Adolescent Health and Risk Communication

The Adolescent Health and Risk Communication Institute was established as part of the Annenberg Public Policy Center in January 2002 with a grant from the Annenberg Foundation. Originally called the Adolescent Risk Communication Institute, the program’s name was changed in 2015 to denote the inclusion of health as well as risk variables. The Institute’s mission is to promote healthy youth development by educating the public, scholarly community and policy-makers about the latest scientific advances in reducing risks to adolescent health. It does so by convening conferences of experts, conducting national surveys and performing externally funded research. The findings of these projects are communicated to both scholars and the public through books, scientific reports and on the Internet.

Brain Development and Risk Taking During Adolescence: Implications for Prevention of Anti-social Behavior

Although early conclusions regarding adolescent brain development tended to over-generalize, it is nevertheless the case that the onset of many mental health disorders occurs during adolescence, including depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia (Romer and Walker, 2007). Substance use and other antisocial behaviors, including engagement in criminally violent behavior, also emerge during this life stage. This is not surprising because adolescence is a transitional period during which multiple maturational changes are accompanied by increasing societal expectations that encourage greater independence.
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The Protective Effects of Parental Monitoring and Internet Restriction on Adolescents’ Risk of Online Harassment

With many adolescents using the internet to communicate with their peers, online harassment is on the rise among youth. The purpose of this study was to understand how parental monitoring and strategies parents use to regulate children’s internet use (i.e., internet restriction) can help reduce online harassment among adolescents.
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    Parents Become Less Sensitive to Violence and Sex in Movies: Study

    Parents can become desensitized to violence and sex in movies after watching only a few scenes with disturbing content, according to a new study published in Pediatrics that was conducted by researchers at the Annenberg Public Policy Center. The study comes as scenes of sex and violence become more prevalent in movies aimed at youth. A 2013 study in Pediatrics from APPC researchers showed that the amount of violence in PG-13 movies tripled in the most popular movies since 1985.
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    Experimentation vs. Progression in Adolescent Drug Use

    Abstract: Based on an emerging neuroscience model of addiction, this study examines how an imbalance between two neurobehavioral systems (reward motivation and executive control) can distinguish between early adolescent progressive drug use and mere experimentation with drugs. Data from four annual assessments of a community cohort (N = 382) of 11- to 13-year-olds were analyzed
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