Adolescent Studies

Adolescent Studies


Sanders, C., Field, T, & Diego, M. (2001) Adolescents’ academic expectations and achievements. Adolescence, 36, 795-802.

High school seniors from middle to upper socioeconomic status families completed questionnaires on behavioral and psychological aspects of adolescent life. Academic expectations were found to be highly correlated with academic achievement.

Break-up Distress

Field, T., Diego, M. & Sanders, C. (2001). Adolescent depression and risk factors. Adolescence, 36, 492-498.

• A sample of 192 university students who had experienced a recent breakup of a romantic relationship was divided into high versus low score groups based on the Breakup Distress Scale. Females had higher Breakup Distress Scale scores. The group who had high Breakup Distress Scale scores reported having less time since the breakup occurred, did not initiate the breakup, reported that the breakup was sudden and unexpected, felt rejected and betrayed, and had not yet found a new relationship.


Field, T., Diego, M. & Sanders, C. (2001). Adolescent depression and risk factors. Adolescence, 36, 492-498.

• High school seniors from a suburban private high school were administered a comprehensive questionnaire to determine differences between adolescents who rated the quality of their parent and peer relationships as high or low. Adolescents with high parent and high peer relationship scores had more friends, greater family togetherness, lower levels of depression and drug use, and higher grade point average.

Lasko, D., Field, T., Gonzalez, K.P., Harding, J., Yando, R., & Bendell, D. (1996). Adolescent depressed mood & parental unhappiness. Adolescence, 31, 49-57.

A set of self-report scales on depression, parental happiness, intimate relationships, social support, self-esteem, and risk-taking behavior were administered to adolescents to determine the relationship between depression and these other variables. Adolescents with depressed mood were found to be less intimate with both parents, felt less social support, and had lower self-esteem than their peers. Adolescents who perceived their mother or father as unhappy also reported less intimacy with both parents and less social support.


Gonzalez, K., Field, T., Lasko, D., Harding, J., Yando, R., & Bendell, D. (1995). Adolescents from divorced and intact families. Journal of Divorce and Remarriage, 23, 165-175.

Adolescents were given a set of scales on relationships (intimacy with parents and peers, social support, family responsibility-taking) and psychological variables (happiness, self-esteem, depression and risk-taking) to determine the effects of divorce on these variables. The adolescents from divorced families differed very little from those of intact families. As might be expected the adolescents from divorced parents perceived less intimacy with their father as well as less social support, and they assumed more family responsibilities.

Drug Use

Field, T., Scafidi, F., Pickens, J., Prodromidis, M., Pelaez-Nogueras, M., Torquati, J., Wilcox, H., Malphurs, J., Schanberg, S., & Kuhn, C. (1998). Polydrug-using adolescent mothers and their infants receiving early intervention. Adolescence, 33, 117-143.

This study investigated the effects of an intervention for polydrug-using adolescent mothers. The drug rehab mothers improved on several lifestyle variables. They demonstrated a lower incidence of continued drug use and repeat pregnancy, and a greater number continued school, received a high school or general equivalency diploma, or were placed in a job. Thus, a relatively cost-effective high school based intervention had positive effects on both adolescent mothers who had used drugs and their infants.

Scafidi, F.A., Field, T., Prodromidis, M. & Rahdert, E. (1997) Psychosocial stressors of drug-abusing disadvantaged adolescent mothers. Adolescence, 32, 93-100.

The Problem Oriented Screening Instrument for Teenagers (POSIT) and the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) were administered to disadvantaged adolescent mothers who abused drugs during pregnancy and nondrug-abusing disadvantaged adolescent mothers. Results suggest that drug-abusing mothers were depressed while the non-drug abusing mothers were not depressed. In addition, the drug-abusing mothers reported more mental and physical health problems, more problematic family and peer relationships, poorer social skills, more aggressive behavior, less constructive use of leisure time, and a lower educational and vocational status than did nondrug abusing adolescent mothers.

Eating Concerns

Mueller, C., Field, T., Yando, R., Harding, J., Gonzalez, K.P., Lasko, D., & Bendell, D. (1995). Under-eating and over-eating concerns among adolescents. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 36, 1019-1025.

Adolescents were given a set of scales to determine their concerns about eating (under-eating or over-eating), and perceptions of family and peer intimacy, social support, self-esteem, depression and exercise. Although only 10% stated that they were “underweight” and 21% that they were “overweight”, as many as 50% reported having eating concerns. As compared to those who did not have concerns about eating, those who where concerned about under eating felt that they had poorer relationships with their mothers and fathers, less social support, lower self-esteem and less exercise. Those concerned about overeating perceived having an intimacy problem only with their fathers and scored higher on the depression scale.


Largie, S., Field, T., Hernandez-Reif, M., Sanders, C. & Diego, M. (2001). Employment during adolescence is associated with depression, inferior relationships, lower grades and smoking. Adolescence, 36, 395-401.

