IAGG - ISSBD joint symposium
Life course influences on later life outcomes / social relations and cognitive functioning

Chair: Kristine J. Ajrouch, Eastern Michigan University, Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan, USA

Co-Chair: Antonucci, T.C., Life Course Development Program, University of Michigan, USA


Intergenerational transmission of trauma, out-of-home care, psychological wellbeing, loneliness, 1970 British Cohort Study
Schoon I.1, Parsons S.1,

1Centre for Longitudinal Studies, University College London, UK.

Life-Time Patterns of Cognitive Risk by Race, Class and Gender
Ajrouch K. J.1,2, Antonucci T.C.2, Webster N.2, Zahodne L.2

1Eastern Michigan University, USA
2University of Michigan, USA

The interplay of personality traits and social network characteristics in the subjective well-being of older adults.
Litwin H., Levinsky M.
Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel

Integrative Abstract

Discussant: Clemens Tesch-Roemer, German Centre of Gerontology, Germany

This symposium explores early influences on later life outcomes from childhood through old age. Schoon & Parsons (University College, London, Centre for Longitudinal Studies, UK) examine intergenerational transmission of trauma, out-of-home care, psychological well-being and loneliness. They use data from the 1970 British Cohort Study (BCS70) 2020 second Covid-19 Survey. They found that children of care leavers, that is those who were in care but then left it, did better than those who were themselves in care, although compared to those without care experience both groups had an increased risk of poorer adult outcomes. The findings point to both continuity and discontinuity of disadvantage. Ajrouch, Antonucci, Webster & Zahodne (Eastern Michigan University and University of Michigan) use the Social Relations Study, a regional US sample, to examine life time patterns of cognitive risk by race, class and gender. They find that being female, non-white and having a lower education were all associated with increased cognitive risk from 1992 to 2015, and that the predictability of social position was similar across age. Litwin and Levinsky (The Hebrew University, Israel) use the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe to examine the relative influence of personality traits and social networks on well-being outcomes. They find the former accounts for more variance than the latter but that certain social network characteristics offset dysfunctional personality attributes and improve well-being in late life. In sum, longitudinal data from the United Kingdom, the United States, and Israel clearly indicate the association of early life experiences on later life outcomes. All studies firmly point to the long-term outcome on health and well-being in later life.

EARA-ISSBD joint symposium
Identity Development in the Context of Daily Experiences, Life Events and Transitions

Chair: Susan Branje, Department of Youth and Family, Utrecht University, The Netherlands


To master means to commit? Reciprocal links between educational identity and perceived school goal structures over two years in high school
Erentaitė, R. 1, Vosylis, R. 1,2, Christiaens, A. H. T. 3, & Branje, S. 3

1 Kaunas University of Technology, Lithuania
2 Mykolas Romeris University, Lithuania
3 Utrecht University, The Netherlands

Identity development across the transition from primary to secondary school: The role of personality and the social context
de Moor, E. L., Van der Graaff, J., & Branje, S.
Utrecht University, The Netherlands

Towards Educational Identity coherence: The role of secondary school transition and interpersonal relationships
Christiaens A., Becht A., Branje S.
Utrecht University, The Netherlands

Identity processes and success in developmental tasks during the transition from emerging to young adulthood
Salmela-Aro K., Mannerström R.
University of Helsinki, Finland

Integrative Abstract

This symposium brings together four presentations from Finland, Lithuania, and The Netherlands on identity development during adolescence and young adulthood in the context of daily experiences and relationships. The focus of the symposium is how daily experiences and life events shape identity development. For both daily experiences and life events and transitions, the different presentations focus on the most important contexts in adolescents’ and young adults’ lives, that is, relationships with family members and friends and the school context.
The first presentation will use four waves of a large longitudinal study among adolescents to examine whether school interactions that are supportive of mastery goals facilitate higher commitment and more in-depth identity exploration, and whether school interactions supportive of performance goals facilitate more in-breadth and ruminative exploration. The second study focuses on how identity develops during the transition from primary to secondary school and whether adolescent personality and support from parents and friends impact this development. The third presentation examined whether adolescents are more likely to make a progressive developmental shift from crisis to identity coherence during school transitions compared to times when adolescents’ are not required to change their educational path, and whether support from parents and friends helps in developing identity coherence. The fourth presentation focuses on how identity processes develop during young adulthood and how that development is affected by four salient life transitions, that is leaving parental home, marriage/cohabitation, becoming a parent and achieving an education-related full-time job.
Together, the different studies will shed light on the role of adolescents’ and young adults’ context in identity development. A discussion with the audience is organized about the way that daily experiences and life events and transitions affect identity development.

