Adolescents Alone and Together between Well-Being and Distress: The Path to Adulthood at the Time of Covid-19

A special issue of Adolescents (ISSN 2673-7051).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2023) | Viewed by 20592

Special Issue Editors

Department of Psychology, University of Torino, Via Verdi, 10 10124 Torino, Italy
Interests: promotion of psychosocial well-being and prevention of risk and its mediators; social peer relationships from childhood to adolescence; socio-relational skills and creativity
Department of Psychology - University of Torino, Via Verdi, 10 10124 Torino, Italy
Interests: implementation of social-emotional skills within the school community; immigrants’ well-being in their host country; adolescents and young adults’ access to sexuality education and health services
Department of Psychology - University of Torino, Via Verdi, 10 10124 Torino, Italy
Interests: implementation and measurement of divergent thinking and creative potential in digital natives; promoting school wellness; enhancing conscious use of online social networks from young users by gamification; benefits of physical activity and assessment of dual-task cost in school-age children

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Across cultures and for generations, we have been studying adolescents. Mystified by their changes, as researchers, we count on our cultures and the myriad theories to help us understand this period of transition between childhood and adulthood. Our cultures offer us value systems which guide us through this time, yet levels of confidence may vary: as our world becomes more diversified and is shaped by the forces of politics, technology and/or migration, amongst others, these values are often challenged. Living in a rapidly changing world in which access to any type of information has become almost immediate, adolescents find themselves pressured to make decisions without necessarily knowing how to make them (National research Council, 1999; Albert & Steinberg, 2011). The consequences can lead to unhealthy behavior, putting their lives and the lives of those they love at risk. Covid-19 has intensified this situation by drastically reducing the opportunities to physically be with others. From schools closing down to contact sports being suspended, adolescents, together with their significant adults, have unexpectedly found themselves in a completely new situation. This new scenario of relating to one another is still acquiring new meaning and has led to a wide range of emotions and an increased level of uncertainty (Daniel, 2020; Ziebell et al., 2020). For these reasons, we believe that now more than ever it is necessary for each adolescent, each family, and each community to learn the skills that will help them manage these times so that adolescents can find ways to cherish their past, enjoy their present, and envision their future. With this approach in mind, Adolescents aims to further this research.

Dr. Rabaglietti Emanuela
Chief Guest Editor

Dr. Lynda Lattke
Dr. Aurelia De Lorenzo
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Adolescents is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Adolescence
  • Social and emotional skills
  • Creativity
  • Well-being
  • Protective and risk factors
  • Risk behaviors
  • Transition to adulthood
  • Interpersonal relationships (with peers, with parents)
  • Covid-19