A self-report questionnaire was administered to high school seniors to collect data on the psychological, behavioral, and social aspects of their lives. Adolescent employment was associated with (1) greater depression; (2) inferior relationships with parents and best friends, including less time and physical contact with parents; (3) lower grade point average; and (4) smoking.


Field, T., Diego, M. & Sanders, C. (2001). Exercise positively affects adolescents’ relationships and academics. Adolescence, 36, 105-110.

High school seniors were administered a questionnaire that gathered information on their exercise habits, relationships with parents and peers, depressive tendencies, sports involvement, drug use, and academic performance. Students with high levels of exercise had better relationships with their parents, were less depressed, spent more time involved in sports, used drugs less frequently, and had higher grade point averages then did students with a low level of exercise.

Family Responsibility-Taking

Taylor, S., Field, T., Yando, R., Gonzalez, K.P., Harding, J., Lasko, D., Mueller, C. & Bendell, D. (1997). Adolescents’ perceptions of family responsibility-taking. Adolescence, 32, 969-976.

A scale was developed to solicit adolescents’ perceptions of their family responsibility-taking (defined as helping out and being supportive). Adolescents were administered this scale together with self-report measures of intimacy with parents and peers as well as other psychological variables. Results revealed that adolescents who felt they assumed more family responsibility reported less depression, more intimate relationships with their parents and higher self-esteem.

Gifted Students

Field, T., Harding, J., Yando, R., Gonzalez, K., Lasko, D., Bendell, D., & Marks, C. (1998). Feelings and attitudes of gifted students. Adolescence, 33, 331-342.

Differences between the self-perceptions of gifted high school freshmen and nongifted peers were assessed regarding intimacy with family and peers, social support, family responsibilities, self-esteem, depression, and risk-taking behavior. Gifted Students and their teachers were also administered the Perceptions about Giftedness Scale. Gifted students reported feeling the same as or better than their peers about their academic and social skills, and their teachers closely agreed. Gifted students also perceived themselves as being more intimate with friends, assuming fewer family responsibilities, and taking more risks.


Feldstein, S. & Field, T. (2002). Vocal behavior in the dyadic interactions of preadolescent and early adolescent friends and acquaintances. Adolescence, 37, 495-513.

Conversational interactions of sixth-grade friends and acquaintances in mixed-and same-gender pairs were computer analyzed so that the individual and dyadic time patterns of their vocal behavior could be examined. Boy-boy pairs used more and longer segments of simultaneous speech with acquaintances than with friends whereas the girl-girl pairs did the opposite.

Lundy, B.L., Field, T.M., McBride, C., Field, T., & Largie, S. (1998). Same-sex and opposite-sex best friend interactions among high school juniors and seniors. Adolescence, 33, 280-289.

Adolescents were videotaped during same-sex and opposite-sex interactions in the eleventh and twelfth grades. In both grades females felt more comfortable during same-sex interactions than during opposite-sex interactions, and they rated their same-sex partners more positively than did males. Females in both grades and males in eleventh grade showed more peer intimacy than did males in twelfth grade. Eleventh-grade females showed the most playful behaviors (the most engaged state).

McBride, C., & Field, T. (1997). Adolescent same-sex and opposite-sex best friend interactions. Adolescence, 32, 515-522.

In the present study, 48 high school juniors selected their best same-sex and opposite-sex friends for a videotaping of 10-minute face-to-face interactions together. Females felt more comfortable with same-sex interactions than during opposite-sex interactions, and they rated their same-sex partners more positively than the males. Although second-by-second codings of the videotapes yielded no group differences on the percentage of time the dyads were in interested or animated states, females were in more playful states during their same-sex interactions and males were more playful during their interactions with females.


Lasko, D., Field, T., Bendell, D., Yando, R., Scafidi, F., La Greca, A., & Trapani, L. (1997). Adolescent psychiatric patients’ interactions with their mothers. Adolescence, 32, 977-988.

Adolescent psychiatric patients and their mothers engaged in two dyadic interactions. The participants rated themselves and each other on four behavioral dimensions (calmness, friendliness, involvement, and bossiness) during a videotaped playback. Analyses were conducted based on classification of adolescents as internalizers/externalizers, depressed/nondepressed, and socially anxious/nonanxious. Internalizing adolescent dyads were significantly calmer, friendlier, and more involved than were externalizing adolescent dyads. The dyads in which the adolescents scored lower on the depression scale were calmer, friendlier, and more involved than were the dyads with adolescents who had higher depression scores. No differences were noted between high and low socially anxious dyads.

Internet Use

Sanders, C., Field, T., Diego, M. & Kaplan, M. (2000). The relationship of internet use to depression and social isolation among adolescents. Adolescence, 35, 237-242.

• High school seniors were administered a questionnaire that measured low (less than 1 hour per day), moderate (1-2 hours per day), and high (more than 2 hours per day) internet use as well as their relationships with mothers, fathers, and peers and depression. Low internet users, as compared with high users, reported better relationships with their mothers and friends.


