Session: Investigating the Interpersonal in Adolescence: Understanding the Critical Role of Relationships for Prevention and Well-Being (Society for Prevention Research 27th Annual Meeting)

3-059 Investigating the Interpersonal in Adolescence: Understanding the Critical Role of Relationships for Prevention and Well-Being

Thursday, May 30, 2019: 3:00 PM-4:30 PM
Seacliff C (Hyatt Regency San Francisco)
Theme: Promoting Health Equity and Decreasing Disparities
Symposium Organizer:
Sophia Hwang
This symposium highlights the role of relationships, both as a form of prevention and intervention, across critical contexts for adolescents. A growing body of evidence reveals that adolescence is a time of vulnerability and opportunity; additionally, challenges during this developmental period may be exacerbated for youth experiencing poverty, violence, institutional racism, and other environmental stressors (World Health Organization & Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, 2014). Interpersonal relationships with peers, parents, teachers, and other adults can either serve as protective factors orexacerbate risk. Therefore, this symposium presents three papers that aim to provide (1) an understanding about relationships in spaces where adolescents live, socialize, and learn, (2) insights into specific developmental windows for targeted prevention and intervention efforts, and (3) innovative approaches to promote social engagement and increased interpersonal effectiveness.

The first paper, “Prevalence, Nature, and Impact of Relational Support in Early Adolescence” examines relational support for a national sample of eighth graders. Using latent class analyses, the various sources of relational support (from adults and peers) across various contexts (home, school, and community) will besystematically classified. Causal impacts of each relational support profile on psychosocial and academic outcomes will be estimated using quasi-experimental methods.

The second paper, “Centering Teacher-Student Relationships: A Holistic Approach to Understanding the Role of Teacher Bias and Student Perspectives,” investigates teacher-student relationships via experimental and applied research efforts. Focusing on the role of teacher bias and student perspectives provides a nuanced understanding of how relational dynamics may address racial disparities in schools.

The third paper, “The Right to Healthy Relationships: Emphasizing Consent in Child Sex Trafficking Prevention Education,” presents findings from a classroom-based prevention curriculum co-developed with teachers, students, and administrators in a research-practice partnership. This intervention aims to support youths’ healthy relationships by applying an empowerment lens to the problem of child sexual exploitation.

The discussant, a clinical-community psychologist with expertise in community- and school-based interventions, social-emotional learning, and prevention science will facilitate a conversation highlighting cross-cutting themes. This includes the promotion of adolescent well-being, addressing socio-demographic disparities, and considering relationships as supportive resources. Practice and policy implications for prevention and intervention will be discussed.

* noted as presenting author