Child psychology, the effects of Ritalin, bullying and more

For your child and adolescent psychology term paper, consider researching psychology articles, books and databases for information on the social and emotional health of young people. Discussed here are some good research paper topics such as the over prescribing of Ritalin and diagnoses of ADHD, childhood depression, suicide awareness, teen suicide warning signs, and bullying.

Child and adolescent psychology offers many topics of interest. (Credit:

Child and adolescent psychology offers many topics of interest. (Credit:

Too much Ritalin?

In the 1960s, mental disorders were extremely rare among children, but today sources claim that one in eight children in the United States is mentally ill and 5.4 million children display the symptoms of ADHD. “It is primarily due to fuzzy diagnostic practices,” asserted Jerome Kagan, a Harvard psychologist and a leading expert in child development in “SPIEGEL Interview with Jerome Kagan: ‘What About Tutoring Instead of Pills?’” by Johann Grolle and Samiha Shafy in Der Spiegel, posted August 2, 2012.

“Every child who’s not doing well in school is sent to see a pediatrician, and the pediatrician says: ‘It’s ADHD; here’s Ritalin.’ In fact, 90 percent of these 5.4 million kids don’t have an abnormal dopamine metabolism. The problem is, if a drug is available to doctors, they’ll make the corresponding diagnosis,” said Kagan.

Kagan suggested psychiatrists should examine children for depression on their own, carry out a few tests and order an EEG. For previously ADHD diagnosed children, who most of the time are simply bored or distracted, try tutoring instead of pills. In all situations, psychiatrists “should ask what the causes are,” said Kagan.

Teen depression and suicide

Another good research paper topic is teen depression and suicide. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2012, 28 percent of teens were depressed and nearly 16 percent had seriously considered attempting suicide. It has been shown that untreated depression is the leading cause of teen suicide. Psychiatrists and counselors—as well as coaches, religious leaders, and teachers—should be trained to identify the warning signs and risk factors for depression and accompanying suicidal thoughts. Warning signs include actions or verbal signs such as statements or writings in which teens express a desire to hurt themselves, and stressful or upsetting situations.

In “Teen Depression and Suicide: Effective Prevention and Intervention Strategies,” from The Prevention Researcher, November 2012, researchers Keith A. King, and Rebecca A. Vidourek wrote: “A key component to effectively prevent teen depression and suicide is to build multiple protective factors. Feeling socially connected to others is one such protective factor that is directly associated with positive emotional health (Turner & Lloyd, 1999).”

Social connectedness among teens includes family connectedness, school connectedness, and community connectedness. Teens who have positive coping skills such as problem-solving skills, communication skills and conflict resolution skills are also better able to avert depression and suicidal thoughts.

How psychology affects bullying

Bullied children have been known to suffer from social and emotional problems such as anxiety and depression. But a new study from researchers at Duke Medicine published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences May 2014, found that children who are bullied also experience physical health problems well into adulthood. These health conditions, which stem from stress, include increased susceptibility to pain and illness, inflammation, metabolic syndrome, and cardiovascular disease.

In “Bullying may have long-term health consequences,” posted on Science Daily May 12, 2014, William E. Copeland, Ph.D., associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Duke University School of Medicine, said: “CRP levels are affected by a variety of stressors, including poor nutrition, lack of sleep and infection, but we’ve found that they are also related to psychosocial factors… We get a clearer understanding of how bullying could change the trajectory of CRP levels.” Victims of childhood bullying had much higher CRP levels as adults than those who were the bullies.

Check out Questia’s library on Child and Adolescent Psychology for more information.

What are some important topics today in the field of child and adolescent psychology?

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