Field, T., Lang, C., Yando, R., & Bendell, D. (1995). Adolescents’ intimacy with parents and friends. Adolescence, 30, 133-140.

Adolescents’ perceived levels of intimacy with their mothers, fathers and close friends were examined as a function of demographic, school and psychological variables. Students with same-sex friends and greater interest in school reported greater intimacy with their mothers. Students with higher self-esteem, lower depression, and lower risk-taking scores reported greater intimacy with their mothers and fathers. The greatest number of relationships with positive variables involved intimacy with mothers.


Field, T., Martinez, A., Nawrocki, T., Pickens, J., Fox, N. & Schanberg, S. (1998). Music shifts frontal EEG in depressed adolescents. Adolescence, 33, 109-116.

The present study investigated the effects of music on mood state and right frontal EEG activation associated with chronic depression. No group differences or changes were noted for observed or reported mood state. However, cortisol levels decreased and relative right frontal EEG activation was significantly attenuated during and after the music procedure, interpreted as less with withdrawal.

Peer Relationships

Field, T., Diego, M. & Sanders, C. (2002). Adolescents’ parent and peer relationships. Adolescence, 37, 121-130.

High school seniors from a suburban private high school were administered a comprehensive questionnaire to determine differences between adolescents who rated the quality of their parent and peer relationships as high or low. Adolescents with high parent and high peer relationships scores had more friends, greater family togetherness, lower levels of depression and drug use, and a higher grade point average.

Posttraumatic stress

Pickens, J., Field, T., Prodromidis, M., Pelaez-Nogueras, M., & Hossain, Z. (1995). Posttraumatic stress, depression and social support among college students after Hurricane Andrew. Journal of College Student Development, 36, 152-161.

A survey of college students conducted one month after Hurricane Andrew hit Southern Florida included an impact assessment, the Inventory of Socially Supportive Behaviors, the Reaction Index, the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale (CES-D), the State/Trait Anxiety Inventory, and a Pre-/Post-hurricane Stressors and Hassles Survey. Students who reported having experienced the most severe impact damage from the storm also reported having experienced the most stress, anxiety and depressive symptoms. Nearly half of the students who sustained high damage to their dwellings could be classified as depressed.

Risk-Taking Behavior

Gonzalez, J., Field, T., Yando, R., Gonzalez, K.P., Lasko, D., & Bendell, D. (1994). Adolescents’ perceptions of their risk-taking behavior. Adolescence, 29, 701-709.

A questionnaire comprised of several self-report scales was administered to adolescents to assess differences between high and low sports and danger risk-takers on relationship and personality variables. Sports risk-takers reported more danger-related risk-taking and more drug use but higher self-esteem than did nonrisk takers. Danger risk-takers reported greater sports-related risk-taking and more drug use as well as less intimacy with their mothers, less family responsibility-taking, and less depression than did their nonrisk-taking counterparts.


Sanders, C., Field, C., Diego, M., & Kaplan, M. (2001). Moderate involvement in sports is related to lower depression levels among adolescents. Adolescence, 35, 793-797.

High school seniors completed a questionnaire that gathered data on sports involvement, depression, intimacy with parents and friends, and grade point average. The moderate sports involvement group (3 to 6 hours per week) had lower depression scores than did the low sports involvement group (2 hours or less per week).

Substance Use

Diego, M.A., Field, T. & Sanders, C.E. Academic Performance, Popularity and Depression Predict Adolescent Substance Use. (2003). Adolescence, 38, 35-42.

• High school seniors completed a questionnaire on their feelings and activities, including their use of drugs. Adolescents with a low grade point average, high popularity, and high depression were more likely to smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol, and smoke marijuana than were their peers.


Field, T., Diego, M. & Sanders, C. (2001). Adolescent suicidal ideation. Adolescence, 36, 241-248.

Adolescent suicidal ideation and its relationship to other variables was tapped by a self-report questionnaire administered to high school seniors. Eighteen percent responded positively to the statement “sometimes I feel suicidal.” Those who reported suicidal ideation differed from those who did not on a number of variables including inferior family relationships, family history of depression, inferior peer relations, less emotional well-being, greater drug use, and lower grade point averages.


Silver, M.E., Field, T., Sanders, C., Diego, M. (2000). Angry adolescents who worry about becoming violent. Adolescence, 35, 663-669.

In the present study, 34% of adolescents responded affirmatively to the following statement: “Sometimes I get so angry that I worry I will become violent.” These adolescents (the anger group) were compared with the nonanger group, and several differences were found. Results showed that the anger group (1) reported less intimacy with parents, received less support from them, and was less close to siblings; (2) had more opposite-sex friends, dated more frequently, and more frequently had a boyfriend or girlfriend ; (3) had a lower grade point average; (4) were more depressed; and (5) used marijuana more frequently.