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Understanding health behaviour in adolescence- A review of influencing factors
Adolescence is a time of growth and change. During this period, young people mature against a backdrop of many influencing factors. Examples include:
¾ Physiological- puberty and changes within the brain, etc
¾ Psychological- development of identity, etc
¾ Social- parenting & family relationships, peer influences, etc
¾ Environmental- socioeconomic background, etc
SCPHRP and NHS Health Scotland have conducted a literature review to map what we know currently about how this broad range of factors influences health behaviour in adolescence. The aim of this work is to produce an overall summary of evidence to inform health improvement policy and practice.
The first phase of the review focused upon physiological changes occurring during adolescence. Substantial changes occur within the body during this time, in parallel with changing environments and opportunities. We sought to identify theories or hypotheses related to physiological development during adolescence & relationships with six behaviours: Diet & nutrition, physical activity, substance use, smoking, sexual behaviours and sleep.
Our review identified 341 relevant papers, 181 related to brain physiology and 160 related to other aspects of physiological development (e.g. endocrine or musculoskeletal systems). The full report will be made available by NHS Health Scotland in the next month.
Findings touch on areas such as:
Risky decision making:
- Contrary to popular belief, current evidence suggests that adolescents are not always more likely to choose the riskier option.
- Support for the idea that adolescence is a time of differentiation in how an individual responds to risk.
- The onset of puberty heralds later sleep times, while wake times are usually dictated by school hours
- Sleep deprivation is common in adolescence as a result
- The physiological underpinnings of regulation of emotion continue to mature in adolescence
- Adolescents may respond faster and with less inhibition in emotionally charged situations- i.e. if they get ‘caught up in the moment’
In general, our findings emphasise the importance of adolescence as a unique period of opportunity for supporting healthy positive outcomes.
This phase of the review was the result of a collaboration between SCPHRP (Jan Pringle, Kathryn Mills, John McAteer, & Ruth Jepson), NHS Health Scotland (Emma Hogg, Neil Anand), and University College London (Sarah-Jayne Blakemore). For further information please contact John McAteer or Jan Pringle (firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com). You can read more about the review here: https://systematicreviewsjournal. biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13643-015-0173-5
For further information about SCPHRP please visit http://www.scphrp.ac.uk/.
Also in this issue
Other articles published in our March 2017 newsletter:
- A registered childminder makes the ideal option for free childcare hours
- Good practice in working with parents with learning disabilities
- Help to pay for childcare costs is changing
- Taking steps towards gender equality in the early years
- Need to boost workplace flexibility for the lower paid
- Power to the Bump
- Family learning centres in Midlothian
Latest research articles
Recent articles on family-related research from our newsletter:
- Parental awareness of the UNCRC
- Family research - update
- Challenges from the Frontline - Revisited
- Lone mothers’ employment and their children’s well-being
- Supporting mothers (and fathers) trying to juggle paid work with raising young children
- Father-child relationships and children's socio-emotional wellbeing
- Exploring the information behaviours of younger mothers
- Parenting stress
- What now for Triple P?
- Evidence request bank: Applying evidence to practice
- Transition to primary
- Family and school influences on children's wellbeing
- Evidence to action
- Parenting a ten-month-old child
- Parenting and support
- Involving grandparents in young children's lives
- Parenting on a low income
- Parenting and child health
- Together and apart: supporting families through change