THE SOCIAL CONTEXT OF ADOLESCENT HEALTH AND DEVELOPMENT Syllabus

380.725.01 | AY 2012-2013 - 4th Term | 3 Credit(s)
M 1:30:00 PM
  • Course Learning Objectives

    After completing this course, you should be able to:

    • Apply at least one theoretical model that links social context to health and development to an adolescent health issue.
    • Clearly summarize the empirical evidence that links social context to at least one adolescent health issue.
    • Apply knowledge about the importance of context in shaping health and development by evaluating a prevention program aimed at adolescents.
  • Contact Information
    Faculty
    Sara Johnson
  • Contact Information

    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

  • Prerequisites

    There are no prerequisites for this class, but previous coursework related to adolescent health is helpful

    Additional Faculty Notes:

    This course is not open to undergraduates.

  • Course Schedule

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

  • 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 Contexts & Media

    • Romantic Relationships

    Neighborhood Influences

     

  • Required Text(s)

    Additional Faculty Notes:

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

  • 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.

    We will examine and evaluate theoretical models that illustrate how context influences health and development. 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 intervention efforts aimed at adolescents. 

  • Intended Audience
    Graduate Students.
  • Methods of Assessment

    Course Requirements and Grading

    1.     Class Participation (15%):  Please come to class prepared to discuss the readings and to engage in thoughtful dialogue with others in the class.  Your class participation grade also includes completing brief (ungraded) in-classes quizzes that are intended to help you gauge your understanding of class concepts.

    2.     Annotated Bibliography (35%): As the first step in the final project, students will create an annotated bibliography that demonstrates their ability to summarize and critically evaluate the published literature related to ONE of the following adolescent public health issues in Baltimore:

     

    a)     Reducing adolescent pregnancy

    b)     Reducing adolescent interpersonal violence

    For the bibliography, students will choose one specific aspect of the social ecology to focus on (e.g., parental involvement, peer aggressive behavior, neighborhood violence, school climate) that either protects or places youth at risk the public health issue you chose (i.e., a, or B above). They will write a paragraph (no more than 250 words) summarizing how each article informs interventions. (An example of an annotated bibliography entry will be provided). You should include the following in your annotations:

    ·       A summary of the central theme of the work.

    ·       How this source is similar or dissimilar from other sources you have located.

    ·       How this work illuminates the social ecology/public health outcome relationship you have chosen to investigate.

    The annotated bibliography should include 6 papers. This should not include review articles, although you are welcome to use review articles for background or to help identify relevant empirical articles. It is due to CoursePlus by noon on Monday, April 22nd. More details on this assignment are provided in a separate document.

    3.     Final Paper (50%): Baltimore City submitted two separate competitive grant proposals to a local foundation to fund interventions to address adolescent pregnancy and adolescent interpersonal violence.  These applications were not successful. The grant reviewers said that the applications were not funded because they failed to consider contextual factors in their interventions. You are brought as a consultant. You will review ONE grant application and write a report detailing:

    1)     The ways in which their current proposal does not reflect a contextual approach;

    2)     Why this might lead to less effective programs;

    3)     Specific ways they could integrate one contextual factor.

    The goal in this report is to communicate an analysis of the evidence clearly and persuasively. The report should use the peer-reviewed articles in your annotated bibliography for background and support. It should be no more than 2500 words, using 12-point font, double spacing, and 1-inch margins.  Word limits will be strictly enforced. The report is due via Courseplus by noon on the last day of class (Monday, May 13, 2013).

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

  • 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.

  • 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.