SRCD-ISSBD Joint Symposium
Preparing for the Transition to Adulthood: Intrapersonal Strengths, Uncertainties, & Economic Contexts

Chair: Nancy E. Hill, Ph.D., Harvard University, USA


Cohort differences in the development of civic engagement from mid- to late adolescence
Buchmann, M. 1, Grütter, J. 2

1 University of Zurich, Jacobs Center for Productive Youth Development
2 University of Konstanz, Empirical Educational Research

Inter-relations between academic engagement, aspirations, and race-related experiences and beliefs
Hughes D. L.
New York University, USA

The Significance of Identity Belongingness and Sense of Community in School and Work Settings for Muslim American Youth’s Wellbeing
Cheah C.S.L.1, Gürsoy H.1, Zong X.1,

1Department of Psychology, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, U.S.A.

Career ready? Preparing young people for an uncertain future
Schoon I.1, Henseke G.1

1University College London

Integrative Abstract

The transition from adolescence to adulthood marks a significant milestone in human development. As youth launch from the families and establish themselves, their life opportunities are broadened or constrained by numerous ecological, economic, and sociocultural factors. Theories of the transition to adulthood indicate outline 5 key markers of adulthood: finishing one’s education, finding a job, leaving home, finding a life partner, & becoming a parent (Settersten & Ray, 2010). Compared to the middle of the 20th century, today, youth are reaching these markers at a later age (Aronson, Callahan, & Davis, 2015; Hill & Redding, 2021). These trends are evident across regions of the world but are especially true in urban areas and industrialized countries and for those who continue their educational training post high school (Hill & Redding, forthcoming). Numerous studies show that youth often seek to complete their education and start their career prior to reaching (e.g., Lee, Wickrama, O'Neal, & Prado, 2018). However, completing one’s education and starting a career is often dependent the societal factors, including economic opportunities, generational history, and racial and ethnic context.

Uncertainty, anxiousness, and loneliness are hallmarks the late adolescence and early adult years. Youth worry about their ability to provide for themselves and make meaning contributions to society. While that are adept as honing their aspirations, now they must make and embark on plan to succeed. Whereas the focus on the transition to adulthood is often on when youth reach the markers, we need to understand what youth need and how to equip them for their future.

To this end, this set of papers focuses on adolescents and young adults as they develop the skills and dispositions they need to succeed. Together, these papers focus on identity development and a sense of belonging, inspiring civic engagement and social justice, navigating career uncertainties, and fostering educational and career aspirations. This set of papers examines how the development of these skills and dispositions interacts with context—the economy, across generation, and racial/ethnic/religious contexts. These studies represent populations from three nations (UK, Switzerland, and the United States) and each examines diversity within their national contexts.

Specifically, Buchmann and Grütter examines how, in the context of growing individualization and delaying adulthood, relate to the development of civic engagement by comparing across two generations of Swiss youth (aged 15-18). Hughes longitudinal study of ethnicity diverse high school students (4 ethnic groups in the US) examines the interrelations and trajectories among aspirations and academic engagement, along with the impact youths’ race-related beliefs and experiences on their aspirations and engagement. Cheah, Gürsoy, & Zong examines Muslim-American young adults (ages 16-27) experiences with discrimination and its impact on sense of belonging and wellbeing. Finally, Schoon and Henseke, examines career uncertainties as they relate ambitions, and career related activities among a longitudinal sample of UK young adults (age 16-25). Together, these papers inform us on the ways in which context and psychosocial resources interact and influence youths’ as they come of age.

An SRA- ISSBD- ICDSS joint symposium
School: Social Spaces for Youth Risk and Opportunities for Positive Development of Youth in the United States and South American through School-Based Preventive Interventions

Chair: Velma McBride Murry, Vanderbilt University, USA


Reducing racial disparities in school discipline in the US
Barbarin O. A.
University of Maryland, College Park

Powering UP: A Social Cognitive and Contextual Intervention for Victims of Bullying;
Graham S.1, Echols L.2

1University of California, Los Angeles
2Missouri State University

Promoting Interpersonal Social Cohesion through a School-based Prosocial Intervention: Friendship Selection by Socioeconomic Status and Ethnicity;
Luengo-Kanacri P.1, Jiménez-Moya G.1, Christian Berger C.1 Palacios D.2

1Psychology Department, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile;
2Centro de Investigación en Sociedad y Salud, Facultad de Humanidades, Universidad Mayor, Chile

Educating for 21st Century Health Skill: The Compassionate Schools Project
Tolan P.
University of Virginia

