- The PhD thesis examined the effect of peer influence on the development of adolescent alcohol use. Peer influence is one of the most salient and consistent predictors for drinking behaviour among young people.
- It is important to understand the relative contribution of the processes of peer influence (whereby adolescents transition to alcohol use in the presence of alcohol-using peers) and peer selection (whereby those using alcohol initially in the absence of alcohol-using friends then subsequently seek out drinking peers) so that appropriate prevention strategies can be applied at different stages in adolescence.
- Using cross-national, prospective data from state-representative samples of students in Grades 5, 7 and 9 in Victoria, Australia and Washington State, USA from the International Youth Development Study, Latent Transition Analysis was used to identify a range of transition groups with adolescents moving in and out of their latent peer classes over time and explored predictors associated with these transitions.
- The findings provide the firmest estimates to date of the prevalence of peer influenced alcohol use transitions and demonstrate age and country variations.
News and Events
The CATS study is a new and unique longitudinal study of children in metropolitan Melbourne as they approach adolescence. The study began in 2012 and is following over 1200 children from grade 3 (8-9 years of age). It will cover the experiences of children and their families, their changing social context as they move into secondary school, and the biological changes of puberty. Findings from this study will be used to determine which children are most at risk as they pass through puberty and the middle years of school, and to see if certain modifiable factors may be a target for preventative interventions.
Find out more information on our website: http://www.mcri.edu.au/cats
Check out our new video to learn more about CATS! http://www.mcri.edu.au/truthaboutcats/]
You can also keep up to date through our facebook page: www.facebook.com/cats.study.9
This paper reports on research from the Longitudinal Study of Australian children, in which parents of children were interviewed over time, and asked questions on puberty, behaviour, emotional, social and school functioning.
Lead researcher, Dr Fiona Mensah, says the study provides new evidence of pre-existing and persistent early childhood differences in socio-emotional well being amongst children who experience early puberty.
“There is a heightened risk for behaviour and emotional problems during puberty; and children who reach puberty earlier than their peers have more of these difficulties in adolescence.”
Professor George Patton says the study supports a ‘life course’ hypothesis.
“Understanding what lies behind early puberty may also tell us much about the origins of emotional and behavioural problems of children and adolescents.”
The study was published in the Journal of Adolescent Health.
George Patton was interviewed by the ABC. To listen to the interview click here.
Fiona and George write Conversation piece
There has been a good deal of interest in a question about whether very early adolescent heavy cannabis use may cause ongoing problems even when someone stops cannabis use. The early teens are a time of rapid brain development involving those parts involved in emotional control. Studies in rats have suggested large doses of cannabinoids (the active ingredients in cannabis) may alter longer terms patterns of anxiety. Other studies in humans have raised a question about early cannabis users have reduced intelligence later in adulthood. We found that in our study of two thousand young Victorians a two-fold higher rate of anxiety problems in the later twenties even where an individual was no longer using cannabis. We could not account for it by other aspects of an individual’s lifestyle or their earlier history of mental health problems. It is consistent with a view that heavy (at least weekly) early teen cannabis use does increase the risks for later anxiety problems.
Degenhardt L, Coffey C, Romaniuk H, Swift W, Carlin JB, Hall WD, Patton GC. The persistence of the association between adolescent cannabis use and common mental disorders into young adulthood. Addiction. 2013; 108(1): 124-33.
The Victorian Honour Roll of Women recognises and celebrates women who have made an extraordinary contribution to Victoria. Women have been inducted into the Honour Roll for their contributions in a diverse range of fields including health, science, law, social justice, sport, arts, media and education, as well as their involvement in ethnic and Indigenous communities. The vision, talent and commitment of the women on the Honour Roll has enriched Victoria, and their stories of success have been a source of inspiration to all Victorians.
Professor Sawyer was nominated for her contribution to Victorian young people through her professional efforts in the field of Adolescent Health and Medicine.
