.; Lundstrom, Sebastian; Anckarsater, Henrik; Kaprio, Jaakko; Lichtenstein, Paul; Boomsma, Dorret I.; Plomin, Robert (2019)
    Background Maternal smoking during pregnancy (MSDP) has been linked to offspring's externalizing problems. It has been argued that socio-demographic factors (e.g. maternal age and education), co-occurring environmental risk factors, or pleiotropic genetic effects may account for the association between MSDP and later outcomes. This study provides a comprehensive investigation of the association between MSDP and a single harmonized component of externalizing: aggressive behaviour, measured throughout childhood and adolescence. Methods Data came from four prospective twin cohorts - Twins Early Development Study, Netherlands Twin Register, Childhood and Adolescent Twin Study of Sweden, and FinnTwin12 study - who collaborate in the EU-ACTION consortium. Data from 30 708 unrelated individuals were analysed. Based on item level data, a harmonized measure of aggression was created at ages 9-10; 12; 14-15 and 16-18. Results MSDP predicted aggression in childhood and adolescence. A meta-analysis across the four samples found the independent effect of MSDP to be 0.4% (r = 0.066), this remained consistent when analyses were performed separately by sex. All other perinatal factors combined explained 1.1% of the variance in aggression across all ages and samples (r = 0.112). Paternal smoking and aggressive parenting strategies did not account for the MSDP-aggression association, consistent with the hypothesis of a small direct link between MSDP and aggression. Conclusions Perinatal factors, including MSDP, account for a small portion of the variance in aggression in childhood and adolescence. Later experiences may play a greater role in shaping adolescents' aggressive behaviour.
  • Salmela, Liisa; Kuula, Liisa; Merikanto, Ilona; Räikkönen, Katri; Pesonen, Anu-Katriina (2019)
    Objective: Diagnosed autism spectrum disorders have been associated with a high prevalence of sleep problems, other psychiatric disorders and social deficits in adolescence. However, little is known about the possible connection between subclinical autistic traits and sleep. This study explored whether adolescents with elevated levels of subclinical autistic traits are at heightened risk for sleep problems. Methods: This study used data from the community cohort born in 1998. The sample consisted of 157 (57% girls) 17-year-old adolescents. Autistic traits were assessed using the Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ). The Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI), Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), and the Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale were utilized to control for comorbid psychiatric symptoms. Sleep was measured with actigraphy and sleep quality was self-rated using the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI). Associations between autistic traits and sleep were examined using logistic regression analysis. Results: Elevated levels of autistic traits were significantly associated with shorter weekday sleep duration. Moreover, autistic traits remained an independent predictor of short sleep duration when comorbid psychiatric symptoms were controlled for (OR 1.14; 95% CI: 1.03-1.26). Conclusions: The results suggest that subclinical autistic traits should be considered as a possible underlying mechanism affecting adolescent sleep. (c) 2018 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (
  • Kortesoja, Laura; Vainikainen, Mari-Pauliina; Hotulainen, Risto; Rimpelä, Arja; Dobewall, Henrik; Lindfors, Pirjo; Karvonen, Sakari; Merikanto, Ilona (2020)
    The long-term effects of sleep on adolescent psychosocial well-being are mostly unknown, although insufficient sleep has been associated with emotional and behavioral difficulties in cross-sectional studies. With a five-year follow-up of Finnish adolescents (Time 1: n = 8834; Mean age = 13 years, 51.1% female, Time 2: n = 5315, Mean age = 15 years, 51.6% female, Time 3: n = 3712; Mean age = 17 years; 50.2% female), the purpose of this longitudinal study was to investigate the relations between self-reported sleep duration, sleep problems, and emotional and behavioral difficulties during adolescence. Emotional and behavioral difficulties were assessed using The Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) measuring emotional symptoms, conduct problems, hyperactivity, peer problems and total difficulties. Sleep duration was calculated by counting the hours between self-reported bedtime and wake-up time. Sleep problems were assessed with a single question about the general sleep problems. According to the cross-lagged models for sleep and emotional and behavioral difficulties, the findings of this study indicate a developmental process during adolescence where, firstly, short sleep duration is a stronger predictor for current and prospective emotional and behavioral difficulties than vice versa. Secondly, increased emotional and behavioral difficulties expose adolescents to current and later sleep problems more strongly than reverse. Thus, the results show that short sleep duration predisposed to emotional and behavioral difficulties across adolescence, which then led to more prospective sleep problems. These findings suggest a developmental process where sleep and emotional and behavioral difficulties are intertwined in shaping adolescents' health.