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

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16 pages, 781 KiB  
Article
Youth’s Social Environments: Associations with Mental Problems and Achievement of Developmental Milestones in Times of Crises
Adolescents 2023, 3(2), 366-381; https://doi.org/10.3390/adolescents3020025 - 16 Jun 2023
Viewed by 1244
Abstract
So far, many studies indicated that youth experience mental problems during crises, such as the COVID-19 crisis, but little attention has been paid to the relation to age-adequate functioning and its association to layered social environments. This study addresses this gap by investigating [...] Read more.
So far, many studies indicated that youth experience mental problems during crises, such as the COVID-19 crisis, but little attention has been paid to the relation to age-adequate functioning and its association to layered social environments. This study addresses this gap by investigating the association between social environments (i.e., household, friends, and neighbourhood) during the COVID-19 crisis with youth’s mental problems and age-adequate functioning. In total, 673 youth (mean age = 19.87, 73.4% girls) were surveyed online during the COVID-19 outbreak. In line with predictions, worse contact with household members was associated with more internalizing symptoms. A lack of privacy was associated with more internalizing and externalizing symptoms and difficulties achieving personal and school and professional milestones. Living with a vulnerable other was associated with more internalizing symptoms and difficulties achieving school and professional milestones. Worse contact with friends was associated with difficulty achieving social milestones. Additionally, neighbourhood risk moderated the association between living with a vulnerable other and school and professional milestones. A lack of privacy stood out as the most important factor associated to youth’s mental problems and achievement of developmental milestones. Future research should indicate to what extent these findings are COVID-19 crisis-specific or can generalize to other crises. Full article
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13 pages, 283 KiB  
Article
The Perceived Influence of Food and Beverage Posts on Social Media during the COVID-19 Pandemic: An Exploratory Study with U.S. Adolescents and Their Parents
Adolescents 2022, 2(3), 400-412; https://doi.org/10.3390/adolescents2030031 - 06 Sep 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2589
Abstract
Additional time spent on social media (SM) due to nationwide lockdowns associated with the COVID-19 pandemic has increased adolescents’ exposure to food and beverage (FB) advertisements, which may increase one’s risk of developing unfavorable health outcomes. This study aimed to explore U.S. adolescents’ [...] Read more.
Additional time spent on social media (SM) due to nationwide lockdowns associated with the COVID-19 pandemic has increased adolescents’ exposure to food and beverage (FB) advertisements, which may increase one’s risk of developing unfavorable health outcomes. This study aimed to explore U.S. adolescents’ and their parents’ perceptions of social media’s influence on adolescents’ food and beverage preferences during the COVID-19 pandemic. Semi-structured focus groups were conducted virtually with seven dyads of sixth grade students and their parents (n = 14). Six themes were identified from the focus groups: (1) perceived increased accessibility to SM usage, (2) factors that increased consumption, (3) perceived increased recall of memorable aspects of FB advertisements, (4) parental observations of adolescents’ less healthy eating behaviors, (5) parental influence over FB purchases, and (6) perceived increased engagement with food trends from SM. Increased SM use influenced adolescents’ preference toward specific FB brands and possibly influenced consumption habits during the pandemic. Parents may be aware of the targeted marketing used on SM and may minimize some of this influence. Additionally, these findings should encourage parents and adolescent healthcare professionals to proactively discuss the marketing tactics FB companies use and continue to educate adolescents on the importance of maintaining healthy eating behaviors. Full article
11 pages, 261 KiB  
Article
Distance Learning during the 2020 COVID-19 Lockdown: The Experience of Italian Middle School Students
Adolescents 2022, 2(3), 389-399; https://doi.org/10.3390/adolescents2030030 - 28 Aug 2022
Viewed by 1672
Abstract
Northern Italy was one of the first European regions to be affected by COVID-19 restrictions which led to school closures and the compulsion to learn from home. This article examines middle school students’ experiences with distance learning to determine what they found most [...] Read more.
Northern Italy was one of the first European regions to be affected by COVID-19 restrictions which led to school closures and the compulsion to learn from home. This article examines middle school students’ experiences with distance learning to determine what they found most difficult, what they liked most and what they liked least during the 2020 lockdown. A total of 285 students (56% female; 44% male) with mean age of 13 years (±1 year; min = 11; max = 15) completed the online questionnaire. Responses to three open-ended questions were analyzed and coded using content analysis and an inductive approach. SPSS 26 was then used for descriptive analysis based on the frequencies of the categories that emerged: Learning, Device, Relationship, Other, Environment, Nothing, and Time. The results suggest that important aspects of students’ lives during the lockdown had dual meanings. For example, technological devices were experienced as a means of communication, learning, and maintaining relationships, but were also associated with inequities, technical difficulties, and misunderstandings. Student responses support schools’ role as a place to foster technological skills, especially social and emotional skills, in order to develop concrete strategies to assist students and teachers improve their relationship skills and be better prepared for future pandemics. Full article
10 pages, 262 KiB  
Article
Impact of COVID-19-Related Sports Activity Disruptions on the Physical Fitness of Japanese Adolescent Athletes
Adolescents 2022, 2(2), 140-149; https://doi.org/10.3390/adolescents2020013 - 24 Mar 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2112
Abstract
We assessed whether the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic-related disruptions impacted the physical fitness of adolescent athletes. We reviewed the age-, sex-, and sports category-matched data of 78 adolescent athletes (divided into two groups: 2019 group = 37; 2020 group = 41) from [...] Read more.
