Advancing the Science of the Developing Brain
Quarterly updates focusing on sharing information about the incredible research being conducted at the Child Mind Institute.
November 20, 2023
2023 On the Shoulders of Giants Reaches Thousands Around the World
The Child Mind Institute hosted our 13th Annual On the Shoulders of Giants Scientific Symposium on October 12, 2023. This year’s virtual event attracted almost 3,000 registrants. In an impressive testament to the Child Mind Institute’s growing influence in global health, they came from locations all around the world.
This year’s symposium, which focused on the use of disruptive technologies to overcome healthcare disparities, honored Mary Jane Rotheram-Borus, PhD, who is a true innovator in the field and the winner of the 2023 Child Mind Institute Sarah Gund Prize for Research and Mentorship in Child Mental Health. The symposium, which celebrates seminal research contributions and mentorship in the scientific community, also featured presentations by Dr. Rotheram’s protégé Marguerita Lightfoot, PhD, and Dr. Lightfoot’s protégé, Chadwick K. Campbell, PhD, MPH. Following the talks, Peter Szatmari, MD, led a panel of experts tasked with addressing the important and challenging question, “Can technology break down barriers to mental health care delivery in low- and middle-income communities?
Parents Worldwide Support Pediatric Mental Health Screening
In a first-of-its-kind multinational survey, Child Mind Institute researchers assessed the attitudes of parents and caregivers toward pediatric mental health screenings. The study, conducted in 2021, surveyed parents and caregivers of children aged 5–21 across 19 English-speaking countries. There was an overwhelming amount of support among respondents (over 90 percent) for regular mental health screening, although many were uncomfortable with the idea of children taking assessments on their own. The survey also looked at respondents’ level of comfort discussing a variety of mental health topics, as well as which health care professionals they most preferred to speak with about mental health screening results. Many health care systems already are screening children for mental health concerns as part of primary care, and the findings of this research, published in JAMA Network Open, can drive improvements in implementation and increase the impact of those screening efforts.
Child Mind Institute Releases Report With Recommendations for Safeguarding Teens Online
A new report from the Child Mind Institute, “Helping Teens Make Their Online Spaces Safer,” based on research conducted by Child Mind Institute researchers and jointly supported by the Google Trust and Safety team and the Google Kids and Family team, provides recommendations for parents, policymakers, and the tech industry about how to safeguard teens online. Recommendations draw on findings from quantitative and qualitative studies of how teens experience online abuse, their willingness to report it, and the factors that affect reporting.
The study found that almost a third of teens who participated in the research had had an online experience that made them uncomfortable or scared within the last year. Not only were the majority of those teens unlikely to report their experience, but the ones who did were more likely to use online safety tools than to report it to a friend or caregiver. Teens with mental health concerns reported higher rates of negative experiences and were less likely to report them, while teens with positive parenting and higher social aptitude reported fewer negatives experiences and were more likely to report them.
Study Shines Light on Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Diagnosis of Psychotic Disorders
The Child Mind Institute’s vice president and director of research, Michael Milham, MD, PhD, collaborated with a team of researchers from UCSF and the NIMH to look at the incidence of psychotic disorders across race and ethnicity groups. The team conducted a retrospective analysis of medical data collected at Kaiser Permanente Northern California from 2009 to 2019. Results of the study, published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, shine a light on racial and ethnic disparities in the health care system. The analysis showed that both Black people and American Indian or Alaskan Native people are diagnosed with psychotic disorders at higher rates than white people. As individuals with psychotic disorders experience higher rates of other serious health issues and lower rates of healthcare utilization, it is important to continue to study these disparities and better understand the factors that contribute to them.
Adolescent Internet Addiction Associated With Parent Internet Addiction and Inconsistent Discipline
In 2022 a team of Child Mind Institute researchers set out to assess parent attitudes toward internet use by their teen children. They used previously validated questionnaires to design a 20-minute English-language survey, and administer it to parents of youth aged 9–15. Just over 1,000 U.S. parents anonymously completed the online survey.
Now, findings of that study have been published in JAMA Network Open. Data analysis revealed that teen internet addiction was related to both parent internet addiction and inconsistent discipline by parents. More parents had concerns about internet addiction than about substance addiction. Two of the biggest concerns parents expressed were about access to inappropriate content and cyberbullying. Despite those concerns, about half of parents reported that internet use increased family bonds.
Additional Items of Interest
Teaching Kids To Read: What Really Works
Download the 2023 Children’s Mental Health Report to learn about the science of reading and how to know if your child’s school is using a science-based approach.
Supporting Kids During Traumatic Events
The Child Mind Institute’s guide to helping children cope after a traumatic event is now available in 16 languages.
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