Now showing 1 - 10 of 10
  • Publication
    Factors influencing the food choices of Irish children and adolescents : a qualitative investigation
    Food choices established during childhood and adolescence tend to persist into adulthood with consequences for long-term health. Yet, to date, relatively little research has examined factors that influence the food choices of children and adolescents from their perspectives. In this article, previous research is extended by examining developmental differences between children's and adolescents' perceptions of factors influencing their food choices. Focus group discussions were conducted with 29 young people from three age groups (9-10, 13-14 and 16-18 years). An inductive thematic analysis identified three key factors as influencing food choices. These factors included intra-individual factors: the link between food preferences and awareness of healthy eating; intra-familial factors: the role of the home food environment; and extra-familial factors: eating away from the home. Findings indicate that there were developmental differences between children's and adolescents' perceptions of factors influencing food choice. Among adolescents, parental control began to diminish and adolescents exercised increased autonomy over their food choices compared with children. To develop effective nutrition interventions, it is important to gather child and adolescent input regarding factors perceived as influencing their food choices.
      1154Scopus© Citations 144
  • Publication
    Methodology on the My World Survey (MWS) : a unique window into the world of adolescents in Ireland
    Background Internationally, 75% of all mental health problems emerge before the age of 25 years, and adolescence represents a critical period that strongly influences the course of these problems. To date, there is limited research on the mental health of young people aged 12–25 years in Ireland. The My World Survey (MWS) national study provides data on risk and protective factors of mental health among 14306 young people. The MWS was conducted in two phases: Phase 1 – MWS-Second Level (MWS-SL) with adolescents aged 12–19 years, and Phase 2 – MWS-Post Second Level among young adults aged 17–25 years. Aim This article provides a comprehensive overview of the development of the MWS-SL study. Another aim is to identify key learning points when conducting research in the second-level school system. Methods The MWS-SL study was conducted with 6085 adolescents aged 12–19 years in 72 second-level schools. The MWS consists of standardized reliable and valid measures that have been used internationally to assess a range of risk and protective factors associated with adolescent mental health. Results Schools recruited for the MWS-SL study represented quite well the national distribution of second-level schools based on gender composition, disadvantaged/non-disadvantaged status and geographic location. Conclusions Key learning points when collecting survey data in schools include pilot testing of survey instruments; building relationships with key stakeholders to ensure buy-in for the study from schools; establishing rigorous data collection and processing protocols; and recognizing the value of online surveys.
      1615Scopus© Citations 16
  • Publication
    Causal information on children's attitudes and behavioural intentions toward a peer with obesity
    Background: This study examined the effect of types of causal information about overweight on children's attitudes and intentions toward a peer presented as overweight. Methods: Participants (N = 176) were randomly assigned to read a vignette of an overweight peer in one of three conditions, which varied in the explanatory information provided for the aetiology of the peer's overweight condition: biological, environmental or no causal information, along with a vignette of an average-weight peer. Results: The provision of information that the overweight was the result of biological factors and of no causal information yielded more positive attitudes toward the overweight peer compared to those who were provided with environmental information. Information on overweight had no impact on behavioural intentions. A social desirability bias was found for each of the three experimental conditions and for the average weight condition. Conclusion: Information explaining overweight had a minimal positive effect on attitudes and no effect on intentions toward an overweight peer.
      384Scopus© Citations 8
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  • Publication
    Prevalence and correlates of psychotic like experiences in a nationally representative community sample of adolescents in Ireland
    Adolescent psychotic like experiences (PLEs) are an important area of research, yet only a small number of community surveys have investigated their psychosocial correlates. This study presents the prevalence and correlates of three types of PLEs in a nationally representative community sample of 12–19 year olds in Ireland (N = 5910). Correlates are considered across five domains: demographic, stressful life experiences, emotional/behavioral problems, substance use, and personal resources. Auditory hallucinations were reported by 13.7% of participants, 10.4% reported visual hallucinations and 13.1% reported paranoid thoughts. Participants who had experienced two of the three PLEs were assigned “risk” status (10.4%; n = 616). Using binary logistic regression, PLEs were associated with a range of correlates across the five domains. Key correlates of risk status include depression (OR 4.07; 95% CI 3.39–4.88), low self-esteem (OR 4.03 95% CI 3.34–4.86), low optimism (OR 3.56; 95% CI 2.96–4.28), school misconduct (OR 3.10 95%; CI 2.56–3.75), and high avoidance coping (OR 2.86 95% CI 2.34–3.49). These associations remained significant in a multivariate analysis. While correlates for each of the three PLEs were similar, there were some nuances in these patterns. Notably, demographic and substance use variables were the weakest groups of correlates. Personal resources (e.g. self-esteem, optimism and coping) have been poorly studied in the adolescent PLE literature and these findings provide important insights for future research and intervention design.
