In brief from the Annual Conference

Short reports from the Society's annual event.

Research into the influence of parents on their children often focuses on parent-child dyads rather than considering the family as a system. Carly Butler and Helen Pote (both Royal Holloway, University of London) explored the relationship between family functioning and adolescent well-being in a sample of over 100 teenagers aged 13-16 years. Poor family functioning was associated with lower life satisfaction and poorer psychological wellbeing – with the family’s ability to adapt to difficulties having the strongest influence.

Focusing on pre-schoolers, Eva Yi Hung Lau and Ian Chun Bun Lam (The Hong Kong Institute of Education) considered the influence of parenting cooperation on child aggression in a study with over 300 mothers in Hong Kong. Mother-reported levels of co-parenting cooperation significantly predicted levels of child aggression, but this association was fully mediated by mothers’ parental self-efficacy and psychological well-being.

- Alana James

Barefoot and minimalist running are growing in popularity, according to Peter Walton and David French of the University of Manchester. They interviewed eight runners to explore their views on the topic. Minimalist running (wearing shoes that mimic the feeling of being barefoot) was viewed as less extreme and less natural than barefoot running. An important finding from the study was that runners did not seek information from academic or health professionals about either of these potentially risky forms of running. Walton and French say that further research is needed in order that evidence based information can be transmitted to runners to reduce injuries associated with risky running practices.

- Emma Davies

Can you imagine what a cat feels like when being stroked? This is how one participant described the experience of watching Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR) videos on YouTube. According to Tom Smejka and Luci Wiggs of Oxford Brookes University, users of such videos report positive impacts on mood and relaxation. With large numbers of people watching ASMR videos, it was important to conduct some academic research into the phenomenon. Thanks to a popular ASMR YouTuber, who posted their research request under a video, 2252 participants completed Smejka and Wiggs’ survey. Findings suggest that watching such videos can increase relaxation and reduce insomnia, with further work needed to explore the underlying mechanisms of such effects.

- Emma Davies

We’ve all got them - relatives who post offensive memes on social media, colleagues who write rude replies to innocuous online statuses. But what do you do about them – tell them to stop? Hide their posts, defriend them? Plaster their virtual walls with images of fluffy kittens?

Sarah Burglass and colleagues at Nottingham Trent University recruited 52 Facebook users and sampled information about a random sample of 100 of each participant’s contacts. They found that online troublemakers were popular and unlikely to face reprisals. Contacts reported by users to have high rates of disagreeable online behaviour were widely connected within participants’ Facebook networks. Only 15 per cent of participants said they might take action against these troublemakers’ behaviour, such as reporting, defriending or blocking them, though younger females were more likely to take action.

This might be due to the risk of social reprisals. Participants reported having high amounts of offline interaction with online troublemakers. It might well be easier to ignore some disagreeable Facebook posts than face a disagreement with your boss or mother-in-law in the real-world.

- Alana James

Judith Ramsey (Leeds Beckett University), Melody Terras and Fozia Yousaf (both University of the West of Scotland) suggested that families model digital technology use. They surveyed 107 parents with children aged 5 and above on their own and their child’s digital behaviour. Time spent by parents on digital activities, such as TV viewing, gaming and social networking, correlated with the time children spent on similar activities. However, 67% of participants thought that social media was harmful for their children.

- Alana James

- There will be more coverage in the July edition, and on the site over the coming weeks.

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