Integrative Abstract

Social spaces of youth, including schools, have been and continue to be a key setting and system of influence for youth development. This symposium brings together a group of research scholars from the United States and South America to discuss findings from their school based preventive interventions designed to foster positive developmental outcomes for youth. The first presentation (Barbarin) will discuss ways in which school discipline strategies disproportionately affect African American youth and demonstrate effectiveness of psychosocial interventions and restorative justice practices to reduce the use of exclusionary disciplinary use in schools. The second presentation (Graham & Echols) addresses the lasting effects of peer harassment/bullying for youth and the benefit of Powering Up, an indicated preventive intervention, designed specifically to harness the power of influential prosocial peer friendships to foster positive development among victims of bullying. The third presentation (Luengo-Kanacri, Palacios, Jiménez-Moya, & Berger) demonstrates the efficacy of promoting interpersonal social cohesion and expanding peer friendship networks through school-based interventions to foster friendships to improve attitudes, social acceptance and sense of belongingness among students of different social economic statuses. The fourth presentation (Tolan) will present findings from a longitudinal school-based intervention demonstrating the efficacy of creating compassion and mindfulness in school as a vital pathway to foster personal, educational and social success. Each presenter will also comment on innovative strategies and lessons learned from conducting school-based preventive interventions during COVID-19. Velma McBride Murry will moderate and serve as discussant of the symposium.

EADP - ISSBD joint symposium
Personality traits in childhood, adolescence, and adulthoodt

Chair: Marcel Van Aken, Utrecht University, The Netherlands


The role of grit in academic achievement, school engagement, and burnout in adolescence: Person- and variable-oriented approaches
Salmela-Aro Κ., Tang X.
University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland

Parenting practices and resilience in adolescence: The moderating role of personality
Kaniušonytė G.1, Laursen B.2

1 Mykolas Romeris University, Vilnius, Lithuania
2 Florida Atlantic University, Florida, USA

Linking pathological personality traits and developmental tasks in vulnerable adolescents
Laceulle O.M., Koster N., Van Arkel R., Van der Heijden P., Van Aken M.A.G.
Utrecht University, The Netherlands

Predicting change in the Big Five personality traits from childhood to adulthood: The roles of academic and social competence and authoritative parenting
Shiner R.L.1, Allen T.A.2, Masten A.S.3

1 Colgate University, New York State, USA
2 Pennsylvania State University, Pennsylvania, USA
3 University of Minnesota, Minnesota, USA

Integrative Abstract

Personality traits are conceptualized as relatively enduring patterns of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that distinguish individuals from one another. Recent research on personality traits has indicated that such individual differences are closely connected with temperament traits assessed earlier in life and are relevant in development during childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. Personality traits have important consequences, in terms of both direct effects on life outcomes and indirect (moderating) effects on the relationships between external variables (such as parenting) and outcomes. Personality also shows clear relationships with dysfunction, in the case of pathological personality traits. And it has become clear that personality traits are not as stable as has been assumed for a long time, not even into adulthood.

All of these are compelling reasons to investigate the role of personality traits in development in this invited EADP-ISSBD symposium. In four presentations, recent research on personality development will be illustrated. Addressed will be ‘grit’ as a personality dimension related to school engagement and academic success; the moderating role of personality in parental influences on resilience; changes in the big five personality traits between childhood and adulthood, and the role of competence and parenting in these changes; and the link between developmental tasks and pathological personality traits in adolescence.

The Development of Empathy in the Early Years

Chair: Maayan Davidov, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel


Empathy and attention to faces in early childhood
Peltola M.1, Leppänen J.2, Orlitsky T.3, Davidov M.3

1 Human Information Processing Laboratory, Faculty of Social Sciences, Tampere University, Tampere, Finland
2 Department of Psychology and Speech-Language Pathology, University of Turku, Turku, Finland
3 The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel

The development of infant’s empathy for others’ distress and joy from 3 to 36 months
Davidov M.1, Paz Y.1, Orlitsky T.1, Roth-Hanania R.2, Uzefovsky F.3, Zahn-Waxler C.4

1 The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel
2 Tel Aviv-Yaffo Acadeic College, Tel Aviv, Israel
3 Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beersheba, Israel
4 University of Wisconsin–Madison, Madison, Wisconsin, USA

Preschool children develop a concept of empathic concern
Paulus M., Christner N., Sticker R., Pletti C., Wörle M.
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Munich, Germany

The genetic and environmental origins of individual differences in empathy
Knafo-Noam A.1, Abramson L.1,2, Uzefovsky F.3, Markovitch N.1, Rum Y.4, Toccaceli V.5

1 The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel
2 Columbia University, New York, USA
3 Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beersheba, Israel
4 University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK
5 Italian National Institute of Health, Rome, Italy

