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Cognitive Impairment in Hispanic Adults Linked to Discrimination Experiences

Cognitive Impairment in Hispanic Adults Linked to Discrimination Experiences

Black and Latino people experience higher rates of Alzheimer's disease and related dementias than non-Hispanic white people, but scientists have never known why. Now a new study shows that experiences with discrimination may be playing a role in disproportionate experiences of cognitive decline.

Young Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Adults Have Worse Mental Health than Older Ones

Young Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Adults Have Worse Mental Health than Older Ones

A new study by The University of Texas at Austin and the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law finds younger LGBQ adults are physically healthier but have worse psychological health than older LGBQ people.

Researchers examined a representative sample of LGBQ people in the United States from three age groups—young (18-25), middle (34-41), and older (52-59)—to assess how physical and mental health differed among the three generations. Researchers compared several indicators, including alcohol and drug abuse, general and physical health, mental health and psychological distress and positive well-being.

Results showed no difference among the groups in substance abuse or positive well-being. However, several differences were noted when data were analyzed by sexual minority subgroups and gender. Bisexual people were more likely to report drug abuse and have less happiness, social well-being, and life satisfaction compared with gay and lesbian people. Nonbinary people reported worse general health, more psychological distress, and less positive well-being compared to women.

How to Best Support LGTBQ Youth, According to Science

How to Best Support LGTBQ Youth, According to Science

Pride Month is a time of celebration every June. This year's commemoration also comes at a time of heightened attention to the mental health concerns of young LGBTQ people. Recent research has shown these youth may be experiencing more concerns than older LGBTQ people. 

We spoke with Stephen Russell, who leads the SOGI (sexual orientation and gender identity) Health and Rights Laboratory at UT Austin. A professor and chair of the Department of Human Development and Family Sciences, Director of the School of Human Ecology and its Amy Johnson McLaughlin Chair, Russell is one of the foremost experts on the development of LGBTQ young people. In conversation, he shared what everyone needs to know about supporting younger members of the LGBTQ community.

The University of Texas at Austin is Now Officially an Age-Friendly University

The University of Texas at Austin has joined the Age-Friendly University (AFU) Global Network, which consists of institutions of higher education around the world who have committed themselves to including adults of all ages in their programs and policies.

"Being recognized as an Age-Friendly University means that UT Austin is an inclusive environment providing education to midlife- and older adults as well as to young adults," says Karen Fingerman, professor of human development and family sciences, research director of the Center on Aging & Population Sciences and director of the Texas Aging & Longevity Center (TALC). "As an institution of higher education, we have sought to respond to the educational interests of adults in midlife, and the growing older population. UT is also at the cutting edge of research on adult development and aging, with strong community involvement with older populations."

Older Adults Are Happier When Space Matches Personality

Older Adults Are Happier When Space Matches Personality

The old saying, "Home is where the heart is," has some new science to back it up. A study has found photos of a person's living space can accurately point at personality traits and the mood of the people who live there, especially as a person gets older.

For the study, scientists at The University of Texas at Austin studied 286 people over the age of 65. They took photographs of the rooms where the subjects spent the most time (typically the living room) and found that certain characteristics of a person's personality were reflected in core elements of room décor. Applying the findings could help lead to happier lives, including for older adults with frailty or cognitive impairment that has led them to be transferred from their homes to long-term care facilities.

Evidence Against Physically Punishing Kids Is Clear, Researchers Say

Evidence Against Physically Punishing Kids Is Clear, Researchers Say

A conclusive narrative review has found physical punishment of children is not effective in preventing child behavior problems or promoting positive outcomes and instead predicts increases in behavior problems and other poor outcomes over time. The study by an international group of scientists including a researcher from The University of Texas at Austin was published today in The Lancet.

Caregivers in many parts of the world use physical punishment as a response to children's perceived misbehavior: 63% of children between the ages of 2 and 4 worldwide – approximately 250 million children – are regularly subjected to physical punishment by caregivers.

Twin Study Shows Why Physical Punishment Leads to Child Behavior Problems

Twin Study Shows Why Physical Punishment Leads to Child Behavior Problems

​Harsh parenting practices, not genetics, are linked to higher levels of behavior problems in children, according to a new study in the March 2021 volume of Psychological Science, which studied pairs of twins whose parents disciplined them differently.

Among identical twins whose genes match perfectly but whose parents punished each twin differently, the children who were spanked or yelled at more were more likely to show antisocial behavior.

Elders Who Live Alone See Benefits in Interacting with Others

Elders Who Live Alone See Benefits in Interacting with Others

For older adults living alone during the pandemic, in-person visits bring benefits to emotional wellbeing distinct from what they experience from phone calls or electronic communication, University of Texas at Austin researchers have found.

In a study out this month in the Journals of Gerontology Series B: Social Science, researchers surveyed 226 people age 69 and up in May and June 2020 to determine the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the lives of older adults. Of those surveyed, 81 lived alone and 145 lived with spouses, family or other people. Nearly all the older adults were taking safety precautions, sheltering in place and avoiding contact with people outside their home.

Political Controversies about Marginalized Groups Increase Bullying in Youths

Political Controversies about Marginalized Groups Increase Bullying in Youths

Scientists have uncovered new evidence that heated political discourse over proposed laws involving marginalized groups, such as debates about the rights of LGBT people, can contribute to an increase in bullying linked to students' identity in schools. It is the largest study to date to examine the link.