We assessed whether the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic-related disruptions impacted the physical fitness of adolescent athletes. We reviewed the age-, sex-, and sports category-matched data of 78 adolescent athletes (divided into two groups: 2019 group = 37; 2020 group = 41) from the clinical database and investigated their height, weight, body composition, flexibility muscle strength, and jump height. We also provided questionnaires to the teams’ coaches to collect data on the duration of practice suspension due to the COVID-19 pandemic; the practice hours per week in August 2019, immediately after the suspension ended, and in August 2020; and the guidelines for the players after resuming their practice. For data analyses, we considered p ≤ 0.05 as statistically significant. The strength of knee flexion and extension was significantly lower in the 2020 group than in the 2019 group; there was no difference in the other physical fitness parameters. The practice duration in August 2019 and August 2020 was the same. COVID-19-related interruptions did not alter the athletes’ jump height, upper-limb strength, and flexibility but reduced lower-limb muscle strength. We recommend that basic strength training protocols be followed to prevent sports-related injuries after such unexpected practice interruptions. Full article
15 pages, 1216 KiB  
Article
Stay at Home Order—Psychological Stress in Children, Adolescents, and Parents during COVID-19 Quarantine—Data of the CoCo-Fakt Cohort Study, Cologne
Adolescents 2022, 2(1), 113-127; https://doi.org/10.3390/adolescents2010011 - 14 Mar 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2284
Abstract
Measures taken to contain the COVID-19 pandemic are particularly stressful for families. Limited data is available regarding the effects of a mandatory quarantine on the psychological stress of children, adolescents and their parents. Quarantined individuals participating in the online-based CoCo-Fakt study had at [...] Read more.
Measures taken to contain the COVID-19 pandemic are particularly stressful for families. Limited data is available regarding the effects of a mandatory quarantine on the psychological stress of children, adolescents and their parents. Quarantined individuals participating in the online-based CoCo-Fakt study had at least one child <3, 3 to <6, 6 to <10, 10 to <14 and 14 to <16 years old (n = 2153). Parents were asked about how often their children felt nervous, anxious, or tense, down or depressed, lonely or physical reactions occur. A relative sum score characterizing psychosocial stress was determined and related to parents’ socio-demographic factors, psychosocial distress, coping strategies and resilience. Parents reported significantly higher psychological stress if at least one child was quarantined. Parents’ relative psychological stress sum score had the strongest influence on the psychological state of the children across all age groups (β = 0.315–0.457) besides male sex of the reporting parent, no partnership, low to medium socioeconomic status, lower resilience and coping scores, and parents quarantined as close contacts. The variance in the linear regression models was between 17.8% and 31.4%. These findings highlight that the entire family system must be considered during official mandatory quarantines. Full article
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11 pages, 985 KiB  
Article
Effects of DARSI Intervention Program on Adolescents’ Perceptions of Love, Tolerance toward Abuse and Dating Violence Perpetration
Adolescents 2022, 2(1), 11-21; https://doi.org/10.3390/adolescents2010002 - 19 Jan 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2749
Abstract
Teen dating violence is a serious problem and intervention programs aimed at reducing this violence and helping adolescents to develop healthier romantic relationships are needed. The objective of this study was to assess the effects of the DARSI program on the development of [...] Read more.
Teen dating violence is a serious problem and intervention programs aimed at reducing this violence and helping adolescents to develop healthier romantic relationships are needed. The objective of this study was to assess the effects of the DARSI program on the development of a more adequate perception of love, the reduction of tolerance toward abuse in romantic relationships, and the reduction of the perpetration of dating violence in adolescents. The sample consisted of 129 adolescents, aged 12 to 17 years (M = 14.05, SD = 1.08). A repeated measures (pre-test and post-test) quasi-experimental design with an intervention group and a control group was used to assess the effects of the program. The results showed significant decreases in unhealthy perceptions of love (linking love with control and dependence), tolerance toward abuse in romantic relationships, and dating violence perpetration in the intervention group. Healthier perceptions of love (linking love with respect and communication) were observed in the intervention group after the implementation of this program. These findings support the implementation in educational contexts of programs focused on the development of non-violent and healthy romantic relationships in adolescents. Full article
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19 pages, 285 KiB  
Article
School and Employment-Related Barriers for Youth and Young Adults with and without a Disability during the COVID-19 Pandemic in the Greater Toronto Area
Adolescents 2021, 1(4), 442-460; https://doi.org/10.3390/adolescents1040034 - 20 Oct 2021
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 3979
Abstract
Purpose: Youth and young adults are particularly vulnerable to the socio-economic impacts of Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19). The purpose of this study was to explore barriers to school and employment for youth with and without a disability during the pandemic. Methods: This qualitative comparison [...] Read more.
Purpose: Youth and young adults are particularly vulnerable to the socio-economic impacts of Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19). The purpose of this study was to explore barriers to school and employment for youth with and without a disability during the pandemic. Methods: This qualitative comparison study involved in-depth interviews with 35 youth and young adults (18 with a disability; 17 without), aged 16–29 (mean age 23). An interpretive, thematic analysis of the transcripts was conducted. Results: Our findings revealed several similarities and some differences between youth and young adults with and without disabilities regarding barriers to school and employment during the COVID-19 pandemic. Key themes related to these barriers involved: (1) difficult transition to online school and working from home (i.e., the expense of setting up a home office, technical challenges, impact on mental health), (2) uncertainty about employment (i.e., under-employment, difficult working conditions, difficulty finding work, disability-related challenges) and (3) missed career development opportunities (i.e., canceled or reduced internships or placements, lack of volunteer opportunities, uncertainties about career pathway, the longer-term impact of the pandemic). Conclusion: Our findings highlight that youth and young adults with disabilities may need further support in engaging in meaningful and accessible vocational activities that align with their career pathway. Full article

