THE SOCIAL CONTEXT OF ADOLESCENT HEALTH AND DEVELOPMENT Syllabus

380.725.01 | AY 2011-2012 - 4th Term | 3 Credit(s)
M 1:30:00 PM
  • Contact Information
    Faculty
    Sara Johnson
  • Course Learning Objectives

    Upon successfully completing this course, students will be able to:

    • Illustrate the role of contextual factors in shaping adolescent health and development
    • Describe how biological and sociocultural influences interact to shape trajectories of development and wellbeing throughout adolescence
    • Integrate contextual factors into public heath prevention and intervention strategies aimed at adolescents
  • Course Description
    Integrates biological and sociological influences on adolescent health and development. Places developmental biology in a social context to illustrate how social forces, even those which seem far removed from health, shape biology and behavior during adolescence. Emphasizes multidisciplinary approaches, principally integrating basic science with the social and behavioral sciences and understanding gene by environment interactions. Examines the role of context in individual-level developmental and cognitive processes including: social influences on brain development, decision-making and behavior. Focuses on neighborhood, family, school, media influences, socioeconomic status, and race/ethnicity. Uses empirical work to consider the role of context in prevention and interventions aimed at adolescents.

    Additional Faculty Notes:

    This class is designed to provide students with a framework in which to integrate biological and sociological influences on adolescent health and development. Specifically, the course places developmental biology in a social context to illustrate how social forces, even those that seem far removed from health, shape biology and behavior during adolescence. The course will place heavy emphasis on multidisciplinary approaches, principally integrating basic science with the social and behavioral sciences, and understanding gene by environment interactions.

    Information about a variety of contexts will be explored using the bioecological model as a theoretical foundation.  We will begin by considering the role of context in individual-level developmental and cognitive processes including: social influences on gene expression, brain development, decision-making and behavior. We will then focus on neighborhood, family, media and peer influences as well as the roles of socioeconomic status, and race/ethnicity.  We will use this empirical work to consider the role of context in prevention and interventions aimed at adolescents. The focus of this class is on domestic (i.e., US) contexts, but some concepts are relevant internationally.

  • Intended Audience
    Graduate Students.
  • Methods of Assessment
    Student evaluation based on class participation, scholarship critiques and brief paper.

    Additional Faculty Notes:

    Course Requirements and Grading

    1. Class Participation (15%):  Please come to class prepared to discuss the readings and to engage in thoughtful dialog with others in the class.
       
    1. Structured Report on the Social Ecology of an Adolescent Health Outcome (60%): You have been tasked by an adolescent health advocacy organization to concisely describe the social ecology of an important adolescent health problem. You will choose a single adolescent health outcome.  You will then write a structured report that considers risk-factors for this health outcome at all five levels of Bronfenbrenner’s bioecological model. This report will follow a pre-determined format.  You will discuss and explain the influence of one factor at each level; you may chose more than one if you wish. For each level, you will then discuss how the contextual factor you have identified interacts with contextual factors at other levels. The report should use supplemental, peer-reviewed articles for background and support.  It is likely that most reports will require 10-12 references. This report should be no more than 12 pages in length, double spaced, 12-point font, 1-inch margins.  Page limits will be strictly enforced.  The report is due via Courseplus by 12:00 noon Week 4, April 16th.  A grading rubric has been created for your reference.

       
    2. Intervention Recommendation (25%): As a supplement to your report, you will make a recommendation for intervention.  The health advocacy organization would like you, based on your report (see #2), to make a recommendation about the level of the social ecology, and the specific contextual factor that should be the target for intervention.  Specifically, they are interested in understanding where the biggest “bang for the buck” might be found. They are particularly interested in interventions that have “spillover” effects on other levels of the ecology.  Your paper should be no more than 4 pages in length, using the same formatting specified above.  It should contain a model that clearly illustrates the contextual factor you picked (i.e., what level of the social ecology) picked, and how effects might spillover from or to other levels. Additional references are optional. (The template for this model will be provided to you).  This assignment is due Week 7, May 7th. A grading rubric has been created for your reference. Be prepared to present your model, informally for 5-7 minutes, in class on May 14th , using just one slide.
       
    3. Grading: You will receive feedback on your structured report.  If you would like to revise it based on comments, you are eligible to raise your grade. Re-writes must be submitted by Week 7’s class on May 7th.  There are no re-writes for the intervention recommendations.

       

    Late assignments: Given the short term, no late assignments will be accepted. 

  • Prerequisites

    Additional Faculty Notes:

    This course is not open to undergraduates.

  • Required Text(s)

    Additional Faculty Notes:

    No textbooks are required.  All course materials are available in the online library in CoursePlus.

  • Course Schedule

    Please see the course Session for a full list of dates and items for this course.

  • Academic Ethics Code

    Students enrolled in the Bloomberg School of Public Health of The Johns Hopkins University assume an obligation to conduct themselves in a manner appropriate to the University's mission as an institution of higher education. A student is obligated to refrain from acts which he or she knows, or under the circumstances has reason to know, impair the academic integrity of the University. Violations of academic integrity include, but are not limited to: cheating; plagiarism; knowingly furnishing false information to any agent of the University for inclusion in the academic record; violation of the rights and welfare of animal or human subjects in research; and misconduct as a member of either School or University committees or recognized groups or organizations.

  • Course topics

    Theoretical models of contextual effects on health and development

    • Social constructions of adolescent development and behavior

    Individual-level development in context: How does social experience get reflected in the biology of development?

    • Gene/environment interactions, epigenetics, evolutionary/life history theories

    The adolescent brain and decision-making in context

    • Social influences on brain development; the social context of risky and protective choices

    Socioeconomic status, race, and ethnicity as contexts

    • Material versus psychosocial approaches to SES; methodological issues in studying race/ethnicity

    Parent/Family Contexts

    • The role of parents--Is there are parenting "gold standard?"

     Peer, and Media Contexts

    • Romantic Relationships
    • Media influences on health and well-being
       

    Neighborhoods & Policy Influences

     

  • Contact Information(from old syllabus)

    Sara Johnson, PhD, MPH
    Email: sjohnson@jhsph.edu
    Office: 200 N Wolfe St, Rm 2017
    Tel: 410-614-8437

    Jenna Riis (TA)
    Email: jriis@jhsph.edu

  • Course Objectives(from old syllabus)

    The primary objectives of the course are:

    1.  To gain an understanding of the role of contextual factors in shaping adolescent health and development, using Bronfenbrenner’s bioecological model as a framework.

    2.  To understand how biological and sociocultural influences work together to shape trajectories of development and wellbeing throughout adolescence.

    3.  To enhance students’ ability to integrate contextual factors into public heath prevention and intervention aimed at adolescents.

  • Disability Support Services
    If you are a student with a documented disability who requires an academic accommodation, please contact the Office of Student Life Services at 410-955-3034 or via email at dss@jhsph.edu.