Description: There are many issues and problems that can benefit from a developmental perspective. We can try and find ways to address reduce or fix problems when they arise. For example, we can address the problems associated with some risk-seeking young drivers by suspending their licenses after fewer demerit points than would be true for adult drivers and then requiring them to take remedial driving courses. A developmental perspective might have us look at the developmental precursors to higher collision rates among young novice drivers and lead us to institute developmental solutions such as graduated licensing which restricts young drivers’ exposure to risky driving situations until they have acquired more experience and, hopefully, become less risky drivers. Now that strategy might not address the issue of young risk-seeking drivers but perhaps another developmental intervention could (more research is, of course, needed). With that sort of developmental framework in mind, think about what we might need to do to make a developmentally early intervention possible for dealing with the issue of drinking by high school students (which is a problem given all the negative outcomes associated with it). What sorts of developmentally earlier things might you consider looking at in order to gather data that would allow you to design such a targeted developmental intervention? Think about it and then read the article linked below to see what the researchers who designed this study decided to measure.
Source: Predictors of Drinking Problems in High School Students, Arash Emamzadeh, Finding a New Home, Psychology Today.
Date: November 28, 2018
Image Credit: kaicho20/Pizabay
Longitudinal developmental research designs potentially have great power to show us the developmental pathways children and youth move along. They can also provide insight into where intervention efforts might best be deployed especially when the target negative behaviours are things are not yet seen at earlier points in development, like drinking among high school students (though drinking in grade 5 WAS a predictor). In this case the consistent use of ineffective emotional coping strategies by those grade 5 students who ended up drinking more in high school was especially interesting as better coping styles can be taught and once acquired could lead to lower rates of problematic drinking when the developing individuals involved reach high school. Of course, more research is needed but with this study in hand we have a very promising place to start as we design developmental intervention strategies to try and lower rates of drinking among high school students.
Questions for Discussion:
- What sorts of things measured among grade 5 students predicted problematic drinking 5 years later when they reached high school?
- Of the variable identified as predicting high school drinking levels, why was coping strategies selected by the researchers as the one most promising for interventions?
- What are some other issues or problems, that are developmentally time-bound in terms of when they arise, that might benefit from research using this sort of longitudinal search for developmental predictors and precursors?
References (Read Further):
Cole, H. A., Peterson, S. J., & Smith, G. T. (2018). Elementary and middle school predictors of high school drinking problems and maladaptive coping. Addictive Behaviors, 87, 177-182. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0306460318303356
Cyders, M. A., & Smith, G. T. (2008). Emotion-based dispositions to rash action: Positive and negative urgency. Psychological Bulletin, 134, 807–828. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2705930/?_escaped_fragment_=po=5.29412
Arria, A. M., Kuhn, V., Caldeira, K. M., O’Grady, K. E., Vincent, K. B., & Wish, E. D. (2008). High school drinking mediates the relationship between parental monitoring and college drinking: A longitudinal analysis. Substance abuse treatment, prevention, and policy, 3(1), 6. https://substanceabusepolicy.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1747-597X-3-6
Esser, M. B., Clayton, H., Demissie, Z., Kanny, D., & Brewer, R. D. (2017). Current and binge drinking among high school students—United States, 1991–2015. MMWR. Morbidity and mortality weekly report, 66(18), 474. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5657986/