Gender Senstive Factors in girls

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Information about Gender Senstive Factors in girls

Published on November 13, 2008

Author: rajivgakhar


Gender Sensitive Factors in Girls’ Delinquency : Gender Sensitive Factors in Girls’ Delinquency Support for this presentation comes from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) and the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Donna-Marie Winn, Ph.D. Duke University Center for Child and Family Policy Psychology, Social and Health Sciences Gayle Dakof, Ph.D. University of Miami Department of Epidemiology & Public Health Diana Fishbein, Ph.D. Research Triangle Institute Transdisciplinary Behavioral Science Program Shari Miller-Johnson, Ph.D. Duke University Center for Child and Family Policy Sanford Institute Research on Girls : Research on Girls Scarce: most delinquency studies focus on boys Correlates appear to be similar Not clear if the risk factors affect girls similarly Or risk factors may exert a similar influence but occur disproportionately Interpersonal and familial relationships may more profoundly influence girls’ behavior Even less research that accounts for ethnic differences between sexes Sample Characteristics : Sample Characteristics Adjudicated and Clinical Samples Concentrated with high risk girls Biases and differential referral processes Various segments of the CJS will differ due to system biases Best information for designing treatment strategies Community samples Indicative of general risk and protective factors Highlights ways in which different outcomes can emerge from similar influences Best information for designing prevention strategies Gender Specificity ≠ Sensitivity : Gender Specificity ≠ Sensitivity Specific = only specific to one gender (Menstruation) Sensitive = present in both genders, but more prevalent or functions differently Biological functions (testosterone) Psychological traits (depression, CD) Need to understand normal physical and psychosocial development of each gender Need to account for how development affects delinquent outcomes Short Story! : Short Story! Biology (aspects of genetics, brain development and function) affects behaviors Chronic stress increases risk for bad outcomes by negatively affecting brain development Once stressed, the individual is more sensitive to environmental triggers Early high risk behaviors are malleable Brain Development: Prefrontal Cortex : Brain Development: Prefrontal Cortex If the prefrontal area does not develop appropriately: Hard time understanding social situations and social cues “Why I always got to wait!!” Sees many situations and people as out to get them or hostile He dissed me!!! Gets mad easily “He meant to step on my shoe, so I punched him!” Is impulsive and inattentive Plays video games all day, but can’t focus in class Seems insensitive to consequences “Like I care!!” Heightened sensivity to reward in spite of consequences Drug abuse Brain Development: Emotional Regulation : Brain Development: Emotional Regulation Limbic system is regulated by prefrontal cortex If the Limbic System is not adequate communicating with the Prefrontal Cortex: Difficulty getting motivated Hard time regulating emotions Response to stress is dysregulated Decreased sensation leads to seeking highs (drugs) Poor self regulation Slide 8: Genetic defects Developmental delays Injury Metabolic errors Stress Causes of Disconnect between Prefrontal Cortex and the Limbic System Slide 9: Increases the likelihood of psychopathology: depression, drug abuse & violence Genetic vulnerabilities affect particular behavioral outcomes of stress Positive attributes of individual or environment is protective. Chronic stress primes the brain for risk behaviors and drug abuse Alters brain function, disengages coping mechanisms, and compromises ability to execute rational choices The Adolescent Brain : The Adolescent Brain Particularly vulnerable to environmental inputs, including stress and drug effects Effects are longstanding Prefrontal cortex not fully developed until early adulthood Unique stage of change in metabolism, pruning, and increased efficiency in prefrontal function Emotional centers (limbic) without checks and balances Greater sensitivity to rewards, less inhibition Seek altered states of consciousness Fundamental Imbalance in Puberty : Fundamental Imbalance in Puberty Rapid physical, endocrine, and social changes that create early affective motivations and challenges Gradual, later development of affect regulation and maturation of cognitive/self-control skills Emotional Capacity Pubertal drives and emotions; sensation seeking; risk taking; sensitivity to rewards, low self control Cognitive Capacity Planning; logic; reasoning, inhibitory control; problem-solving skills; capacity for understanding long-term consequences of behavior Adolescent Girls’ Disadvantages : Adolescent Girls’ Disadvantages Greater sensitivity to stressors, particularly familial Greater incidence of sexual abuse, dysfunctional familial relationships, maltreatment and other stressors among antisocial females relative to males Proneness to psychological and psychiatric illnesses: e.g., depression and anxiety Differences in development of amygdala and hippocampus heighten stress sensitivity Adrenal gland sensitivity negatively alters mood Estrogen amplifies stress responses, increasing mood disturbances Perception of greater stress than males Girls’ Advantages : Girls’ Advantages Larger Prefrontal Cortex  