      496Scopus© Citations 48
  • Publication
    Interpersonal relationships and emotional distress in adolescence
    The aim of this study was to examine positive and negative qualities in adolescents' interpersonal relationships and their relative importance in predicting emotional distress. Participants were 260 students from three schools in the Dublin area (119 girls; 141 boys), aged 12-18 years (M = 15.32, SD = 1.91). Students completed questionnaires assessing qualities in important interpersonal relationships in their lives and emotional distress. Girls reported more positive qualities in their relationships with mothers and best friends than boys. Younger students reported more positive qualities in their relationships with parents than older students. Stepwise multiple regression analysis revealed high levels of satisfaction in interpersonal relationships were predictive of low levels of emotional distress whereas high levels of criticism and exclusion were predictive of high levels of distress. High levels of support and disclosure were also linked to emotional distress. These findings and their implications are discussed in detail.
      3659Scopus© Citations 62
  • Publication
    Do peers matter? A review of peer and/or friends' influence on physical activity among American adolescents
    This systematic review investigated the relationship between peer and/or friend variables and physical activity among adolescents by synthesising cross-sectional, longitudinal, and experimental research conducted in the US. Seven electronic databases were searched to identify related articles published within the last 10 years and the articles reviewed included adolescents between 10 and 18 years. Studies reporting a measure of physical activity for adolescents and at least one potential peer and/or friend variable were included. Research demonstrated that peers and friends have an important role to play in the physical activity behaviour of adolescents. Six processes were identified through which peers and/or friends may have an influence on physical activity including: peer and/or friend support, presence of peers and friends, peer norms, friendship quality and acceptance, peer crowds, and peer victimization. The theoretical significance of these results is assessed and the development of peer-related physical activity programs for adolescents is discussed.
      4749Scopus© Citations 198
  • Publication
    Alcohol and youth mental health- The evidence base
    The My World Survey- Second Level (MWS-SL) assessed alcohol-related behaviours in 6,085 adolescents. Findings demonstrated a significant shift in the frequency, binge drinking and volume of alcohol consumed across the school year. Alcohol use in the Senior Cycle was a particular concern, with 35% outside the low risk category for alcohol behaviour. The MWS-SL found a strong relationship between alcohol use and mental health distress. Risky alcohol behaviour was associated with family conflict and other negative behaviours
  • Publication
    Developing mental health mobile apps: Exploring adolescents' perspectives
    (Sage Publications, 2016-06-01) ; ;
    Mobile applications or 'apps' have significant potential for use in mental health interventions with adolescents. However, there is a lack of research exploring end users' needs from such technologies. The aim of this study was to explore adolescents' needs and concerns in relation to mental health mobile apps. Five focus groups were conducted with young people aged 15-16 years (N = 34, 60% male). Participants were asked about their views in relation to the use of mental health mobile technologies and were asked to give their responses to a mental health app prototype. Participants identified (1) safety, (2) engagement, (3) functionality, (4) social interaction, (5) awareness, (6) accessibility, (7) gender and (8) young people in control as important factors. Understanding end users' needs and concerns in relation to this topic will inform the future development of youth-oriented mental health apps that are acceptable to young people.
      2485Scopus© Citations 114
  • Publication
    Investigating the psychometric properties of the revised child anxiety and depression scale (RCADS) in a non-clinical sample of Irish adolescents
    Background: The psychometric properties of the Revised Child Anxiety and Depression Scale (RCADS) have been established cross-culturally, yet psychometric evidence is lacking for an English-speaking European population. Aim: This research sought to further cross-validate the measure in a non-clinical Irish adolescent sample, and to test for gender and age-based differential item functioning in depression and anxiety. Method: Participants were Irish second-level school students (N = 345; 164 male; 12–18 years, M =14.97, SD = 1.44). Confirmatory factor analysis for categorical data (confirmatory item factor analysis) and multiple-indicator multiple-cause (MIMIC) modelling to identify items displaying possible metric invariance were conducted. Results: A six-factor model fit the data well in both gender samples and both school cycles, as a proxy for age samples. Gender-based metric invariance for 5 of 47 items and age-based metric invariance for three items were identified. However, the magnitudes were small. Internal consistency and validity were also established. Conclusions: While, a number of items demonstrated minor metric invariance, there was no evidence that they influenced overall scores meaningfully. The RCADS can reasonably be used without adjustment in male and female, younger and older, adolescent samples. Findings have implications for the use of the RCADS in an English-speaking European population.
    Scopus© Citations 27  1164