Now showing 1 - 10 of 23
  • Publication
    Youth Identity, Peace and Conflict: Insights from Conflict and Diverse Settings
    Many of today’s youth are growing up and developing their sense of self in settings where identities are contested. Such identity dynamics play a key role in societal functioning, with group conflict often arising and being maintained due to competing social identities. Understanding how youth develop these social identities, and the consequences for peaceful and violent behaviours is of urgent importance in order to design appropriate policies and interventions. Much of the social psychological research on identity is based on social identity theory, which posits that we divide our world into social categories and define ourselves in terms of group belonging. The expressions of these social identities can be both positive and negative in how they are manifested in conflict and diverse settings. Whilst research often focuses on the negative side of identification (e.g., prejudice), identities can also be a source of peace; fostering individual belonging in society and under certain conditions, collective identities can also bring together groups in conflict. In this chapter, we briefly review the development of adolescent ethnic identity and then focus on the impact of identity for youth in conflict and diverse settings, highlighting positive and negative effects. This includes a consideration of the consequences of identity for peaceful and non-peaceful behaviours in Northern Ireland as well as how identity develops for ethnic minority youth in England. We conclude by providing suggestions for policy, practice and future research, arguing that a comprehensive account of the role of youth in society cannot be complete without understanding the development and consequences of identity processes.
  • Publication
    Bidirectional effects between maternal mental health and adolescent internalizing problems across six years in Northern Ireland
    Emerging evidence indicates the existence of bidirectional relations between mothers’ mental health and adolescent adjustment, but few studies have examined these relations in contexts of high environmental adversity, including economic deprivation and political violence. Given other empirical connections between political violence and adolescent adjustment problems (Cummings et al., 2017), the impact of child adjustment problems on maternal mental health may be exacerbated in contexts of sectarian violence. Addressing this gap, latent change score modeling was used to examine interrelations between trajectories of maternal mental health and adolescent internalizing symptoms over time in communities afflicted by political conflict. Over six years, a total of 999 adolescent-mother dyads participated in a longitudinal study in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Six-hundred ninety-five families were originally recruited in year 1, with 304 recruited to supplement the sample in year 3; the largest available sample for a given year was 760 families. Models including maternal mental health, adolescent internalizing symptomatology, and political violence (i.e., sectarian antisocial behavior) as a time-varying covariate were tested. Results demonstrated that for both mothers and adolescents in a dyadic pairing, higher rates of symptomology in one member of the dyad were related to symptoms observed in the other member. Results also suggest that political violence and factors related to social deprivation increased symptoms across the dyad. This study advances understanding of the bidirectional impact between maternal mental health and adolescent internalizing over time in contexts of political violence.
  • Publication
    Can ♥s Change Minds? Social Media Endorsements and Policy Preferences
    (University College Dublin. School of Economics, 2021-02-04) ; ; ; ;
    We investigate the effect of social media endorsements (likes, retweets, shares) on individuals’ policy preferences. In two online controlled experiments (N=1,384), we exposed participants to non-neutral policy messages about the COVID-19 pandemic (emphasizing either public health or economic activity as a policy priority) while varying the level of endorsements of these messages. Our experimental treatment significantly shifted the policy views of active social media users by about 0.12 standard deviations. The treatment effect for these users is heterogeneous depending on their pre-existing views. Specifically, message endorsements reinforce pre-existing attitudes, thereby increasing opinion polarization. The effect appears concentrated on a minority of individuals who correctly answered a factual manipulation check regarding the endorsement metrics. This evidence suggests that though only a fraction of individuals pay conscious attention to these metrics, they may be easily influenced by these social cues.
  • Publication
    Promoting Prosocial Behavior Toward Refugees: Exploring the Empathy-Attitude-Action Model in Middle Childhood
    Given the current global “refugee crisis,” there is a need for research investigating methods to promote positive intergroup relationships in host communities. This chapter will explore how empathy can be used to encourage host-society children to develop positive attitudes and engage in helping and prosocial behaviors toward refugees. The focus will be on middle childhood, a period when youth acquire advanced forms of perspective taking and an increased understanding of intergroup dynamics. This chapter extends prior research in adult populations by applying the empathy-attitudes-action model as an intervention for preparing children to engage positively toward incoming refugee children. This model outlines that inducing empathy toward a member of a stigmatized group may improve out-group attitudes as a whole, and in turn, increase prosocial behavior toward that collective out-group. Furthermore, the chapter recognizes the agency of children in establishing harmonious intergroup relations and in creating peaceful and inclusive societies. This chapter concludes with a call to action, advocating for the implementation of preventative programs that prepare children to engage meaningfully with their new peers.
  • Publication
    Recognizing the diverse and complex nature of violence in childhood
    (American Psychological Association, 2021) ;
    Research on the prevention and intervention against violence in children is urgently needed. In contrast to a narrow approach, typically focused on physical violence against children, the authors offer a novel and urgently needed framework that captures the episodic, structural and cultural nature of both violence and peace. Ranging from intersectional risks to global climate change, we comment on the utility of this approach, as well as possible extensions. We echo the call for recognizing children’s agency, shown in our own research on children’s peacebuilding in settings of protracted political conflict, and link the points raised to other global policy frameworks, such as United Nations Security Council Resolution 2250 on Youth Peace and Security.
