At, there is a general overview of Stress in its many forms. The article covers the causes, psychological issues, how therapy can help, and even a few case examples of stress. The idea behind the article is to go more in-depth in what stress is, since at this point it’s become so general and basic that it’s lost some meaning.

It’s informative and made clear for general readers, which is good because this kind of issue can effect anyone.

Stress Article at

Adult Emotional Abuse

Rather than post a single article, here is a series of short but informative articles by Natasha Tracy at
This series covers topics ranging to emotional abuse of men, defining emotional abuse, emotional abuse in marriage, and even an article on silent treatment.

Each is a brief synopsis, detailing the basics of the subject and offering insightful summaries of what can be a very complex topic.

Follow the link here: Emotional-Psychological Abuse Articles

The Role of Peer and Romantic Relationships in Adolescents

This interesting article by Wyndol Furman, Christine McDunn, and Brennan J. Young of the University of Denver takes a look at the effects of boyfriends, girlfriends, friends, and peers on the social and affective lives of adolescents, including links between these processes and the emergence of depressive disorders. It covers the effect of each relationship in categories, taking into account their influences and impact on psychological development.

The full article can be read here:

The Role of Peer and Romantic Relationships in
Adolescent Affective Development

The Benefits of Playing Video Games

This is an interesting change of pace. Most articles discussing video games and how they relate to behavior or mental health in teenagers and adolescents often stress the negative aspects, i.e. playing too long, or that violent games cause violent actions.

This article by Isabela Granic, Adam Lobel, and Rutger C. M. E. Engels instead examines the benefits of “play”, something that was the focus of the most recent post, and takes a look at the cognitive, motivational, and emotional benefits of gaming. They even go as far as to separate the various video game genres and their effects on the mind.

You can check out the entire article here:
The Benefits of Playing Video Games

The Importance of “Play” for Adults

A short but interesting article by Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S. on the benefits of adults doing activities that are for fun and how it’s beneficial to mental and psychological health. It further goes into defining what “play” means for adults and that it’s not something that needs to be cast aside for the sake of maturity.

Link: The Importance of Play for Adults

It also includes a list of further reading and other sources on the subject.


Adolescent Emotional Response to Music and Risk-Taking Behavior

Here’s an interesting article regarding adolescents and music, where the results varied based on the genres. Basically it was about how if the subject responded negatviely to the music, then they were more likely to involve themselves in high risk behavior.

The full text can be accessed here: Adolescent/Music Health Article

Purpose: Adults have frequently been concerned about the adverse influence that music may have on teenagers. This study was designed to examine the relationship between the intensity of emotional response to music and health risk-taking behavior in adolescents.

Methods: Consecutive participants from the University of California, San Diego, Adolescent Medicine Clinics completed a written survey about music preference, emotional response to music using the Positive Affect Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS), and a variety of health-risk behaviors. For each participant, the PANAS scores were summed to give a positive, negative, and total affect score, and health-risk behaviors were assigned a point value based on the level of risk and then summed to give a risk score.

Results: Health-risk behavior was found to be correlated with increasing emotional response to music (r = 0.23), whether those emotions were positive (r = 0.19) or negative (r = 0.24). Strong negative emotional response to music in particular was correlated with a history of greater risk behavior, particularly among whites (risk score = 10.1) and fans of rock or heavy metal music (risk score = 14.0).

Conclusions: Our study indicates that subjects who experience strong negative emotions to music are at an increased risk of participating in a variety of risk-taking behaviors. Further evaluation of the link between emotional response to music and health-risk behaviors will be useful in clarifying the nature of this relationship.

Child and Adolescent Emotion Regulation

Here is an article written a few years ago relating to parent and child emotional functioning, specifically their emotion regulatory skills and emotional expression. Included are considerations regarding theoretical, meth- odological, and sampling strengths and weaknesses of existing literature. On the basis of the review, several directions for future research are proposed. First, it is argued that consistency in the measurement of emotion regulation is necessary, including assessment of more refined theoretical conceptualizations of regulatory types, skills, or strategies. Second, it is argued that emotion reg- ulation developmental research examining the post-early childhood period is necessary in order to contribute to a more comprehensive understanding of youths’ emotion regulation. Finally, it is argued that greater examination of paternal influences on child emotional functioning, in addition to maternal influences, is required. Consideration of these issues in future emotion regulation research will ideally contribute to a greater understanding of the mechanisms involved in child and adolescent development of optimal regulatory capacities.

Child and Adolescent Emotion Regulation (2011)

Help for Tired Parents!

As part of the Northwest Couples Clinic I will be co-leading a 2-hour seminar on infant sleep, with my colleague, Dr. Janice Driver. The Seminar will be held on August 28th and September 16th. For more information visit our Infant Sleep Seminar page.

Can best friends hurt our kids?

The New York Times recently had an interesting article describing a movement in schools to discourage the development of best-friendships while encouraging more group friendship interactions. This seems to be a somewhat widespread response to incidents of school bullying. According to the article, the “logic” behind this thinking is that best-friend pairs often exhibit exclusionary behavior, while groups tend to be more inclusive. To this I have to say: WHAT?!

The child development research on peer interaction does not support this thinking. Research on peer relationships in childhood indicates the importance of childrens’ developing attachment to friends. It’s a natural progression from the attachment to parents. I worry about the potentially harmful effect on kids if they never learn how to develop close relationships with best-friends. The relationship with a best friend is often thought to be a training ground for skills later used in intimate partner relationships. What happens to future romantic relationships if kids are barred from developing best-friendships?

Obviously bullying is a serious problem that needs to be addressed in a thoughtful manner (preadolescent social skills training? early empathy development excercises?). Reactionary behavior on the part of school officials is disapointing and I think, potentially harmful to kids. I think as a society, the new generation of parents needs to really think about whether its beneficial to micromanage every area of our kids development. Sometimes it’s okay to let kids be kids and do what comes naturally to them.

Broken Heart Syndrome

We all know how powerful a broken heart can be. In fact, the break-up of a romantic relationship is the leading cause for experiencing a first major depressive episode for adolescents.

Well now the medical community seems to be finding a link between emotional distress (e.g. the loss of a loved one) and heart attack symptoms. An article in the New York Times describes Stress cardiomyopathy, or Broken Heart Syndrome as a condition in which people experience heart attack symptoms, including abnormal EKG patterns and abnormal blood work, yet they display no arterial blockages. It’s seems that a portion of these cases of Broken Heart Syndrome are be linked with having previously experienced severe emotional distress.