A new study finds teenage girls are more likely than teenage boys to self-harm.
Researchers also found that a fifth of adolescents who have self-harmed have cut themselves in front of others. The new study also revealed that deliberate cutting is normalizing, as an increasing number of self-reported popular kids are self-harming.
Lead researcher Dr. Shelley James of Massey University in New Zealand claims that self-harm has increased over the last decade. She claims that adolescent girls are also up to eight times more likely to self-harm than their male counterparts.
The latest study involved 387 girls between the ages of 13 and 16. Overall, 84 girls identified as self-harmers.
After comparing responses on the number of measures of underlying psychological difficulties between two groups, researchers found that underlying beliefs of vulnerability and low levels of parent influence were more common among self-harming girls. Researchers also found that there were always underlying deeper emotional problems attached to self-harming behavior.
"There were some surprising results," James said in a news release. "The number of girls who had actually harmed in front of other people was staggering to me." "Approximately 23 percent of self-harming kids had harmed in front of other people, and nearly 12 per cent had actually harmed in conjunction with another person, so they had harmed together. I didn't expect to see those kinds of figures."
Furthermore, researchers found that self-harm was no longer considered shocking or associated exclusively to the disenfranchised or those with serious mental health problems. "You have this stereotypical image of this reclusive, socially awkward person that self-harms," James explained. "But the self-harming girls were far more likely to self-identify as being among the popular kids in school, and self-harming was not restricted to those commonly seen as the highly troubled teens."
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The findings are obvious to most observers, but nonetheless, a new study finds that violent movie characters are also likely to drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes and engage in sexual behavior in films rated appropriate for children over 12.
"Parents should be aware that youth who watch PG-13 movies will be exposed to characters whose violence is linked to other more common behaviors, such as alcohol and sex, and that they should consider whether they want their children exposed to that influence," said study lead author Amy Bleakley, a policy research scientist at the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg Public Policy Center.
The study, which was published in the January issue of the journal Pediatrics, sought to find out if violent characters also engaged in other risky behaviors in films viewed by teens.
The researchers analyzed almost 400 top-grossing movies from 1985 to 2010 with an eye on violence and its connection to sexual behavior, tobacco smoking and alcohol use. The movies in the sample weren't chosen based on their appeal to children, so adult-oriented films little seen by kids might have been included.
The researchers found that about 90 percent of the movies included at least one moment of violence involving a main character. Violence was defined as virtually any attempt to physically harm someone else, even in fun.
A main character also engaged in sexual behavior (a category that includes kissing on the lips and seductive dancing), smoked tobacco or drank alcohol in 77 percent of the movies.
It's not clear what this means for children who watch popular movies, however. There's intense debate among experts over whether violence on screen has any direct connection to what people do in real life. Even if there is a link, the new findings don't specify whether the violent characters are glamorized or portrayed as villains.
Participating in sports may have many benefits, but it also raises the chances adolescents will abuse alcohol, according to a new review of the evidence by Canadian researchers.
They analyzed 17 past studies and also found most showed that kids who participate in sports are less likely to use illicit drugs other than marijuana.
The team searched various databases and found 17 previous studies that followed people over time and were published from 1982 through 2012. All but one of the studies took place in the United States.
Overall, the 17 studies indicate that participation in sports was associated with less illegal drug use, other than marijuana. The association with marijuana use wasn't clear. They also found that alcohol use was greater among students who engage in sports, according to the results published in Addictive Behaviors.
"For a lot of young people, being in sports strengthens who they are," Steve Pasierb, president and CEO of The Partnership at Drugfree.org told Reuters Health. He was not involved in the study.
"Sports can be a positive protective factor in a young person's life because of all those great things - structure, goal setting, fair play and achievement," Pasierb said, "But it's not a silver bullet."