Review

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25 pages, 2774 KiB  
Review
Perfectionism in Children and Adolescents with Eating-Related Symptoms: A Systematic Review and a Meta-Analysis of Effect Estimates
Adolescents 2023, 3(2), 305-329; https://doi.org/10.3390/adolescents3020022 - 25 Apr 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2300
Abstract
Background: Over 40 years of research implicates perfectionism in eating disorders in childhood and adolescence. However, the nature of this relationship remains understudied. To address this gap, we performed a systematic review and a meta-analysis to quantify the magnitude of the associations between [...] Read more.
Background: Over 40 years of research implicates perfectionism in eating disorders in childhood and adolescence. However, the nature of this relationship remains understudied. To address this gap, we performed a systematic review and a meta-analysis to quantify the magnitude of the associations between perfectionism (i.e., unidimensional perfectionism, perfectionistic strivings, and perfectionistic concerns) and eating-related symptoms during childhood and adolescence. Methods: The literature search was conducted using five electronic databases in accordance with PRISMA guidelines: MEDLINE, Embase, CINAHL Complete, APA PsycINFO, and EMB Reviews. A total of 904 studies were identified; a total of 126 were included in the systematic review, and 65 in the meta-analysis (N = 29,268). Sensitivity analyses were also carried out to detect potential differences in age and clinical status. Results: All the associations we investigated were both significant and positive. Small effect sizes were found between eating global scores and unidimensional perfectionism, perfectionistic strivings, and perfectionistic concerns (res = 0.19, res = 0.21, res = 0.12, respectively) and remained significant in each age group in both clinical and community samples. Perfectionistic concerns were moderately associated with all eating measures, especially in community samples and samples with a mean age under 14. Conclusions: Psychological interventions specially designed to target perfectionistic concerns in the early stages of development may help prevent the onset or reduce the intensity of eating-related symptoms during childhood and adolescence. Full article
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