Brown Bag Talk: “Why Peer Relationships Matter for Adolescent Health”
This event is in the past.
Hannah Schacter, Associate Professor, of the Psychology Department at Wayne State University & Merrill Palmer Skillman Institute for Child & Family Development
Wednesday, November 10, 2021, from 12:30 pm to 1:30 pm
During adolescence, peer relationships take on heightened developmental significance. Whereas feeling accepted and supported by peers promotes adolescents’ psychological and physical well-being, being the target of peer aggression or rejection can take a considerable toll on adolescent health.
In this talk, I will discuss my findings from two recent studies that seek to understand why and under what conditions experiences of peer stress interfere with adolescent mental and physical health. The first study investigates associations between daily peer stressors and health symptoms among youth with asthma and considers sleep as an underlying mechanism. The findings demonstrate that youth experiencing greater daily peer problems (e.g., exclusion; conflict) report more severe daytime and nighttime asthma symptoms, and such associations are partially explained by elevated sleep disturbances.
The second study examines variations in peer victimization and mental health symptoms as a function of adolescents’ changing schooling formats (i.e., in-person vs. online) during the COVID-19 pandemic. Findings from longitudinal data collected from ninth-graders during the 2020-2021 academic year suggest that online schooling environments provide some protection against peer victimization and its emotional consequences. Together, these findings underscore the relevance of peer relationships for understanding adolescent health and provide insights into developmentally sensitive intervention approaches.