Online Program

Adolescent cognitive function: Effects of adverse environments

Monday, November 4, 2013

Carissa Schmidt, MPH, Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, University of Michigan School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, MI
ISSUE: Research has consistently shown that adverse environments can lead to poor cognitive performance among adolescents. Discovering possible affects on cognitive performance is crucial because cognitive ability affects many aspects of life. For instance, it has an indirect effect on the health of an individual due to the cognitive role of decision-making. DESCRIPTION: The purpose of this paper was to critically review the emerging literature regarding the effects of adverse environments on the cognitive performance of adolescents who live in such environments. The adverse environments which were explored include: low socioeconomic status households, stressful home environments, home environments with drugs and abuse, and disadvantaged neighborhoods. Strengths and weaknesses of recent research were discussed, and a gap in the literature was identified. LESSONS LEARNED: An overwhelming amount of literature has shown that there are varying, yet, substantial negative effects on the cognitive function of adolescents who grow up in these adverse environments. RECOMMENDATIONS: There is a clear negative relationship between experiencing adverse environments as an adolescent and cognitive function. However, this critique pointed out the need to research protective factors for adolescents who are exposed to these adverse environments. Having a better understanding of protective factors would be beneficial to public health professionals when creating effective and developmentally appropriate interventions for adolescents.

Learning Areas:

Assessment of individual and community needs for health education

Learning Objectives:
Explain the connection between adolescent cognitive function and adolescent health outcomes. List different adverse environments that affect adolescent cognitive functioning. Discuss the importance of researching cognitive performance among adolescents as a public health professional.

Keyword(s): Adolescent Health, Adolescents

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: As a public health student, I have taken an Adolescent Health course. Additionally, I am currently working along side two faculty members who are adolescent health experts doing adolescent health focused research. One project is on adolescent substance use, and the other is related to adolescent obesity.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.