  • Rissanen, Anne; Lindberg, Nina; Marttunen, Mauri; Sintonen, Harri; Roine, Risto (2019)
    BackgroundLittle is known about adolescents' perceptions about their health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in the course of routine adolescent psychiatric treatment. The aim of this 1-year follow-up study was to investigate HRQoL and changes in it among youths receiving adolescent psychiatric outpatient treatment.MethodsThe study comprised 158 girls and 82 boys aged 12-14years from 10 psychiatric outpatient clinics in one Finnish hospital district. Same-aged population controls (210 girls and 162 boys) were randomly collected from comprehensive schools. HRQoL was measured using the 16D instrument. The questionnaire was self-administered when the adolescents entered the polyclinics (=baseline), after a treatment period of 6months, and after 12months.ResultsThe mean age of respondents was 13.8years (SD 0.63). At baseline, the mean HRQoL score of both female and male outpatients was significantly lower than that of population controls (p
  • Rissanen, Anne; Lindberg, Nina; Marttunen, Mauri; Sintonen, Harri; Roine, Risto (BioMed Central, 2019)
    Abstract Background Little is known about adolescents’ perceptions about their health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in the course of routine adolescent psychiatric treatment. The aim of this 1-year follow-up study was to investigate HRQoL and changes in it among youths receiving adolescent psychiatric outpatient treatment. Methods The study comprised 158 girls and 82 boys aged 12–14 years from 10 psychiatric outpatient clinics in one Finnish hospital district. Same-aged population controls (210 girls and 162 boys) were randomly collected from comprehensive schools. HRQoL was measured using the 16D instrument. The questionnaire was self-administered when the adolescents entered the polyclinics (= baseline), after a treatment period of 6 months, and after 12 months. Results The mean age of respondents was 13.8 years (SD 0.63). At baseline, the mean HRQoL score of both female and male outpatients was significantly lower than that of population controls (p < 0.001). HRQoL of female patients was significantly worse than that of male patients (p < 0.001). In girls, HRQoL improved continuously during the 12-month follow-up, yet it remained worse than that of female population controls. Among boys, HRQoL was substantially better at the 6-month follow-up than at baseline, but this positive development was no longer seen at the 12-month follow-up. Conclusions From the perspective of HRQoL, girls seem to benefit more than boys from adolescent psychiatric outpatient treatment. Possible explanations for this finding are discussed.