Integrative Abstract

Empathy is essential for adaptive socio-emotional functioning. It plays key roles in facilitating prosocial behavior and harmonious interpersonal relationships, and is implicated in the development of morality (Batson, 1991; Eisenberg, et al., 2015; Malti, et al., 2009; Vaish, et al., 2009). Understanding the development of empathy, particularly during infancy and early childhood, is therefore of great interest, both for gaining better theoretical understanding of how empathic abilities develop in the first years of life, and for prevention and intervention efforts seeking to enhance children’s positive social adjustment. This invited symposium presents multiple lines of work, addressing different aspects of empathy and their early development. Mikko Peltola will present projects examining the links between infants’ attentional biases to faces and their empathy and subsequent prosocial responding. Maayan Davidov will present the results of a longitudinal study examining the development of empathic concern (for others in distress) and empathic happiness (for other’s joy) from 3-months to 36-months. Markus Paulus will present work on how young children think about empathy – whether they view it as a norm and how their perceptions are manifested. And Ariel Knafo-Noam will present findings regarding genetic and environmental contributions to affective and cognitive empathy, in the early years of life and beyond. Together, the symposium will help shed new light on the early development of children’s empathic capacity and its multiple forms and expressions, and will highlight promising avenues for future research.

Mother-Infant Synchrony: From Behaviors to Brains

Chair: Gianluca Esposito, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, University of Trento, Trento, Italy


Brain-to-Brain Synchrony in Caregiver-Infant Interactions
Esposito G.1,2, Bornstein M.H.3

1 Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
2 University of Trento, Trento, Italy
3 Institute for Fiscal Studies, London, UK

Mother-Infant Synchrony in Naturalistic Environment
Bizzego A.
University of Trento, Trento, Italy

Integrative Abstract

Synchrony, the temporal coordination of discrete micro-level signals between dyadic partners, is a mechanism by which the physiology and behavior of mother and child are coordinated into a selective affiliative bond that matures into an enduring attachment. Behavioral synchrony between mothers and their infants has been observed as early as 3-months during face-to-face interactions. A higher incidence of interactional synchrony, marked by shared similar emotions and mutual engagement and turn-taking, is indicative of dyads where partners are sensitively attuned to one another. Mother-child synchrony subserves interpersonal emotional co-regulation which contributes to the child’s emotional self-regulation and adaptive physiological responsiveness to social stress. Symposium presenters analyze the concept of synchrony from behavioral to neural to genetic levels.

Socio-Cognitive Competencies in Child-Robot Interaction

Chair: Shoji Itakura, Doshisha University, Kyoto, Japan

Co-Chair: Antonella Marchetti, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Milano, Italy


The developmental origins of sense of justice
Kanakogi Y.
Department of Psychology, Otemon Gakuin University, Ibaraki, Japan

Moral evaluation of human and robot victimizers in Italian and Japanese preschoolers: a cross-cultural study
Manzi F. 1,2, Di Dio C. 1,2, Massaro D. 1,2, Gummerum M. 3, Itakura S. 4, Kanda T. 5,6, Ishiguro H. 6,7, Marchetti A. 1,2

1 Research Unit on Theory of Mind, Department of Psychology, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Milan, Italy
2 Human-Robot Laboratory, Department of Psychology, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Milan, Italy
3 Department of Psychology, University of Warwick, Warwick, UK
4 Centre for Baby Science, Doshisha University, Kyoto, Japan
5 Human-Robot Interaction Laboratory, Graduate School of Informatics, Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan
6 Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute International, Hiroshi Ishiguro Laboratories and Intelligent Robotics and Communication Laboratories, Kyoto, Japan
7 Department of Adaptive Machine System, Osaka University, Toyonaka, Japan

Educational Robotics to Foster and Assess Social Relations in Students Groups
Ponticorvo M. 1 , Miglino O. 1,2

1 Natural and Artificial Cognition Lab, Department of Humanistic Studies, University of Naples,“Federico II”, Naples, Italy
2 Institute of Cognitive Sciences and Technologies, National Research Council, Rome, Italy

Robots as Easy Communication Partners of Children
Yoshikawa Y.
Graduate School of Engineering Science, Osaka University, Suita, Japan

Integrative Abstract

In this symposium, we focus on the socio-competences in infants and children to perceive the relationship among nonhuman agents, such as a robot and geometric figures. We have four contributors.

First contribution by Kanakogi present two studies that investigated infant morality, especially a sense of justice. He demonstrates that preverbal infants affirm third-party interventions that protect victims from aggressors. Then he shows investigating the developmental origins of how to behave toward third-party punishment for antisocial others. Finally he discusses the possibility that admiration for justice and disposition to do such action may be engraved in preverbal infant’s mind.

The cross-cultural study by Manzi and colleagues aims to examine the moral judgment and emotion attribution of a group of 5-year-old, when the violator of the moral norms is another child or a robot, showing that children attribute more positive emotion to the victimizer independent of agency and that children judged the robot victimizer as more “bad” than the human victimizer.