On receiving the award, Professor Sawyer reported that she felt incredibly humbled by the honour. When asked what motivates her work, she said, ‘I’ve always gravitated to challenging problems. Working with complex young people in a complex service system is not easy, but it does make the hard won rewards of individual change or system reform feel especially sweet. In the meantime, I remain inspired by working with young people, and working with a great team in a great place.’
To read more about it click here
Professor Susan Sawyer was interviewed for the Melbourne Voice by Annie Rahilly and talked about the new research being done by Professor Patton and his team at the Centre for Adolescent Health looking at the health of future generations.
The full article in the Voice can be found here.
Sylvia Kauer investigated the efficacy of a self-monitoring mobile application on depressive symptoms in adolescents. Using structural equation modelling she found mobile phones increased emotional self-awareness which then decreased depressive symptoms. Her research suggests that self-monitoring applications should be considered for young people at risk of mental health problems. Sylvia greatly appreciates the support of Australian Rotary Health which funded her PhD through the Ian Scott Scholarship. Sylvia is now a PostDoc Research Fellow at the Department of General Practice, University of Melbourne on the LINK project, developing and evaluating a e-portal to facilitate help-seeking in young people.
Congratulations to Rosemary Sasse, Rony Duncan, Rosalie Aroni and Susan Sawyer who have just had a paper published in the Journal of Adolescent Health about confidentiality with adolescents and why parents worry about it.
Dr Duncan and Professor Sawyer’s previous research had shown that parents had mixed views about confidential health discussions for their teenage children. In this new study, the research team was interested in finding out more about what was behind parents’ views. To this end, Rosemary Sasse conducted a series of interviews with parents of adolescents to hear their opinions regarding confidential consultations for adolescents with doctors (without parents present). Parents’ views seemed to be influenced by 2 key factors: (1) how much they trust health professionals; and (2) how they view their role as a parent.
The findings should help health professionals to understand why parents might be reluctant to step out of the consultation and how they can talk to both parents and young people in order to help everyone to feel comfortable with confidential consultations. Only in this way can adolescents receive the developmentally-appropriate care that is so vital for them.
To read more, the full article can be found here:
Confidential Consultations With Adolescents: An Exploration of Australian Parents’ Perspectives
Rosemary A Sasse, Rosalie A Aroni, Susan M Sawyer & Rony E Duncan
Read the article in the Medical Observer about this paper
Read the article published on “The Conversation“
I undertook and completed the Graduate Certificate in Adolescent Health and Welfare (Oncology) in 2011. At the time I was working as an Occupational Therapist at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre. Studying the course has meant that I am now working in my dream role with ONTrac at Peter Mac Victorian Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer Service.
My position is extremely varied and involves a combination of clinical and project work which I find extremely rewarding. Within my clinical role, I work closely with the Education and Vocation Consultant to provide support and assistance to young people referred to the service. The project work aspect involves the development, implementation and evaluation of a pilot vocational training program which addresses the specific and unique issues that young people with cancer often experience. I also have the opportunity to work within a multidisciplinary team that comprises a range of healthcare professionals all focused on the care of young people living with cancer.
The course has motivated and encouraged me to improve the clinical care I provide to young people through applying the knowledge and skills I have learnt and will continue to expand upon.
I would strongly encourage anyone who is either currently working with or wishes to work with young people with cancer to enrol. It will enhance your knowledge regarding the unique and specific medical and psychosocial issues experienced by this population, provide you with a range of theoretical frameworks to guide your practice and supply you with an array of skills to meet the needs of this often challenging yet rewarding group. It is definitely manageable to work full-time and complete the course, the year flies by and at the end you may end up with your dream job!
A warm welcome to all of you visiting our new education blog for the Centre for Adolescent Health!
This blog has been created to keep you informed on news and events relevant to students and participants in the Centre for Adolescent Health education programs; the Invergowrie Program and The University of Melbourne Master/Graduate Diploma/Certificate in Adolescent Health and Welfare.
Together with the launch of our education blog we will be launching a new video demonstrating the work of the Centre for Adolecent Health’s Practice and Learning team. Please take some time to view the video below.
Thank you for visiting and please come back soon.