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Jim Liebelt Christian Blog and Commentary

Jim Liebelt

Jim Liebelt's Blog

*The following is excerpted from an online article posted on Live Science.

Across the U.S., there's been an uptick in the percentage of teens who are having episodes of depression, a new report finds.

From 2013 to 2014, about one in nine teens in the United States had a major depressive episode, up from about one in 10 teens from 2012 to 2013, the researchers found. Psychologists define a major depressive episode as having symptoms of major depressive disorder — such as depressed mood or feelings of emptiness, hopelessness or irritability — that last for two weeks or more.

In the report, the researchers looked at data from the government's National Surveys on Drug Use and Health, in which adolescents ages 12 to 17 were asked about their drug use and mental health. The researchers focused on questions about symptoms the teens may have experienced in the past year that would signal an individual had experienced a major depressive episode.

Overall, the national percentage of teens who had major depressive episodes in the 2013-2014 report was 11 percent, up from 9.9 percent in the 2012-2013 report, the researchers found.

It's unclear if these findings mean that rates will continue to go up, said Myrna Weissman, a professor of psychiatry at Columbia University in New York. To figure that out, you'd have to look at trends over a longer time, she said.

However, the findings are in line with what experts would expect: Depression is very common among adolescents, Weissman told Live Science.

The teens included in the study were right in the age range at which you'd expect symptoms of depression to first emerge, Weissman said.

Ardesheer Talati, an assistant professor of clinical neurobiology in psychiatry at Columbia University and New York State Psychiatric Institute, agreed that one year isn't long enough to determine if rates are truly rising or if the reported increase is more of a blip.

However, three factors may explain the slight increase, Talati told Live Science.

First, increased awareness of mental illness could lead to more teens going to the doctor to be evaluated for depression. Or, in cases of younger adolescents, parents may pick up on changes in their kids' behavior, and bring them to the doctor, he said.

Second, there's a lot more pressure on teens than there was in the past, Talati said. These stressors — social, family and academic — may increase depression in teens, he said.

Finally, the way that depression is diagnosed has changed over time and has become more broad, Talati said. This means that more people will be diagnosed, he said.

Source: Live Science

*The following is excerpted from an online article from Beloit College.

We have had the NOW generation…get ready for the RIGHT NOW generation, entering college this fall. This fall’s entering college students, the class of 2020, were born in 1998 and cannot remember a time when they had to wait for anything. They also can’t recall a time when the United States was not at war, or when someone named Bush or Clinton was not running for office.

Each August since 1998, Beloit College has released the Beloit College Mindset List, providing a look at the cultural touchstones that shape the lives of students about to enter college.

In their lifetimes they have always had eBay and iMacs, and India and Pakistan have always had the bomb. The Sopranos and SpongeBob SquarePants have always been part of popular culture, Gretzky and Elway have always been retired, and Vladimir Putin has always been in charge in the Kremlin.

And although they think of themselves as a powerful generation—Sanders voters, consumers—they are faced with the prospect of student loan debt and of robots and foreigners taking their jobs making them feel anxious and weak. “They know that they’re going to have to wait for that first breakthrough job and getting their school loans paid off.” said Tom McBride, one of the List’s authors. “They’re an impatient generation learning how to be patient.”

The Beloit College Mindset List is created by Ron Nief, Director Emeritus of Beloit College Public Affairs; Tom McBride, Professor Emeritus of English; and Charles Westerberg, Brannon-Ballard Professor of Sociology. Additional items on the list as well as commentaries and guides are found on this site and at Regular updates and discussions are on Facebook and Twitter.

Among those who have never been alive in their lifetime are Frank Sinatra, Phil Hartman, Matthew Shepard, Sonny Bono, and Flo-Jo.

Highlights from this year's mindset list:

1. There has always been a digital swap meet called eBay.
7. The Sandy Hook tragedy is their Columbine.
9. Elian Gonzalez, who would like to visit the U.S. again someday, has always been back in Cuba.
10. The United States has always been at war.
15. They have never had to watch or listen to programs at a scheduled time.
21. Vaccines have always been erroneously linked to autism.
26. If you want to reach them, you’d better send a text—emails are oft ignored.
27. They disagree with their parents as to which was the “first” Star Wars episode.
32. Books have always been read to you on
38. A Bush and a Clinton have always been campaigning for something big.
41. Snowboarding has always been an Olympic sport.
43. While chads were hanging in Florida, they were potty training in all 50 states.
52. Airline tickets have always been purchased online.
60. Michael J. Fox has always spoken publicly about having Parkinson's disease.

To view the entire list of 50 items, click here.

Source: Beloit College

Copyright© 2016 Beloit College

Mindset List is a registered trademark

*The following is excerpted from an online article posted on U.S. News & World Report.

Cyberbullying among teens is highly likely to involve current or former friends and dating partners, a new study finds.

Researchers analyzed data from a 2011 survey of nearly 800 students in grades 8 through 12 at a public school in a New York City suburb. About 17 percent had been involved with cyberbullying in the previous week, the study found.

Nearly 6 percent of those students were victims; about 9 percent were aggressors; and about 2 percent were both. Cyberbullying usually occurred through Facebook or texting, the study authors said.

Girls were twice as likely as boys to be victimized. The risk of cyberbullying was seven times higher among current or former friends and dating partners than among those who had never been friends or dated, according to the study.

"A common concern regarding cyberbullying is that strangers can attack someone, but here we see evidence that there are significant risks associated with close connections," lead author Diane Felmlee said in an American Sociological Association news release.

Felmlee, a professor of sociology at Pennsylvania State University, called "the large magnitude of the effects of close relationships on the likelihood of cyberbullying" surprising.

"We believe that competition for status and esteem represents one reason behind peer cyberbullying. Friends, or former friends, are particularly likely to find themselves in situations in which they are vying for the same school, club, and/or sport positions and social connections," she explained.

"In terms of dating partners, young people often have resentful and hurt feelings as a result of a breakup, and they may take out these feelings on a former partner via cyber aggression. They might also believe they can win back a previous boyfriend or girlfriend, or prevent that person from breaking up with them or dating someone else, by embarrassing or harassing him or her," Felmlee suggested.

The report was published in the September issue of the journal Social Psychology Quarterly.

Source: U.S. News & World Report