less acting out behaviors Advanced language and verbal skills More effective processing of social and emotional cues Female hormones protect against neurocognitive damage from stress “Tend and Befriend”, rather than “Fight and Flight” due to hormonal differences ADHD and Conduct Disorders : ADHD and Conduct Disorders Developmental delays: Males outnumber females by a 3:1 ratio Boys more hyperactive, girls more inattentive and less externalizing Presence of CD substantially compounds outcome: severity and early onset more similar to boys Boys more prone to both in response to stress than girls ADHD more persistent in girls, although less severe in community samples Family violence is related to ADHD in girls and predicts psychological and cognitive deficits Programmatic Implications : Programmatic Implications Need more research: Studies of ADHD in girls are sorely lacking Need greater sensitivity among professionals to the clinical features of ADHD in girls. Need greater clinical referrals and treatment, even when symptoms are not externalizing Need timely and comprehensive screening of ADHD (and other mental health concerns) in order to adequately address treatment needs for delinquent girls Basic Intelligence : Basic Intelligence Both boys and girls with lower IQs tend to be more delinquent Other factors that affect the link between IQ and delinquency Low Self esteem Poor School attitudes and performance Poor reaction of school staff towards girls (perceived) Negative family influences Deficits in abstract thinking interact with early pubertal maturation to increase risk for delinquency Programmatic Implications : Programmatic Implications Need assessments for targeted educational and vocational special needs programs Need cognitive therapies with a language base Need to better understand links between IQ and early puberty Cognitive and Emotional Regulatory Deficits : Cognitive and Emotional Regulatory Deficits Hot and Cool Cognition Cool = strictly cognitive processing of abstract and decontextualizing problems Hot = regulation of affect and motivation in performing a task or solving a problem Prefrontal-Limbic Circuitry – develops in early adulthood Girls develop this circuitry later than boys due to female hormones Girls have larger and more active PFC so can suppress externalizing behaviors but not internalizing Sources of delays: genetics, prenatal conditions, adversity, puberty and substance abuse Programmatic Implications : Programmatic Implications Programs to reduce child maltreatment Treatment for deficits resulting from substance misuse Parenting and family support programs to enhance cognitive reinforcements and bonding at home Programs to reduce maternal smoking School preparation programs for disadvantaged girls with cognitive and intellectual deficits Targeted remediation services in home and school Harm reduction approach during adolescence Alternative activities Early Pubertal Maturation : Early Pubertal Maturation Both biologically and socially challenging Disconnect between brain and body readiness Early hormone release increases neural excitation Stress profoundly influences early puberty Absence of biological father and familial instability Strongly related to disruptive behavior disorders, antisocial personality traits, and delinquency Affiliation with older boys Exposure to intimate partner violence More often sexually abused in the home Good parenting may mitigate negative effects Intimately interacts with psychological disorders Programmatic Implications : Programmatic Implications Family therapy and educational supports for families of divorce and entry of new male household figure Stress reduction programs under conditions of adversity or disadvantage Domestic violence and child abuse prevention programs Psychological and cognitive supports during early puberty for both child and caregivers Weight control Mental Health Issues : Mental Health Issues Greater incidence of internalizing disorders Less related to delinquency than externalizing disorders Depression and anxiety more prevalent, tho, in JJ girls Also more CD, ODD and SA than in community Over ¾ in JJ system with one or more disorders Predominantly untreated Rates of depression similar b/t sexes until puberty Co-occurring ECF & emotional regulation deficits Relationship with early puberty Triggered by stress: e.g., higher rates of PTSD Strong familial attachments may be protective Programmatic Implications : Programmatic Implications Comprehensive psychological assessment and appropriate treatment, as indicated Comprehensive psychological assessment and appropriate treatment, as indicated Comprehensive psychological assessment and appropriate treatment, as indicated Comprehensive psychological assessment and appropriate treatment, as indicated Remaining Research Questions : Remaining Research Questions How can we use information about girls’ brain development and function to improve outcomes? How might manipulations of the environment improve brain function and development? How can we use their advantages to increase resiliency (e.g. talkative, less acting out, and read social cues better)? What are the critical stages of development during which psychosocial conditions (e.g., stress) differentially exerts its effects on girls relative to boys? Can understanding brain-environment interactions help design interventions that impact at critical points in the developmental trajectory to alter risk status for girls?

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