Georgetown University’s Safe Passages study endeavors to understand and root out the causes of gender-based violence. Building upon previous research showing that unequal gender roles contribute to gender-based violence such as rape and domestic abuse, the study offers several suggestions for reducing gender-based violence and undermining gender inequality. The study’s authors emphasize the role of male socialization to be aggressive, and point out that many boys rarely or never see men in nurturing, gentle roles. Similarly, female passivity is expected and encouraged, contributing to the acceptance of violence against women.
The study argues that attempts to undermine unequal gender roles must begin in early childhood. Parents and other adults who spend time with children should actively reflect on gender roles, and offer alternative narratives to the standard dichotomies and stereotypes of male and female behavior.
Race-based discrimination, according to a new study, can increase the risk of developing mental health issues. The study evaluated almost 4,500 African-American and Caribbean black participants ages 18 to 65, then compared their responses to a survey about discrimination to information about participants’ mental health. Eighty-three percent of all participants experienced discrimination in the last year. The study found that condescension and disrespect don’t lead to mental health issues, but when combined with hostility and character-based discrimination, disrespect can increase the risk of mental health challenges.
Walking, biking, or riding a train to get to work could improve mental health, according to a study of 18,000 British commuters between the ages of 18 and 65. Researchers found that a long commute negatively affected well-being, but physically active commutes and time on a train or subway had the opposite effect.
Job burnout can lead to negative mental health consequences, workplace stress, and other everyday challenges. While the right job and a good boss help, new research suggests that a supportive partner can also prevent burnout. By evaluating the mental health of nearly 2,000 employees working at 63 different companies, researchers found that mental health isn’t something that happens in isolation. Instead, everything about a day, including the home environment, can affect workers’ mental health.
Even very young children can be affected by depression, but parents may be hesitant to put preschoolers on medication. An ongoing study that aims to recruit 250 children between the ages of three and seven is testing out a medication-free approach to depression treatment called parent-child interaction therapy and emotion development. This novel approach requires 18 weeks of three-part therapy sessions during which parents receive specific directions about how to interact with their children. Some parent participants are already reporting improvements in their children’s behavior.
A study of 48 college students has found that data from a student’s phone can predict his or her state of mind. Researchers previously found that academic performance greatly differed among similarly qualified students. Using an app that collects data about everything from location to frequency of conversations with friends, researchers could correctly predict which students would struggle. The study’s authors argue that phones can evaluate mental health and hope that their research could be used to help struggling students and predict mental health challenges.
Previous research has found that more than half of all Americans believe in guardian angels, and a new study evaluated 198 people to understand how belief in angels might affect risk-taking behavior. Surprisingly, the study found that people who believed in guardian angels were actually less likely to take risks, suggesting that people who are risk-averse might be more likely to adopt beliefs about guardian angels.
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