Open Access in JAH
Explaining Physical Health Disparities and Inequalities Over the First Half of the Life Course: An Integrative Review of Add Health StudiesThis integrative review of research utilizing the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health draws on previous research detailing pathways linking early socioeconomic adversity in childhood and adolescence (Wave 1 in 1995 and prior) to physical health outcomes in young adulthood (Wave 5 in 2015). Health outcomes considered included specific diseases, disease risk, and morbidity as prospectively measured by parent-reported and self-reported health outcomes as well as clinical biomarkers.
Union and Family Formation During Young Adulthood: Insights From the Add HealthFamily formation patterns among US young adults are shifting, reflecting an accelerating retreat from marriage coupled with significant increases in cohabitation and nonmarital childbearing. Drawing on a selection of published longitudinal studies, this article reviews key contributions to the literature on these trends in union and family formation that have stemmed from research conducted using the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health, or Add Health. Add Health is integral to deciphering the adolescent precursors to young adult union formation and childbearing, allowing researchers to gauge the roles of multiple social contexts such as family, schools, peers, and adolescent romance, with attention to variation across racial-ethnic groups and by socioeconomic status.
Twenty-Five Years of National-Level Research on Adolescent and Young Adult Mental Health in the United StatesThe longitudinal, population-level, biosocial data in the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (Add Health) have elucidated the developmental course of mental health across early stages of the life course. This data set also has been invaluable for documenting and unpacking disparities in these developmental patterns by race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, gender, immigration, and sexuality. Reflecting the larger focus of this special supplement on Add Health as a tool for connecting adolescence to adulthood, this article reviews Add Health research since 2000 based on a search of key mental health terms, primarily describing patterns of two key markers of psychopathology (depressive symptoms, suicidal ideation) that were consistently measured across waves.
Sexual Behavior and Health From Adolescence to Adulthood: Illustrative Examples of 25 Years of Research From Add HealthDue to its long-term longitudinal design, the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (Add Health) has provided numerous valuable insights into adolescent and young adult sexual behavior. Framed by a conceptual model of sexual behavior and health, I review research using Add Health data to study sexual behavior and health. In this paper, I review research examining both predictors (e.g., neighborhood, family, genetic, individual) and health outcomes (e.g., sexually transmitted infections, mental health) of sexual behavior in adolescents and young adults.
Exposure to Violence and Victimization: Reflections on 25 Years of Research From the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult HealthOver the past 25 years, across a wide range of academic disciplines, the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health has facilitated a wealth of research on the sources and consequences of victimization and exposure to violence (ETV). In this review, I reflect broadly on the knowledge gleaned from this impressive data source.
Leveraging Technology to Improve Health in Adolescence: A Developmental Science PerspectiveAs technologies continue to evolve at exponential rates, online platforms are becoming an increasingly salient social context for adolescents. Adolescents are often early adopters, savvy users, and innovators of technology use. This not only creates new vulnerabilities but also presents new opportunities for positive impact—particularly, the use of technology to promote healthy learning and adaptation during developmental windows of opportunity. For example, early adolescence appears to represent a developmental inflection point in health trajectories and in technology use in ways that may be strategically targeted for prevention and intervention.
Artificial Intelligence for Personalized Preventive Adolescent HealthcareRecent advances in artificial intelligence (AI) are creating new opportunities for personalizing technology-based health interventions to adolescents. This article provides a computer science perspective on how emerging AI technologies—intelligent learning environments, interactive narrative generation, user modeling, and adaptive coaching—can be utilized to model adolescent learning and engagement and deliver personalized support in adaptive health technologies. Many of these technologies have emerged from human-centered applications of AI in education, training, and entertainment.
Adolescence, Attention Allocation, and Driving SafetyMotor vehicle crashes are the leading source of morbidity and mortality in adolescents in the United States and the developed world. Inadequate allocation of attention to the driving task and to driving hazards are important sources of adolescent crashes. We review major explanations for these attention failures with particular focus on the roles that brain immaturity and lack of driving experience play in causing attention problems. The review suggests that the potential for overcoming inexperience and immaturity with training to improve attention to both the driving task and hazards is substantial.
Young Driver Distraction: State of the Evidence and Directions for Behavior Change ProgramsAdolescent drivers are overrepresented in distraction-related motor vehicle crashes. A number of potential reasons for such an elevated risk include driving inexperience, high adoption of communication technology, increased peer involvement, and tendency to take risks, which render young drivers particularly vulnerable. Major legislative efforts in Graduated Licensing Systems that include passenger restrictions have shown positive effects. Restrictions on cell phone use are also being introduced; however, it is challenging to enforce such regulations.
Safe, Stable, Nurturing Relationships as a Moderator of Intergenerational Continuity of Child Maltreatment: A Meta-AnalysisThe present paper summarizes findings of the special issue papers on the intergenerational continuity of child maltreatment and through meta-analysis explores the potential moderating effects of safe, stable, nurturing relationships (SSNRs).
Identifying Opportunities for Cancer Prevention During Preadolescence and Adolescence: Puberty as a Window of SusceptibilityEarly life exposures during times of rapid growth and development are recognized increasingly to impact later life. Epidemiologic studies document an association between exposures at critical windows of susceptibility with outcomes as diverse as childhood and adult obesity, timing of menarche, and risk for hypertension or breast cancer.
Correlates of Intentional Tanning Among Adolescents in the United States: A Systematic Review of the LiteratureExposure to ultraviolet radiation and a history of sunburn in childhood contribute to risk of skin cancer in adolescence and in adulthood, but many adolescents continue to seek a tan, either from the sun or from tanning beds (i.e., intentional tanning). To understand tanning behavior among adolescents, we conducted a systematic review of the literature to identify correlates of intentional tanning in the United States.