In a new study in the journal Pediatrics, scientists at The University of Texas at Austin, Columbia University and Texas State University found that in the run-up to a statewide voter referendum to ban gay marriage in California, young people reported significantly more homophobic bullying. In fact, homophobic bullying peaked that school year and declined after the public debate about the initiative in question, Proposition 8, subsided.

Starting Out Solo

Starting Out Solo

Much media coverage has focused on some millennials' "failure to launch," the term for when young adults live at home and get a great deal of support from their parents. Human Development and Family Sciences Professor Karen Fingerman wondered about another phenomenon—let's call it failure to latch. She wanted to know: What about the young adults who don't have parental support?

Interacting With More People is Shown to Keep Older Adults More Active

Interacting With More People is Shown to Keep Older Adults More Active

It's been said that variety is the spice of life, and now scientists say variety in your social circle may help you live longer. Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have found that older adults who spend more time interacting with a wide range of people were more likely to be physically active and had greater emotional well-being.

In a paper out Feb. 20 in the Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, researchers found that study participants who interacted more with family members and close friends, as well as acquaintances, casual friends, service providers and strangers were more likely to have higher levels of physical activity, less time spent sitting or lying around, greater positive moods and fewer negative feelings. It is the first study to link social engagement with physical activity throughout the day.

LGBTQ Youths Are Over-Represented, Have Poorer Outcomes in Child Welfare System

LGBTQ Youths Are Over-Represented, Have Poorer Outcomes in Child Welfare System

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youths are more likely to end up in foster care or unstable housing and suffer negative outcomes, such as substance abuse or mental health issues, while living in the child welfare system, according to new research from The University of Texas at Austin.

In a Feb. 11 paper in the journal Pediatrics, researchers looked at 593,241 youths living in California in grades 6-12. Less than 1 percent of the sample was living in foster care or unstable housing. But researchers found that more than 30 percent of the youths surveyed who were living in foster care identified as LGBTQ. More than 25 percent of those surveyed who were living in unstable housing, defined as living at a friend's house, motel, shelter or other transitional housing, identified as LGBTQ.

Top 3 Reasons to Apply to HDFS at UT

Are you considering applying to a top graduate program in human development or developmental psychology? Do you want to apply developmental science to improve the lives of all families? With outstanding faculty and advising, a wealth of resources for student development, and nestled in a dynamic city, the Human Development and Family Sciences Depar...

Fox 7 Interview with Dr. Aprile Benner on Racial and Ethnic Bias

​Racial and Ethnic Bias and its Impact on Health and WellbeingA new study conducted by researchers at The University of Texas at Austin shows young minorities who face discrimination based on their race or ethnicity may feel the impact on their health and wellbeing. Human Development and Family Sciences Associate Professor Dr. Aprile Benner di...
Racial and Ethnic Bias Leads to Lower Well-Being Among Adolescents

Racial and Ethnic Bias Leads to Lower Well-Being Among Adolescents

Racial and ethnic discrimination is problematic for all aspects of development — from mental and physical health to risky behaviors and academic success — particularly for Latinos, researchers at The University of Texas at Austin determined after analyzing findings from hundreds of previous studies on adolescents.

Racial and Ethnic Bias Leads to Lower Well-Being Among Adolescents

Racial and Ethnic Bias Leads to Lower Well-Being Among Adolescents

Racial and ethnic discrimination is problematic for all aspects of development — from mental and physical health to risky behaviors and academic success — particularly for Latinos, researchers at The University of Texas at Austin determined after analyzing findings from hundreds of previous studies on adolescents.

The latest study, published in the American Psychologist, considered 214 previous studies comprising 91,338 adolescents and measured 11 distinct indicators of well-being.

HDFS Professor Dr. Su Yeong Kim Named Incoming Editor of Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology Journal

We are pleased to announce that Dr. Su Yeong Kim has been named as the incoming editor of Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology (CDEMP), the journal of Division 45 of the American Psychological Association. She joins an esteemed group of previous editors: Drs. Michael Zarate, Gordon Nagayama Hall, Gail Wyatt, founding editor Lillian Com...

Childhood International Perspective: HDFS 2018 Maymester

​I remember sitting on the floor of DFW International Airport with strangers who would soon become close friends, talking about how surreal this experience that hadn't yet begun was going to be, how surreal it already was. Twenty-two students, myself included, enrolled in the Human Development and Family Sciences Maymester that would take us all ar...
Science in Film: "Won't You Be My Neighbor?"

Science in Film: "Won't You Be My Neighbor?"

Last month the documentary, "Won't You Be My Neighbor?" was released about the life and legacy of Fred Rogers. Rogers used his understanding of childhood development in order to teach children about emotional and social topics. Researchers at the Priscilla Pond Flawn Child and Family Laboratory at UT Austin discuss the techniques he used to ad...
Using Chosen Names Reduces Odds of Depression and Suicide in Transgender Youths

Using Chosen Names Reduces Odds of Depression and Suicide in Transgender Youths

In one of the largest and most diverse studies of transgender youths to date, researchers led by a team at The University of Texas at Austin have found that when transgender youths are allowed to use their chosen name in places such as work, school and at home, their risk of depression and suicide drops."Many kids who are transgender have chosen a ...