Newswise — Adolescence is a critical time for development of the brain, as well as accompanying cognitive and socioemotional abilities. It is also a time of high media activity. Results of the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) study that examined the effects of media activity on psychopathology among youth will be shared at the 41st annual scientific meeting of the Research Society on Alcoholism (RSA) in San Diego June 17-21.

“We examined self-reported use of a wide range of media,” said Martin P. Paulus, scientific director and president of the Laureate Institute for Brain Research. “Media activity included watching television or movies, watching on-line videos such as those found on YouTube, texting, visiting social-media sites, as well as playing mature-rated video games such as Call of Duty or watching R-rated movies.”

Paulus will discuss these findings at the RSA meeting on June 19.

“We found that the effects of media activity are complex,” he said. “Not every youngster consumes the same type of media. Instead, a specific combination of socio-demographics is related to media activity and – in combination with psychopathology – has different effects on physical activity, family conflict and sleep. Surprisingly, those youth that engaged in more social-media activity versus screen-media activity tended to be more physically active, reported fewer family conflicts, and had fewer sleep disturbances.”

Perhaps not surprisingly, parents and youth had different perspectives on media use and influence. “There was a profound difference between youth and parental perspectives of the relationship between family conflict and media activity,” noted Paulus.


Paulus will present “General factor analysis reveals latent variables connecting media activity to psychopathology in the ABCD cohort” at 2:00 p.m. during the RSA 2018 meeting on Tuesday, June 19 as part of the symposium titled “The adolescent brain cognitive development (ABCD) study: Emerging findings on substance use, risk and protective factors, and neuroimaging” that begins at 1:20 p.m. at the Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego.

Meeting Link: Research Society on Alcoholism (RSA) in San Diego