In the Miglino’s paper he described an example of how Educational Robotics can be useful to foster and assess social relations in Italian students of middle school. The results indicate that educational robotics can effectively foster relations between students and allow to portrait group dynamics in a synthetic and manageable way.

The last contribution by Yoshikawa shows the use of a small humanoid robot called CommU (Communication Unity) that is can be a friend of individuals with certain weaknesses (Autism Spectrum Disorders) and children. The use of CommU in a science museum for children show that it can be an effective partner, providing a stronger sense of conversation to users.

Constructing supernatural beliefs: The role of cognitive and social factors

Chair: Nikos Makris, Democritus University of Thrace, Greece,
Editor-in-Chief of PSYCHOLOGY: the Journal of the Hellenic Psychological Society

Co-Chair: Dimitris Pnevmatikos, University of Western Macedonia, Greece

Discussant: Paul Harris, Harvard University, USA


Inhibitory control in children understanding supernatural minds
Makris N.1, Pnevmatikos, D. 2

1 Democritus University of Thrace, Greece
2 University of Western Macedonia, Greece

The role of religious exposure in children’s conceptualization of the unobservable
Corriveau, K.H. 1, Payir A. 1, McLoughlin N. 2, Davood T. 3, Clegg J. 3, Cui Y.K. 1

1 Boston University, USA
2 University of Kent, UK
3 Texas State University, USA

Religious Variation in Anthropomorphism of God
Richert R.
University of California, Riverside

Integrative Abstract

How children construct supernatural beliefs has attracted the interest of developmental psychologists as this question is considered to be of particular importance for the full explanation of human cognition. Supernatural beliefs are no longer regarded as childish ones which are to be abandoned in the course of maturation. On the contrary, a large body of empirical evidence shows that the construction of these concepts is based on both cognitive and social factors. In the symposium, three studies are presented aiming at revealing the role of these factors on the construction of supernatural beliefs. Specifically, Makris and Pnevmatikos present a study on the role of inhibitory control in the development of children’s discrimination between human and supernatural minds. Corriveau and her colleagues present a study on how parental testimony influences the knowledge that children from different cultural backgrounds acquire about unobservable scientific and religious phenomena. Richert presents a study on the effect of religious background in children’s attributions of four anthropomorphism’s aspects to God. The symposium is discussed by Paul Harris.

Protecting the victims and reducing their suffering: a significant challenge for cyberbullying prevention interventions

Chair: Ersilia Menesini, Department of Education, Languages, Intercultures, Literatures, and Psychology, Florence University, Italy

Discussant: Sandra Graham, University of California Los Angeles, USA


Rethinking cyberbullying intervention implementation to support teachers to prevent and help targets of cyberbullying
Cross D.1,2, Pearce N.2

1University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia
2Telethon Kids Institute, Nedlands, Australia

Cybervictimization and Non-Suicidal Self-Injury: the impact of an antibullying program
Nocentini A., De Luca L., Menesini E.
Department of Education, Languages, Intercultures, Literatures, and Psychology, University of Florence, Florence, Italy

Effects of the Preventive Intervention Program "Media Heroes" on Offline and Online Victimization-Related Outcomes
Hess M.1, Schultze-Krumbholz A.2, Scheithauer H.3

1German University of Health and Sports, Berlin, Germany
2Technische Universität Berlin, Berlin, Germany
3Fre Universität Berlin, Berlin, Germany

Integrative Abstract

Cybervictimization is now recognized as a significant risk factor that compromises individual wellbeing and adjustment. Victims in the cyber context show high levels of anxiety, depression, suicidal ideation, stress, fear, low self-esteem, feelings of anger and frustration, helplessness, irritability, somatization, sleep disorders, all of which affect their academic performance and social adjustment.

Many studies have focused on both bullying and victimization reduction (Gaffney et al.2020) but not so frequently on the impact of these interventions on possible short and long term-outcomes for victimized students. How and to what extent cyberbullying interventions are effective in reducing anxiety, depression and other psychological symptoms of students victimized by their peers in the short and long term?

This symposium tries to give an answer to this issue, bringing together scholars working on cyberbullying interventions in different continents with the purpose of studying how they can effectively reduce victims’ suffering. Specifically, Cross et al., reporting the results of their intervention in Australia, will explain how to enhance the quality and quantity of teachers’ implementation of cyberbullying interventions and reduce the suffering of the victims. Nocentini et al. will illustrate how the reduction of cybervictimization experiences prevents victims’ suffering and non suicidal self-injury, as shown in the Italian Notrap! intervention. Hess et al. from Germany will show how the Media Heroes (Medienhelden) program can be effective to reduce cyber- and traditional bullying victimization and in turn internalizing symptoms. The discussion of Sandra Graham will highlight the mechanisms and the new directions in the area of interventions to reduce victim's suffering and potentially buffering the destructive processes associated with the online attacks.