  • Heikkinen, Noora; Kärkkäinen, Olli; Laukkanen, Eila; Kekkonen, Virve; Kaarre, Outi; Kivimäki, Petri; Könönen, Mervi; Velagapudi, Vidya; Nandania, Jatin; Lehto, Soili M.; Niskanen, Eini; Vanninen, Ritva; Tolmunen, Tommi (2019)
    Our aim was to analyze metabolite profile changes in serum associated with moderate-to-heavy consumption of alcohol in young adults and to evaluate whether these changes are connected to reduced brain gray matter volumes. These study population consisted of young adults with a 10-year history of moderate-to-heavy alcohol consumption (n = 35) and light-drinking controls (n = 27). We used the targeted liquid chromatography mass spectrometry method to measure concentrations of metabolites in serum, and 3.0 T magnetic resonance imaging to assess brain gray matter volumes. Alterations in amino acid and energy metabolism were observed in the moderate-to-heavy drinking young adults when compared to the controls. After correction for multiple testing, the group of moderate-to-heavy drinking young adults had increased serum concentrations of 1-methylhistamine (p = 0.001, d = 0.82) when compared to the controls. Furthermore, concentrations of 1-methylhistamine (r = 0.48, p = 0.004) and creatine (r = 0.52, p = 0.001) were negatively correlated with the brain gray matter volumes in the females. Overall, our results show association between moderate-to-heavy use of alcohol and altered metabolite profile in young adults as well as suggesting that some of these changes could be associated with the reduced brain gray matter volume. (C) 2018 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
  • Sumia, Maria; Lindberg, Nina; Tyolajarvi, Marja; Kaltiala-Heino, Riittakerttu (2017)
    We studied current (GIDYQ-A) and recalled (RCGI) childhood gender identity among 719 upper secondary school students 401 girls, mean age 17.0 (SD = 0.88) years old and 318 boys, mean age 17.2 (SD = 0.86 years old in Finland. We also compared these dimensions of identity in community youth to same dimensions among adolescent sex reassignment (SR) applicants. Most community youth scored high on the normative, cis-gender end of gender experience (median score 4.9 for boys and 4.9 for girls) and recalled fairly gender typical childhood behaviours and experiences. The girls displayed more gender non-conformity in childhood. Among the boys 2.2% and among the girls 0.5% displayed potentially clinically significant gender dysphoria on the GIDYQ-A. The community youth differed clearly from adolescent SR applicants on current and recalled childhood gender identity (SR applicants were 47, 6 natal boys and 41 natal girls, average ages were 16.4 years old (SD = 0.93) and girls were on average 16.8 years old (SD = 1.0). (C) 2017 The Foundation for Professionals in Services for Adolescents. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
  • Lindberg, Nina; Oshukova, Svetlana; Miettunen, Jouko; Kaltiala-Heino, Riittakerttu (2016)
    Background: More research is needed to improve our understanding of the manifestation of psychopathic traits in violently offending girls. Our aim here was to assess psychopathic traits and psychopathy-related background variables in a Finnish nationwide consecutive sample of girls charged with violent crimes and referred to a pretrial forensic psychiatric examination. These girls were then compared to their male counterparts. Methods: The forensic psychiatric examination statements of 15-to 17-year-old juveniles who underwent a pretrial forensic psychiatric examination over a 31-year period (1980-2010) were reviewed. For each non-psychotic girl with a normal IQ (n = 25), an age-and offence type-matched male control was randomly selected. Offence and offender characteristics were collected from the forensic psychiatric examination reports, and a file-based assessment of psychopathic traits was performed using the Hare psychopathy checklist-youth version. Results: Approximately every third girl exhibited high traits of psychopathy, and no significant difference was observed between the genders. Focusing on the underlying factor and item scores, the girls scored significantly lower than boys on the Antisocial factor. Their interpersonal relationships were significantly more unstable and they significantly more often exhibited a history of child sexual abuse. During the index offence the girls were significantly less frequently intoxicated, and their victims were significantly more often family members or current or ex-intimates but significantly less often strangers. Conclusions: Although violently offending girls and boys do not differ on psychopathy total scores, significant gender differences exist on underlying factor and item scores as well as in background-and offence-related variables. Interventions should take into account these special features of violent girls.
