Advances of Counselling Psychology for Children and Youth

A special issue of Behavioral Sciences (ISSN 2076-328X).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (25 December 2023) | Viewed by 9271

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Education, School of Pedagogical & Technological Education, 15122 Marousi, Greece
Interests: counselling; psychological assessment; clinical health psychology; psychosomatic; psychology of children and adolescents; psychosocial support for children and teenagers

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Guest Editor
Department of Psychology, Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences, 17671 Athens, Greece
Interests: positive psychology; counselling psychology; wellbeing; positive and negative emotions; psychological resilience; positive relationships; self-compassion
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Children and youth are considered high-risk populations due to the developmental crisis they cope with and the fact that they are more susceptible to contextual crises and rapid changes. Furthermore, research findings regarding the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health suggest that children, adolescents, and emerging adults are experiencing an unprecedented psychological burden. Along with everyday stressors and negative life events, their anxiety, depression, irritability, PTSD, and inattention levels have increased. Moreover, there are heightened risks of key protection issues, such as domestic violence, gender-based violence, cyberbullying, exploitation, etc. Thus, the need to provide children and youth with psychological programs and interventions aiming to support them, their families, and their schools is of high importance.

Counselling services, including mental health and psychosocial support for children and youth, are more important than ever. Advances in counselling psychology research providing information on the mechanisms of positive change regarding child and youth mental health are needed to better tailor prevention and intervention efforts. Furthermore, the integration of new technologies and techniques into the counselling sessions and mental health promotion programs has become increasingly vital.

This Special Issue is dedicated to recent advances in counselling psychology for children, adolescents, and emerging adults, concerning both basic and intervention research. The issue aims to cover a broad range of new perspectives, interventions, and techniques in counselling, such as: brief and strength-based therapies, parent and family counselling, play therapy, mindfulness techniques, prevention and mental health promotion programs, empowerment, school-based interventions, positive psychology interventions, and digital interventions. Moreover, this issue focuses on several psychological and psychosocial problems that children and youth face, including but not limited to the following: parental divorce, abuse, domestic violence, bullying, bereavement, depression, anxiety, career-related difficulties, and relationship problems. Last but not least, this Special Issue addresses additional important counselling issues encountered with children and youth, such as legal and ethical issues, chronic illness or disability, diversity, gender and LGBTQ+ issues.

Both literature reviews (systematic reviews, meta-analyses or narrative or topical reviews) and original research articles (observational studies, cross-sectional and longitudinal studies, experimental studies, clinical trials, cohort studies, case–control studies, qualitative studies) are welcome for submission.

Prof. Dr. Kounenou Kalliope
Dr. Christos Pezirkianidis
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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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. Behavioral Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

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Keywords

  • counselling services
  • mental health and psychosocial support for children and youth
  • school-based interventions
  • positive psychology interventions
  • psychological and psychosocial problems