Looking Back and Thinking Forward. From Scientific Evidence to Interventions Promoting Resilience Among War-Traumatized Children and their Families

Chair: Brit Oppedal, Norwegian Institute of Public Health Oslo, Norway

Discussant: Julie Robinson, PhD, Adjunct member of academic staff. Flinders University College of Education, Psychology and Social Work, Australia


Supporting Resilience Among Unaccompanied Refugee Minors in Transition to Resettlement
Oppedal, B.1 , Akram, M.2 , Sivabalan, S.2 , Solhaug, A. K1

1 Senior researcher, Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Norway
2 Refugee advisor CASaRM

A Game-based Intervention to Address Refugee Children’s Educational Needs: Project Hope
Sirin S. R.
New York University, USA

The PIA Project - Promoting Integration and Adjustment of Newly Arrived Youth and their Families
Özdemir, M.,1 Andresson, M.,2 Bayram Özdemir, S.,1 Enebrink, P.,2 Ghaderi, A.,2 Gislason, B.,3 Kimber, B.4 & Oppedal, B.5

1Örebro University, Sweden
2Karolinska Institutet, Sweden
3Stockholm, Sweden
4Umeå University, Sweden
5Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Norway

Integrative Abstract

About half of the refugees and asylum-seekers worldwide are children, some being together with their parents, while others travel unaccompanied by any adult caretakers. They represent substantial variation in cultural background, age, time passed since flight started, and relocation contexts. Research has confirmed elevated psychopathology among refugee children, and challenges in bridging the educational gaps resulting from break-down of educational institutions in the countries of origin, prolonged flight, and lack of schools in countries of first arrival. Following the so-called refugee-crisis of 2015, there has been increasing demands for new interventions that accommodate the particular needs and contexts of refugee children, and promote their quality of life, including academic achievement, supportive relationships, and mental well-being.

In this symposium we present three novel universal interventions tailored to three different groups of refugee children and youth, in three different cultural contexts, all built on a strength-based approach to promote positive adaptation outcomes.

Oppedal’s study combines information from empirical research with information from discussions with refugee advisors with background as unaccompanied asylum-seeking minors (URM) to suggest measures to support resilience among URM during transition to resettlement in local communities after they receive residence in Norway.

Özdemir presents a new manualized, holistic intervention to promote integration and adaptation among recently arrived refugees and their parents in Sweden, based on theory, empirical research and interviews with recently arrived youth and parents.

In the third presentation, Şirin shows that an online, game-based learning intervention for refugee children in Turkey can teach them much needed cognitive and language skills and give them hope for the future.
Robinson’s discussion centers on the commonalities among these interventions, the potential of implementing them in other cultural contexts, and the role of universal interventions in a stepped care plan to promote quality of life among children and youth in refugee contexts.

The School Experiences of LGBTQ+ Children & Youth

Chair: Stephen Russell, University of Texas at Austin, USA


Knowledge and Attitude of Sexual and Gender Minorities among Japanese Junior and High School Students
Kasai M.
Naruto University of Education, Naruto, Japan

Greater Advocacy by Gender-Sexuality Alliances over the School Year Attenuates Sexual Orientation Disparities in Depression at the Year’s End
Poteat V.P.1, Finch E.K.1, Sherwood S.H.2, Rosenbach S.B.2, Yoshikawa H. 2, Calzo J.P.3

1 Boston College, Massachusetts, USA
2 New York University, New York, USA
3 San Diego State University, California, USA

A European cross-national study on LGBTQ students’ experiences
Ioverno S., Van Houtte M., Dewaele A., Buysse A.
Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium

Homophobic victimization and academic functioning in Brazil: school context matters
Cunha J.1, Santo J.B.2

1 Federal University of Parana, Parana, Brazil
2 University of Nebraska at Omaha, Nebraska, USA

Integrative Abstract

There has been growing attention in developmental scholarship to the lives and experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQ+) children and youth. This scholarly attention has been parallel to dramatic shifts in public attention to LGBTQ+ people and lives over recent decades. Today many LGBTQ+ youth come out at school, yet homophobia remains common for individual experiences of victimization as well as in the climate of schools. This symposium includes scholars from around the world who investigate the school experiences of LGBTQ+ students. The four studies come from new large-scale samples, each with distinct design advantages. Each focuses on student attitudes or adjustment, and three directly account for school-level climate. Two are designed based on general samples of students; two on samples of LGBTQ+ students. The first paper investigates knowledge and attitudes about LGBTQ+ people and issues in a general sample of students in Japan. The second paper uses a sample of LGBTQ+ students from the United States to examine how supportive student organizations attenuate depression over the course of a school year. The third paper investigates school and community influences on the wellbeing of LGBTQ+ students in schools across Europe. The fourth paper explores how school climate for diversity shapes the association betweenhomophobic bullying and academic achievement in a large sample of Brazilian schools. The papers in this symposium represent distinct approaches to the use of large-scale surveys and together, advance understanding of the experiences of LGBTQ+ students in schools around the world.