  • Kuula, Liisa; Partonen, Timo; Pesonen, Anu-Katriina (2020)
    Objective: Early-stage romantic involvement may resemble hypomania in its manifestation on behavioral, physiological, and psychological levels. Previous research suggests that self-reported sleep duration may diminish as a result of falling in love during adolescence. We investigated how feelings of infatuation are related to subjective and objective measures of sleep duration, quality, and timing. Methods: 1374 adolescents (66% girls; mean age: 16.9, SD=0.6 years) selected from the population register responded to online questionnaires regarding romantic love, mental well-being, and sleep behavior. A sub-sample (n=309) underwent a week-long actigraphy measurement (GENEActiv Original). We compared the sleep duration, quality, and timing of those who reported being in the early stages of love to those who were not. Results: 11% of all participants reported being in the early stages of romantic love. Those girls and boys who were in love had higher scores of depression and anxiety than others. Girls who were in love reported poorer sleep quality, later sleep timing, and shorter sleep duration both on weekdays (mean difference: 32 minutes, p Conclusions: We conclude that romantic love is one further cause for short or poor quality sleep in girls and may relate to symptoms of depression and anxiety in both sexes. However, feelings of infatuation contain important developmental lessons. (C) 2020 National Sleep Foundation. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
  • Ämmälä, Antti-Jussi; Urrila, Anna-Sofia; Lahtinen, Aleksandra; Santangeli, Olena; Hakkarainen, Antti; Kantojärvi, Katri; Castaneda, Anu E.; Lundbom, Nina; Marttunen, Mauri; Paunio, Tiina (2019)
    Objectives: This study aimed to test the hypothesis that sleep and depression have independent effects on brain development and plasticity in adolescents, and that these changes are reflected in changes in the epigenome. Methods: Participants were 17 medication-free adolescent boys (age 16.05 +/- 0.80 years, mean +/- standard deviation (SD); eight cases with depression and sleep symptoms, nine healthy controls). Sleep was assessed by polysomnography recordings and the Pediatric Daytime Sleepiness Scale (PDSS) and Athens Insomnia Scale (AIS). Participants underwent a clinical evaluation. DNA methylation of blood leukocytes was measured by Illumina 450K array, and Ingenuity Pathway analysis was applied to identify the most significant pathways with differentially methylated positions (DMPs). Secondary analysis of the identified loci included linear correlations between methylation and the subjectively rated scales of sleep, depression and sleep microarchitecture. Results: Due to small sample size, we found no genome-wide significant differences in methylation between cases and controls. However, pathway analysis identified the synaptic long-term depression (LTD) canonical pathway (p = 0.00045) when the best 500 DMPs from the original case-control design were included. A flattened dissipation of slow wave sleep, tiredness and depression severity values correlated with five of 10 sites from the LTD pathway (IGF1R, PLAG16, PLA2R1, PPP2C5 and ERK12) in the secondary analysis when the case-control status was controlled for. Conclusion: Among adolescents, depressive disorder with sleep symptoms is associated with a distinctive epigenetic pattern of DNA methylation in blood leukocytes. The enrichment of DMPs on genes related to synaptic LTD emphasizes the role of sleep in synaptic plasticity and the widespread physiological consequences of disturbed sleep. (C) 2019 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
  • Kaltiala-Heino, Riittakerttu; Savioja, Hanna; Fröjd, Sari; Marttunen, Mauri (2018)
    Subjection to sexual harassment is associated with a number of negative outcomes, such as internalizing and externalizing symptoms and a disinclination to attend school. Among adolescents, sexual harassment may increase with both their emerging sexual desires and increased socializing in mixed-gender peer groups during early adolescence. We set out to study the possible associations between normative and risk-taking sexual behavior and subjection to sexual harassment among adolescents between the ages of 14 and 18 years. The informants included 90,953 boys and 91,746 girls, with a mean (SD) age of 16.3 (1.2) years, who responded to a classroom survey (School Health Promotion Study 2010-2011) in Finland. We found that even early steps in romantic and erotic experiences were associated with experiences of sexual harassment. The more advanced the adolescents' sexual experiences were, the more commonly they reported differing experiences of sexual harassment. These associations were particularly strong among the girls. Among the sexually active adolescents, the more partners the adolescents had for intercourse, the more commonly they reported experiences of sexual harassment. Adolescents actively interested in romantic and sexual relationships may socialize in contexts where sexual harassment is more likely to occur. They may be more sensitive to sexual cues than their non-interested peers, or sexual harassment may be a traumatic experience predisposing adolescents to risk-taking sexual behavior as a form of acting out. A double standard regarding the appropriate expression of sexuality received some support in our data.
