October 2012 Reports

Depression and teenage girls www.samhsa.gov
The chances that a girl will experience a major depressive episode increase as she moves through adolescence, and triple between the ages of 12 and 15 -- from 5.1 percent to 15.2 percent. A new report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Depression Triples Between the Ages of 12 and 15 Among Adolescent Girls, also says that 1.4 million girls ages 12 to 17 (12 percent, on average) experience a major depressive episode each year. This rate is three times the rate for teenage boys (4.5 percent).

Girls on relationships www.thenationalcampaign.org
Four out of five high school senior girls surveyed for “Girl Talk,” a new study from the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy and Seventeen magazine, say there is pressure in high school to be sexually experienced. Sixty-five percent of the 1,200 girls surveyed had already had sex; 19 percent of these reported having four or more partners. Only half of the sexually active survey responders had used a condom at last intercourse. Forty-three percent had experienced at least one pregnancy scare. The teen girls defined happiness in a sexual relationship as being with someone they love and not going farther than they want to go.

Immigrant families http://fcd-us.org
A study from the Foundation for Child Development, Children in Immigrant Families: Essential to America’s Future, says that 95.4 percent of children living with immigrant parents are living with parents who are still learning English. Dual language learners are less proficient in reading and math at the third-grade level than their cohorts; children who cannot read proficiently by fourth grade are four times more likely to drop out of school than their peers.

Income and race gaps persist http://datacenter.kidscount.org
The 2012 edition of The Annie E. Casey Foundation’s KIDS COUNT Data Book says that, while high school graduation rates and national reading and math scores for all American students are higher than ever, there are still wide gaps in educational achievement by race and especially by income. The report also says that, while mortality rates for all children have fallen and rates of health insurance coverage for children have also improved, the rate of childhood obesity has tripled since the 1980s.

Poverty and anxiety www.springerlink.com
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) -- muscle tension, excessive worry, concentration difficulties, fatigue, and irritability -- is frequently diagnosed among those who live in poverty. Childhood experiences of low socioeconomic status and maltreatment have been shown to lead to the onset of GAD. A study appearing in the Child Adolescent Social Work Journal -- “Is It Generalized Anxiety Disorder or Poverty?” -- concludes that high-poverty mothers have physical needs that are not being met, and that this is what produces their anxiety, not GAD.

Tobacco use decline slows www.cdc.gov
Four thousand American kids try their first cigarette every day, according to a study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Current Tobacco Use Among Middle and High School Students -- United States, 2011. The report says that, while tobacco usage among youth is still declining overall, the decline has slowed dramatically, and that cigar usage among high school males is rising. Cigars can be manufactured in a size similar to cigarettes and packaged and smoked the same way, but because they are taxed at a lower rate than cigarettes, their price is lower.

Violent videos and sleep http://pediatrics.aappublications.org
A study of 565 Seattle-area 3- to 5-year-olds shows a causal link between violent videos and other age-inappropriate media and sleep disturbances among preschoolers, particularly with trouble falling asleep (38 percent). The children in the study whose parents were given information on age-appropriate media and encouraged to watch media with them had significantly fewer sleep problems than those in the control group. The study, “The Impact of a Healthy Media Use Intervention on Sleep in Preschool Children,” was published in Pediatrics.

Who stays home with sick kids? www.carseyinstitute.unh.edu
A report from the Carsey Institute, Who Cares for the Sick Kids?, says that 52 percent of parents do not have at least five sick days per year to care for sick children. Thirty-four percent of parents did not even have this amount of time in personal sick leave. Lower-earning parents had the least access to sick leave. When mothers and fathers both have sick leave available, more mothers (75 percent) than fathers (40 percent) stay home with sick children. 

Compiled by Margaret Suslick, ASBJ’s Editorial Assistant.