Overcoming the Treatment Gap: Reaching Refugee Children through Community-Based Mental Health Intervention

Chair: Michael Pluess, Department of Biological and Experimental Psychology, Queen Mary University of London, UK


High Need but Low Uptake of Available Psychological Services: Predictors and Reasons for the Treatment Gap in Syrian Refugee Children
Pluess M.1, McEwen F.1, Popham C.1, Bosqui T.2,3, Hanna E.2, Hadfield K.3, Chehade N.4, Moghames P.4, Karam E.5

1 Queen Mary University of London, London, UK
2 American University of Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon
3 Trinity College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
4 Médecins du Monde, Beirut, Lebanon
5 Balamand University and Institute for Development, Research, Advocacy and Applied Care (IDRAAC), Beirut, Lebanon

Family-focused interventions to reduce distress and promote wellbeing in adolescents living in adversity
Brown F.L.1,2, Bosqui T.3, Elias J.4, Farah S.3, Mayya A.3, Ali R.4, Meksassi B.4 Sayed Ahmad L.5, Jordans M.1,2 on behalf of the Nurturing Families study team, and the Family-Focused Psychosocial Support study team.

1 Research and Development Department, War Child Holland, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
2 Amsterdam Institute of Social Science Research, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
3 American University of Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon
4 War Child Holland, Beirut, Lebanon
5 War Child Holland, Amman, Jordan

Building Low Intensity Psychosocial Support for Syrian Refugees in Istanbul
Weine S.M.1, Polutnik C.1, Arënliu A.2, Görmez V.3,4

1 Department of Psychiatry, University of Illinois at Chicago, USA
2 Department of Psychology, Univeristy of Prishtina "Hasan Prishtina", Pristina, Kosovo
3 Istanbul Medeniyet University, Istanbul, Turkey
4 Turkish Red Crescent, Turkey

Engaging Syrian refugee young adults as community mental health workers in Lebanon
Nakkash R.1, Afifi R.2

1 Global and community Health Department, College of Health and Human Services, George Mason University, USA
2 Community and Behavioral Health Department, College of Public Health, University of Iowa, USA

Integrative Abstract

The world is currently witnessing the highest levels of displacement in decades with more than 82 million people forced from home. About 42% of them are younger than 18 years (UNHCR, 2020). Besides having experienced traumatic war events, many refugee children end up living in adverse and challenging conditions. It is well established that refugee children are at risk for the development of mental health problems and in need of psychological support and treatment. However, mental health services in these settings are often very limited and difficult to access. But even in cases where treatment is available, many children with significant mental health problems never get treated. There are various reasons for this treatment gap, such as logistic and financial challenges as well as cultural factors that prevent affected families from seeking help. These challenges are difficult to address with conventional mental health services, which tend to be provided by mental health specialists in centralised primary health care centres. The four papers included in this symposium focus on the development and evaluation of new community-based mental health approaches that have the potential to significantly reduce the treatment gap in refugee populations.

The first paper provides new data on the treatment gap in a large sample of Syrian refugee children living in Lebanon, including information on assessed and perceived need for treatment as well as reasons for not accessing mental health services. The second paper presents two studies on the development and mixed-methods evaluation of a new brief family-focused intervention module in several Middle Eastern settings. The third paper focuses on the development and pilot testing of a new transdiagnostic family intervention for Syrian refugees living in Istanbul, Turkey. Finally, the fourth paper describes the process of engaging young adult Syrian refugees as community mental health workers in Lebanon.


Digital use and psychosocial adaptation across the life-span: double-edged sword

Chair: Katariina Salmela-Aro, University of Helsinki, Finland

Discussant: Frosso Motti-Stefanidi, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece


Leisure, Digital and Social Media Use in Adolescence: Relationships to Psychosocial Adaptation
Weichold K., Endler P.
University of Jena, Germany

Longitudinal Trajectories, Social Antecedents, and Outcomes of Problematic Internet Use among Late Adolescents
Salmela-Aro K1., Lauri Hietajärvi L.2

1University of Helsinki, Finland
2Istvan Toth-Kiraly and Alexandre Morin Concordia University, Canada