  • Lommi, Sohvi; Figueiredo, Rejane Augusta de Oliveira; Tuorila, Hely; Viljakainen, Heli (2020)
    Convincing evidence suggests that diets laden with added sugar, specifically sugar-sweetened beverages, associate with excess weight in children. The relationships between sugar consumption frequency and BMI remain less well studied. We, therefore, evaluated children's consumption frequency of selected sugary products (n8461; mean age 11 center dot 1 (sd0 center dot 9) years) selected from the Finnish Health in Teens cohort study. Using a sixteen-item FFQ including six sugary products (chocolate/sweets, biscuits/cookies, ice cream, sweet pastry, sugary juice drinks and sugary soft drinks), we calculated a Sweet Treat Index (STI) for the frequency of weekly sugary product consumption and categorised children based on quartiles (Q) into low (Q1, cut-off <4 center dot 0), medium (Q2 + Q3, range 4 center dot 0-10 center dot 5) and high STI (Q4, cut-off > 10 center dot 5), and as thin, normal and overweight/obese based on the measured BMI. Through multinomial logistic regression analyses, we found that subjects with a high STI exhibited a higher risk of being thin (OR 1 center dot 20, 95 % CI 1 center dot 02, 1 center dot 41) and lower risk of being overweight (OR 0 center dot 79, 95 % CI 0 center dot 67, 0 center dot 92), while subjects with a low STI were at higher risk of being overweight (OR 1 center dot 32, 95 % CI 1 center dot 14, 1 center dot 53). High consumption frequencies of salty snacks, pizza and hamburgers most closely were associated with a high STI. Our findings suggest that consuming sugary products at a high frequency does not associate with being overweight. The relationship between a low consumption frequency and being overweight suggests that overweight children's consumption frequency of sugary products may be controlled, restricted or underreported.
  • Kaltiala-Heino, Riittakerttu; Lindberg, Nina (2019)
    Background: Increasing numbers of adolescents are seeking treatment from gender identity services, particularly natal girls. It is known from survey studies some adolescents exaggerate their belonging to minorities, thereby distorting prevalence estimates and findings on related problems. The aim of the present study was to explore the susceptibility of gender identity to mischievous responding, and prevalences of cis-gender, opposite-sex and other/non-binary gender identities as corrected for likely mischievous responding among Finnish adolescents. Method: The School Health Promotion Survey 2017 data was used, comprising data on 135,760 adolescents under 21 years (mean 15.73, ds 1.3 years), 50.6% females and 49.4% males. Sex and perceived gender were elicited and gender identities classified based thereon. Likely mischievous responding was analysed using inappropriate responses to biodata and handicaps. Results: Of the participants, 3.5% had most likely given facetious responses, boys more commonly than girls, and younger adolescents more commonly than older. This particularly concerned reporting of nonbinary gender identity. Corrected prevalence of opposite-sex identification was 0.6% and that of nonbinary identification was 3.3%. In boys, displaying non-binary gender identity increased from early to late adolescence, while among girls, opposite-sex and non-binary identifications decreased in prevalence from younger to older age groups. Conclusion: Prevalence of gender identities contrary to one's natal sex was more common than expected. (c) 2018 Elsevier Masson SAS. All rights reserved.