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

15 pages, 291 KiB  
Article
Developmental Assets and Career Development in the Educational System: Integrating Awareness of Self-Identity, Knowledge of the World of Work and the SDGs in School Programs
by Teresa Maria Sgaramella and Lea Ferrari
Behav. Sci. 2024, 14(2), 109; https://doi.org/10.3390/bs14020109 - 01 Feb 2024
Viewed by 874
Abstract
Individuals are embedded within systems that possess contextual or ecological developmental assets. Psychosocial assets refer to beliefs that enable positive responses to challenging situations and growth despite adversity, such as hope and a future orientation towards positive attitudes and expectations, as well as [...] Read more.
Individuals are embedded within systems that possess contextual or ecological developmental assets. Psychosocial assets refer to beliefs that enable positive responses to challenging situations and growth despite adversity, such as hope and a future orientation towards positive attitudes and expectations, as well as persistence and the ability to thrive. Career-related assets refer to career-related resources that characterize career decision-making processes and the world of work, such as the ability to negotiate transitions successfully as well as to tolerate and cope with uncertainty by increasing one’s flexibility and autonomy. This study investigated the effectiveness of two sets of psychoeducational activities in promoting positive attitudes and resources, developmental assets that are useful to strengthen students’ personal resources and shaping their future. This study also highlighted sensitivity to change in personal and career-related developmental assets. Using a mixed design approach, 108 students with an average age of 13.91 years were asked to participate in two psychoeducational activities. The first activity focused on developing a positive future self-identity and the second activity on career exploration and knowledge about the world of work. The results show that each of these two activities support the development of psychological assets as well as of a perspective that addresses complex dynamics and that may reduce inequalities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances of Counselling Psychology for Children and Youth)
15 pages, 1197 KiB  
Article
The Relationship of Rejection Sensitivity to Depressive Symptoms in Adolescence: The Indirect Effect of Perceived Social Acceptance by Peers
by Theodoros Giovazolias
Behav. Sci. 2024, 14(1), 10; https://doi.org/10.3390/bs14010010 - 22 Dec 2023
Viewed by 1238
Abstract
Rejection sensitivity (RS), the tendency to expect, perceive and overreact to rejection from others, has been linked to children’s and adolescents’ increased vulnerability to depressive symptoms, negatively affecting their perceptions of the quality of their relationship with their peers. The aim of this [...] Read more.
Rejection sensitivity (RS), the tendency to expect, perceive and overreact to rejection from others, has been linked to children’s and adolescents’ increased vulnerability to depressive symptoms, negatively affecting their perceptions of the quality of their relationship with their peers. The aim of this study is to examine (a) the indirect effect of perceived peer social acceptance in the relationship between RS and depressive symptoms in a sample of Greek adolescents, (b) the differential effect of the different components of rejection sensitivity (angry and anxious RS) on the model, and (c) possible gender differences. The sample of the study consists of 295 adolescents (139 boys, 156 girls, Mage = 14.20, SD = 1.60) residing in the greater Heraklion Prefecture area. Data collection was carried out using self-report questionnaires that measured demographic characteristics, self-perceptions about their peer relationships (self-perception profile for adolescents/SPPA), susceptibility to rejection (children’s rejection sensitivity questionnaire/CRSQ), and depressive symptoms (children’s depression inventory/CDI). Results showed that (a) RS was positively related to depressive symptoms and negatively related to adolescents’ perceptions of their relationships, (b) relationship perceptions were negatively related to depressive symptoms, and gender differences were also found, (c) perceived social acceptance by peers was found to have an indirect effect in the relationship between RS and depressive symptoms, with girls showing a greater effect, and (d) differences were observed in the mediating model between the components of RS, with the mediating effect of perceptions being higher in the model with anxious RS, which appears to confirm previous theoretical postulations. The results of this study highlight the importance of adolescents’ perceptions of their peer relationships in the occurrence of depressive symptoms during this developmental period, especially in youths with anxious rejection sensitivity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances of Counselling Psychology for Children and Youth)
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22 pages, 316 KiB  
Article
Developing STEM Career Identities among Latinx Youths: Collaborative Design, Evaluations, and Adaptations during COVID-19
by Chong Myung Park, Hayoung Kim Donnelly, Angelica Rodriguez, Luis Esquivel, Cecilia Nardi, Paul Trunfio, Alexandra Oliver-Davila, Kimberly A. S. Howard and V. Scott H. Solberg
Behav. Sci. 2023, 13(11), 949; https://doi.org/10.3390/bs13110949 - 18 Nov 2023
Viewed by 981
Abstract
In response to the low representation of Latinx adults in STEM occupations, this community-based participatory action research study aims to increase the number of middle school youths developing STEM career identities and entering high school with the intention to pursue STEM careers. The [...] Read more.
In response to the low representation of Latinx adults in STEM occupations, this community-based participatory action research study aims to increase the number of middle school youths developing STEM career identities and entering high school with the intention to pursue STEM careers. The students were provided with summer and after-school activities focusing on network science and career development curricula. Using a quasi-experimental pretest–posttest design and career narratives, this study examined the changes in STEM and career self-efficacy, as well as career identity. The results show improvements in self-efficacy, an increased number of youths with intentions of pursuing future STEM career opportunities, and deeper reflections on their talents and skills after program participation. This paper also describes the program development and implementation in detail, as well as the adaptations that resulted from COVID-19, for scholars and educators designing similar programs. This study provides promising evidence for the quality of STEM and career development lessons in supporting the emergence of a STEM career identity and self-efficacy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances of Counselling Psychology for Children and Youth)
15 pages, 653 KiB  
Article
The Influence of Positive and Negative Aspects of Perfectionism on Psychological Distress in Emerging Adulthood: Exploring the Mediating Role of Self-Compassion