Internet gaming disorder behaviours: a preliminary exploration of individualism and collectivism profiles
Stavropoulos V.1, Frost T. M. J.1, Brown T.1, Gill P.1, Footitt T. A.1, Kannis-Dymand L.2

1Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia
2The University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

Integrative Abstract

Three studies focusing on digital use and psychosocial adaptation across the life-span shed light on the complexity of digital use and their outcomes on socio-emotional and motivational functioning revealing both positive and negative findings. The first presentation examines early adolescents’ digital use and psychosocial adaptation in Germany. The results show that most early adolescents spend their leisure often at home playing video games, watching TV, listening to music, watching videos or the usage of social media. About half play online-games, with about every fifth of the adolescents being involved in violent computer games – particularly boys. Being very often online during leisure related to lowest positive psychosocial adaptation, while adolescents with moderate use of digital/social media showed the most positive outcomes, pointing to both, developmental advantages, but also to risks of digital/social media use during adolescence, in particular, if digital and social media dominate the lives of adolescents. The second presentation examines digital use and psychosocial adaptation from early adolescents to young adulthood in Finland during late adolescence in a sample of 1750 late adolescents from Finland over a three-year period. We document the social (loneliness, perceived maternal and paternal behaviors) and individual (sex) antecedents, and the outcome implications (depressive symptoms, substance use, academic achievement) of problematic internet use (PIU) trajectories. Latent curve modeling revealed an initially elevated, but subsequently decreasing trajectory of PIU. PIU was positively predicted by loneliness, paternal overprotection, and being male, and negatively predicted by maternal care. The third presentation examines the associations between internet gaming disorder (IGD), stress and cultural orientation including adult gamers (18-72 years) from the USA, UK and Australia. The results suggests that higher stress symptoms act to increase IGD risk. These studies shed light on the complexity of socio-digital participation and their related outcomes as socio-emotional and motivational functioning revealing both positive and negative findings. Professor Frosso Motti-Stefanidi will act as the discussant.

Positive Development in Settings of Political Violence and Armed Conflict

Chair: Taylor L.K., University College Dublin, Ireland


Artesanos de paz: a qualitative evaluation of an arts-based intervention for conflict-affected children and youth in Colombia.
Pineda-Marìn C., Sandoval Escobar M., Alfonso Murcia D.
Fundación Universidad Konrad Lorenz, Colombia

Shaping the intergroup attitudes of children and youth: lessons from post-conflict and non-conflict settings in Croatia.
Čorkalo Biruški D., Kapović I.
University of Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia

The shadow of war: parental competitive victimhood and children’s intergroup contact intentions in four post-accord societies in Europe.
Taylor L. K.1, Corbett B.2, Malku E.3, Tomašić Humer J.4, Tomovska Misoska A.5, Dautel J.2

1University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
2Queen’s University Belfast, Belfast, Northern Ireland
3Deputy Ministry for Education, Kosovo
4University of Osijek, Osijek, Croatia
5University American College Skopje, Republic of North Macedonia

Effects of parental risks and positive parenting practices on early child development among offspring of adult war-affected youth in Sierra Leone.
Su S., Desrosiers A., Antonaccio C. M., Brennan R. T., Betancourt T. S.
Boston College, Massachusetts, USA

Integrative Abstract

The widespread, negative effects of political violence and armed conflict on children and adolescents is well documented (Cummings et al., 2017; Jahnke et al., 2021; Kadir et al., 2019). Complementing this word, the symposium focuses on the processes and outcomes related to positive development for children in such settings. The aim is to highlight the resources, strengths and resilience processes at play across different contexts and settings.

Paper 1 is a qualitative evaluation of an art-based, participatory peacebuilding intervention with conflict-affected children in Colombia. Across the 120 children, aged 9 to 17, there were improvements in empathy and anger management. Paper 2 presents a within-country comparison of children’s intergroup attitudes and behaviours, comparing contexts that were conflict-affected and not. Analyses of 1,568 elementary and high school students, comparing majority to four ethnic minority groups, found that interethnic attitudes and behavioral intentions were more negative in the setting with the history of conflict in Croatia. Paper 3 adopts a cross-site comparison, considering if majority/minority group status moderates the link from parents to children. More specifically, it finds that parental competitive victimhood (i.e., their ingroup suffered more than the outgroup during the conflict) is negatively associated with children’s intergroup contact intentions in four post-accord societies in Europe: Croatia, Kosovo, Northern Ireland, and Republic of North Macedonia. Paper 4 also adopts an transgenerational approach. This paper examines family functioning and early child development of 197 children born to war-affected youth in Sierra Leone.

Together, these four papers weave together findings from the Global North and South, across generations, and comparing multiple contexts to shed light on factors and processes that may promote positive development for the 426 million children living in conflict zones.