  • Savilahti, Emma M.; Haravuori, Henna; Rytilä-Manninen, Minna; Lindberg, Nina; Kettunen, Kirsi; Marttunen, Mauri (2018)
    Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) is widely used in assessing adolescents' psychological wellbeing, but occasionally the result diverges from diagnostics. Our aim was to identify factors associated with discrepancies between BDI scores and diagnostic assessment in adolescent psychiatric patients and general population. The study comprised 206 inpatients (13-17 years old) and 203 age and gender matched non -referred adolescents. Study subjects filled self-reports on depression symptoms (BDI-21), alcohol use (AUDIT), defense styles (DSQ-40) and self-image (OSIQ-11), and on background information and adverse life events. Diagnostics was based on K-SADS-PL interview, and/or clinical interview and clinical records when available. We compared subjects who scored in BDI-21 either 0-15 points or 16-63 points firstly among subjects without current unipolar depression (n = 284), secondly among those with unipolar depression (n = 105). High BDI-21 scores in subjects without depression diagnosis (n = 48) were associated with female sex, adverse life events, parents' psychiatric problems, higher comorbidity, higher AUDIT scores, worse self-image and more immature defense styles. Low BDI-21 scores among subjects with depression diagnosis (n = 23) were associated with male sex, more positive self-image and less immature defense style. In conclusion, high BDI-21 scores in the absence of depression may reflect a broad range of challenges in an adolescent's psychological development.
  • Liebkind, Karmela; Mäkinen, Viivi M; Jasinskaja-Lahti, Inga; Renvik (Mähönen), Tuuli Anna; Solheim, Erling (2019)
    Despite the urgent need for promoting positive intergroup relations in schools, research on intergroup relations is not systematically translated into prejudice-reduction interventions. Although prejudice-reduction interventions in schools based on indirect contact have been conducted for decades, they have all been carried out by researchers themselves. In a field experiment in Finland in autumn 2015, we tested for the first time a vicarious contact prejudice-reduction intervention for its effectiveness among adolescents (N = 639) when implemented independently by school teachers instead of researchers. In addition, we tested the extent to which the intervention’s effect depends on initial outgroup attitudes, previous direct outgroup contact experiences, and gender, hypothesizing that the intervention improves outgroup attitudes particularly among adolescents with more negative prior attitudes and less positive prior direct contact, and more among girls than among boys. We found an unanticipated overall deterioration in the outgroup attitudes during intervention in both the experimental and control groups. However, attitudes seemed to deteriorate somewhat less in the experimental than in the control group, and the intervention had a significant positive effect on outgroup attitudes in one experimental subgroup that needed it most: girls who had negative rather than positive outgroup attitudes at the outset. We discuss our results in light of previous research and contextual particularities.
  • Holopainen, Marianne (Helsingin yliopisto, 2019)
    Objective: Mindfulness-based programs are increasingly used with adolescents in school environment. Many preliminary studies have shown that training mindfulness can be helpful for enhancing students’ mental health and psychological well-being. The current evidence base on the effectiveness, however, is still quite narrow and most studies have been limited due to methodological weaknesses. The aim of this study was to investigate how mindfulness training impacts on adolescents’ psychological well-being in secondary school. Methods: The study is a cluster randomized controlled trial, and a part of the Finnish school-based mindfulness research project Healthy Learning Mind (N=3519). Adolescents (age: 12-15 years) either participated in a 9-week mindfulness program, a standardized relaxation program, or followed usual school curriculum. Students’ emotional and behavioural problems, and prosocial behaviour were measured at baseline, post-intervention, and after six-month follow-up, using self- and parent-rated Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ). Linear mixed effects modelling (LMM) was used to compare differences between groups in the change from baseline to post-intervention and follow-up in the SDQ-scales. Results: There weren’t any statistically significant differences in change in any SDQ -outcome variables between the three groups at post-intervention or follow-up. However, during mindfulness program, students’ self-rated emotional symptoms and hyperactivity problems decreased and prosocial behaviour increased. Findings in the parent-rated results paralleled these results, and students’ conduct and emotional problems and hyperactivity were significantly decreased. Conclusions: Despite positive changes in the psychological well-being of the adolescents in the mindfulness group, no differences between the groups were found. Further research is still required to identify psychological well-being benefits of mindfulness training in school environment, using multiple measurement methods and longitudinal designs.