by Katerina Koutra, Chrysi Mouatsou and Sofia Psoma
Behav. Sci. 2023, 13(11), 932; https://doi.org/10.3390/bs13110932 - 15 Nov 2023
Viewed by 1820
Abstract
Perfectionism constitutes a multidimensional personality trait. According to the diathesis–stress model, perfectionism may predispose individuals to experience increased psychological distress during stressful periods. Since self-compassion is considered as a protective factor within the context of mental health difficulties, the primary objective of this [...] Read more.
Perfectionism constitutes a multidimensional personality trait. According to the diathesis–stress model, perfectionism may predispose individuals to experience increased psychological distress during stressful periods. Since self-compassion is considered as a protective factor within the context of mental health difficulties, the primary objective of this study was to explore the mediating function of self-compassion in the relationship between positive (i.e., high standards and order) and negative (i.e., discrepancy) aspects of perfectionism and psychological distress among Greek emerging adults. The sample consisted of 410 university students (47.6% males and 52.4% females), with a mean age of 20.61 ± 1.88 years. The Almost Perfect Scale-Revised (APS-R), the Self-Compassion Scale (SCS), and the General Health Questionnaire-28 (GHQ-28) were used to assess perfectionism, self-compassion, and psychological distress, respectively. The results indicated that self-compassion mediated the association between positive and negative aspects of perfectionism and different dimensions of psychological distress (i.e., somatic symptoms, anxiety/insomnia, social dysfunction, and severe depression). Specifically, discrepancy and increased levels of high standards were related to lower levels of self-compassion, thus leading to greater endorsement of psychological distress. In contrast, order was associated with higher levels of self-compassion, thus leading to lower levels of psychological distress. The findings of the present study highlight that self-compassion is an overall important area to examine in nonclinical populations. These findings have implications for the effectiveness of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) in enhancing individuals’ self-acceptance and awareness of their perfectionistic tendencies, as well as compassion-focused therapy (CFT) in elevating self-compassion, mindfulness, and overall psychological well-being while reducing psychological distress. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances of Counselling Psychology for Children and Youth)
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20 pages, 339 KiB  
Article
Adaptation, Academic Performance and Support: Students with and without Disabilities and Future Considerations for Counselling Psychology
by Panagiotis Parpottas, Yianna Christofi and Ioanna Ioannou
Behav. Sci. 2023, 13(10), 862; https://doi.org/10.3390/bs13100862 - 20 Oct 2023
Viewed by 1107
Abstract
The transition to university is a process that presents young adults with several challenges in adaptation, especially students with disabilities. The current study investigated the differences in adaptation and academic performance between students with and without disabilities and further examined these differences among [...] Read more.
The transition to university is a process that presents young adults with several challenges in adaptation, especially students with disabilities. The current study investigated the differences in adaptation and academic performance between students with and without disabilities and further examined these differences among students with disabilities. Additionally, we explored the role of academic support for students with disabilities’ adaptation and academic performance, as well as their perceptions of a proposed specialised package of counselling psychology interventions. The sample consisted of 127 students with disabilities and 127 without disabilities, aged 18–24 years. Results revealed that students with disabilities reported a lower GPA and adaptation than students without disabilities. Additionally, differences among students with disabilities were observed only in terms of GPA, according to their disability type, existence of comorbidity and type of exam accommodations. Interestingly, no differences were found in GPA or adaptation between students with disabilities who utilised psychological therapy and those who did not. Finally, adaptation scores, but not GPA, were higher for students with disabilities who were positive in receiving a specialised package of counselling psychology interventions. The findings are discussed in relation to the existing literature and future considerations of counselling psychology’s role in support of students with disabilities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances of Counselling Psychology for Children and Youth)
12 pages, 294 KiB  
Article
The Role of Gratitude in a Positive Psychology Group Intervention Program Implemented for Undergraduate Engineering Students
by Antonios Kalamatianos, Kalliope Kounenou, Christos Pezirkianidis and Ntina Kourmousi
Behav. Sci. 2023, 13(6), 460; https://doi.org/10.3390/bs13060460 - 02 Jun 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2278
Abstract
Over the past decades, research on positive psychology for building strengths has proliferated. The present study aimed to explore the effect of gratitude in a 5-week positive psychology group program for undergraduate engineering students which included an intermediary 2-week gratitude intervention. In a [...] Read more.
Over the past decades, research on positive psychology for building strengths has proliferated. The present study aimed to explore the effect of gratitude in a 5-week positive psychology group program for undergraduate engineering students which included an intermediary 2-week gratitude intervention. In a mixed-design, 69 students from three engineering departments of the School of Pedagogical and Technological Education (ASPETE), assigned to the intervention (N = 34) and the control group (N = 35), with an average age of 21.52 years (SD = 4.63), were administered the Gratitude Questionnaire—six item form (GQ-6), the Modified Differential Emotions Scale (mDES), the Connor–Davidson Resilience Scale (CD-RISC), the Subjective Happiness Scale (SHS), and the Life Orientation Test—Revised (LOT-R). The condition experimental vs. control group was designated as the between-subjects factor, and time, that is, baseline vs. post intervention, was set as the within-subjects factor. Students who received the intervention reported significantly higher levels of gratitude. The increase in gratitude was due to the positive psychology group program. In addition, gratitude showed a significant effect on happiness and optimism, but failed to attain a significant impact on positive and negative emotions and resilience. Further research is needed to elucidate the effectiveness of positive psychology programs for undergraduate engineering students and the intervening cognitive processes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances of Counselling Psychology for Children and Youth)
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