  • Publication
    Essentialist beliefs affect children’s outgroup empathy, attitudes and prosocial behaviours in a setting of intergroup conflict
    Empathy for salient outgroups can promote positive intergroup attitudes and prosocial behaviours. Less is known about which factors may promote empathy, particularly among children, in contexts of intergroup conflict. Empathy may depend on underlying cognitions, such as social essentialist beliefs, that is, believing that certain social categories have an underlying essence that causes members to share observable and non-observable properties. This study explored the influence of essentialist beliefs about ethno-religious categories on outgroup-directed empathy, attitudes, and prosocial behaviours of children living in Northern Ireland (N=88; M=7.09, SD=1.47 years old). Bootstrapped chain mediation found that lower essentialist beliefs predicted greater outgroup-directed empathy, which was positively related to outgroup attitudes, which in turn, predicted more outgroup prosocial behaviours. The findings highlight the importance of essentialist beliefs as an underlying factor promoting empathy, with links to prosocial behaviours in settings of intergroup conflict. The intervention implications are discussed.
      181Scopus© Citations 12
  • Publication
    A multi-level, time-series network analysis of the impact of youth peacebuilding on quality peace
    (Emerald, 2022-04-15) ;
    Purpose: Over 60% of armed conflicts reoccur; the seed of future conflict is sown even as a peace agreement is signed. The cyclical nature of war calls for a focus on youth who can disrupt this pattern over time. Addressing this concern, the developmental peacebuilding model calls for a dynamic, multilevel and longitudinal approach. Design/methodology/approach: Multilevel time-series network analysis of a dataset containing 193 countries and spanning the years between 2011 to 2020 was performed. This statistical approach allows for complex modelling that can reveal new patterns of how different youth peace-building dimensions, identified through rapid evidence assessment (i.e. education, engagement, information, inclusion) promote quality peace over time. Such a methodology not only assesses between-country differences, but also within-country change. Findings: While the within-country contemporaneous network shows positive links for education, the temporal network shows significant lagged effects for all four dimensions on quality peace. The between-country network indicates significant direct effects of education and information, on average, and indirect effects of inclusion and engagement, on quality peace. Originality: This approach demonstrates a novel application of multilevel time-series network analysis to explore the dynamic development of quality peace, capturing both stability and change. The systemic analysis illustrates how youth peace-building dimensions impact quality peace in the macrosystem globally. This investigation of quality peace thus illustrates science of peace does not necessitate violent conflict.
  • Publication
    Conducting Field Research Amid Violence: Experiences from Colombia
    Conducting research in violent environments poses particular challenges for researchers and participants. The current chapter explores factors that influence field research in Colombia prior to and immediately following the peace accord in 2016, which formally ended the country's 50-year conflict between the government and the country’s largest guerrilla group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (after its Spanish abbreviation FARC). The authors include Colombian and international researchers, practitioners, and academics and offers three proposals. First, working in violent contexts demands that the research is flexible and responds to the participants’ voices and needs. This type of research may be particularly coherent with Participatory Action Research (PAR), which explicitly recognizes the power and agency of local actors who navigate conflict issues on a daily basis. Second, we demonstrate how ongoing violence poses obstacles, offers opportunities, and shapes each phase of investigation, such as research design and data collection. For example, we discuss how to select regions to study that are safe for the team and for participants to engage in research. Relatedly, a strong, local network is essential to research on sensitive social issues relating to on-going conflict dynamics. Third, the inclusion of emerging researchers, particularly from the conflict setting, in the team may increase local capacity as well as the longevity of the project. We reflect on the challenges and opportunities to including emerging researchers and conclude the chapter by suggesting how these issues may apply to other conflict and post-agreement settings.
  • Publication
    Empathy to action: Child and adolescent outgroup attitudes and prosocial behaviors in a setting of intergroup conflict
    The paper explored how to promote constructive intergroup relations among children and young people in a context of protracted conflict. Across two studies, the Empathy‐Attitudes‐Action model was examined in middle childhood and adolescence. More specifically, we tested the relations among dispositional empathy, outgroup attitudes, and prosocial behaviors for youth born after the peace agreement in Northern Ireland. In one correlational (Study 1: N = 132; 6‐ to 11‐years‐old: M = 8.42 years, SD = 1.23) and one longitudinal design (Study 2: N = 466; 14‐ to 15‐years‐old), bootstrapped mediation analyses revealed that empathy was associated with more positive attitudes toward the conflict‐related outgroup, which in turn, was related to higher outgroup prosocial behaviors, both self‐report and concrete actions. Given that outgroup prosocial acts in a setting of intergroup conflict may serve as the antecedents for peacebuilding among children and adolescents, this study has intervention implications.
      226Scopus© Citations 21
  • Publication
    Developing in a Dynamic World Harnessing Psychology to Support the COVID-19 Generation
    In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic and other social dynamics created a myriad of challenges and changes for individuals, groups, and societies. The impacts on youth are particularly noteworthy given developmental processes of adolescence and emerging adulthood. As psychologists, we have much to offer in studying how 2020 influenced their development and in shaping effective supports. To be useful, the work must be nuanced, iterative, and attentive to their lived realities. We argue for a dynamic research framework to study these developmental processes. Through such an approach, psychological science can provide insight into diverse young people’s experiences of COVID-19 with a focus on addressing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 3, 4, and 16 on increasing a sense of well-being, making education more equitable, and developing more peaceful societies. The paper lays out three theoretical frameworks—Synthetic, Augmentative, Generative, and Experiential (SAGE), Meanings, Observations, Viewpoints, and Experiences (MOVE), and the Developmental Peacebuilding Model (DPM)—that can be used to capture the dynamism of meaning making and development within changing contexts. We then provide examples from our research with young people in the United States and Ireland. The paper ends with a call for psychologists across the globe to understand and address COVID-19’s impacts on youth through iterative, integrative research methods with a focus on meaning making. In coordination with macro-level metrics, such work can help understand lived psychosocial impacts on diverse groups of young people, while highlight opportunities to support SDGs 3, 4, and 16.
      21Scopus© Citations 1