Exposure to Chemicals and Radiation During Childhood and Risk for Cancer Later in LifeMany chemical carcinogens are in food, water, air, household products, and personal care products. Although genetic susceptibility is an important factor in how an individual responds to exposure to a carcinogen, heritable genetic factors alone account for only a minor portion of cancer rates.
Turning Disciplinary Knowledge Into SolutionsTurning disciplinary knowledge about preadolescents' and adolescents' exposure to risk factors for cancer as adults into solutions for preventing such an outcome requires that investigators from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines come together to share knowledge. Optimally, these collaborations would occur across two dimensions: (1) transdisciplinary, from the molecular or cellular level (e.g., animal studies of endocrine disruption) to the societal level (e.g., economic studies related to state tobacco policies); and (2) translational, using basic research findings in clinical and other sciences to implement prevention programs and public policy.
Cancer Prevention for the Next GenerationGiven the continued growth in the number of persons with cancer in the United States, the primary prevention of cancer remains an urgent public health priority. As the field of cancer prevention continues to mature and scientific knowledge evolves, it is imperative to challenge the status quo and embrace new approaches to cancer prevention. In this commentary, we summarize recent trends and some of the scientific advances that have been made over the past few decades regarding the complex process of cancer development and the interaction of individual and social risk factors.
Adolescent Risk-Taking, Cancer Risk, and Life Course Approaches to PreventionAdolescent risk-taking may have long-term consequences for adult cancer risk. Behaviors such as smoking and sexual activity, commonly initiated during adolescence, may result—decades later—in cancer. Life course epidemiology focuses on unique vulnerabilities at specific development periods and their importance to later development of disease. A life course epidemiological perspective that integrates social and biological risk processes can help frame our understanding how specific adult cancers develop.
Highlights From a Workshop on Opportunities for Cancer Prevention During Preadolescence and AdolescenceIn an effort to explore opportunities for cancer prevention during preadolescence and adolescence, the Cancer Prevention Across the Lifespan workgroup within the Division of Cancer Prevention and Control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) convened an informal panel of experts for a 2-day workshop August 9–10, 2011. In this report, we provide highlights from the workshop. A central theme of the workshop was that preadolescence and adolescence are times of unique susceptibility and vulnerability within the lifespan.
Let Schools Do It! Helping Schools Find a Role in Cancer PreventionHealth, in its purest sense, is not the primary mission of the nation's K–12 schools, so why should schools feel obligated to address cancer education? The nation's educators are under tremendous pressure to prepare students to pass tests in English language arts and mathematics. As a result, health education and physical education are often assigned third-class status in many of the nation's schools, despite numerous studies supporting the connection between health and academic achievement. Is there a place for cancer prevention education in today's K–12 schools? This commentary explores existing structures that affect cancer prevention education and offers suggestions to improve K–12 health education initiatives.
Image Gently: A Campaign to Reduce Children's and Adolescents' Risk for Cancer During AdulthoodRecently, the Cancer Prevention Across the Lifespan workgroup at the Centers for Disease Control held a workshop entitled “Identifying Opportunities for Cancer Prevention During Pre-Adolescence and Adolescence.” With the goal of raising awareness and developing community and policy interventions to decrease risk factors for cancer, one session highlighted the danger of ionizing radiation exposure from diagnostic medical imaging. This session focused on the Image Gently campaign, which is a multidisciplinary partnership focused on increasing awareness, developing education materials, and advocating for children to protect them from unnecessary radiation.
Reducing the Burden of Depression in Youth: What Are the Implications of Neuroscience and Genetics on Policies and Programs?Mood disorders are a leading cause of the burden of disease in youth. Three critical lessons emerge from the reviews in this issue that are relevant to our understanding of these common mental disorders: first, that the brain is in a highly dynamic stage of its development during youth; second, that environmental factors interact with genetic factors to influence the probability of risk behaviors and dysphoric states; and third, that shared developmental and genetic factors may account for the bulk of emotional and behavioral outcomes in youth, and that environmental influences may affect the specific expression of the phenotypes associated with these pathways.
Epigenetics and Early Life Origins of Chronic Noncommunicable DiseasesIn light of the increasing threats of chronic noncommunicable diseases in developing countries, the growing recognition of the early life origins of chronic disease, and innovative breakthroughs in biomedical research and technology, it is imperative that we harness cutting-edge data to improve health promotion and maintenance. It is well recognized that chronic diseases are complex traits affected by a wide range of environmental and genetic factors; however, the role of epigenetic factors, particularly with regard to early life origins, remains largely unexplored.
Adolescent NeurodevelopmentThe purpose of this article is to outline notable alterations occurring in the adolescent brain, and to consider potential ramifications of these developmental transformations for public policy and programs involving adolescents.
Biological Contributions to Addictions in Adolescents and Adults: Prevention, Treatment, and Policy ImplicationsDespite significant advances in our understanding of the biological bases of addictions, these disorders continue to represent a huge public health burden that is associated with substantial personal suffering. Efforts to target addictions require consideration of how the improved biological understanding of addictions may lead to improved prevention, treatment, and policy initiatives.
Implications of Science for Illicit Drug Use Policies for Adolescents in Low- and Middle-Income CountriesAdvances in neuroscience have improved our knowledge of the impact of illicit drug use on the adolescent brain. Translating this new knowledge into improved policies and programs requires the participation of public health and social sciences. This article discusses the implications of the recent advances of neurobiology for policies especially as they pertain to adolescents in low- and middle-income countries. It includes an overview of adolescent use of illicit drugs in low- and middle-income countries and calls for a move toward a transdisciplinary approach.