Teens, Puberty, and Risk-Taking

July 15, 2015

Why do teens take risks when with their peers? The adolescent brain itself may be to blame.

Acting recklessly in front of peers stimulates pleasure centers in an adolescent’s brain, which further encourages this kind of risky behavior. Numerous studies have indicated that the mere presence of peers significantly increases an adolescent’s risk-taking propensities.  Brain-imaging technology illustrates how the pleasure centers in the brain of an adolescent light up when peers are watching them perform;  in fact, the more stimulation that the center receives, the more risks the teen will take.

Botvin LifeSkills Training (LST) is an evidence-based substance abuse prevention program proven to reduce the risks of alcohol, tobacco, drug abuse, and violence by targeting the major social and psychological factors that promote risky behaviors. Adolescents learn skills that can help them successfully handle challenging situations and resist their hard-wired impulses to take unhealthy risks. Instead, they learn ways to adopt healthy alternatives to dangerous behavior.

One student from Vero Beach, Florida, who completed the LST program stated that the program helped her to realize that “the most important thing is to set a good example and show pride. It’s not always about being a part of the coolest clique or looking the best.”  She has since encouraged other teens to “set goals, stand up for what you believe in, have fun, be confident, and make the most of life,”  adding, “All of this has been shown to me in LifeSkills and has helped me become a better person, inside and out.”

To read more testimonials by both students and teachers, please visit: LifeSkills Training Testimonials

New Study Explores Bystander Intervention in Cyberbullying

July 13, 2015

A recent study, “Bystander Intervention in Cyberbullying,” was published by the National Communication Association’s Communication Monographs. The study highlighted the impact of bystanders in cyberbullying situations as well as discussed why there is a lower likelihood that a bystander intervenes during an online bullying incident.

Students in the study group were placed in hypothetical cyberbullying situations. Their responses were observed in order to understand more about how bystanders react online, as opposed to witnessing traditional bullying in-person. Researchers determined that many factors affect a bystander’s tendency to not intervene in a cyberbullying.

The study revealed that there is a greater sense of anonymity in web sites, social media platforms, and online chat pages. Bystanders are less likely to intervene in cyberbullying incidents because they are not easily discernable as witnesses to bullying and may feel distant or not responsible for speaking up. Moreover, cyberbullying allows bystanders to seem “invisible” and, because of this anonymity, don’t take the initiative to speak up for the victims of bullying.

This study exposed the importance of spreading awareness about cyberbullying. The findings demonstrate the potential of schools and communities to educate their stakeholders about cyberbullying and how the role of the bystander has changed with the emergence of social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

National Health Promotion Associates is currently developing an online cyberbullying prevention learning tool to address the current issues and educate middle-schoolers on cyberbullying and bullying in general. This new online platform is an extension of Botvin LifeSkills Training’s “Stand Up, Speak Up!” bullying curriculum.


The need for prevention is now; Unleashing the Power of Prevention

July 8, 2015

Botvin LifeSkills Training

Every day across America, behavioral health problems in childhood and adolescence take a heavy toll on millions of lives. These problems range from anxiety, depression and mental health problems, to poor eating habits and weight problems, to substance abuse, delinquency and violence. For decades the approach to these problems has been to treat them only after they’ve been identified—at a high and ongoing cost to young people, families, communities, and the entire nation. Now we have a 30-year body of research and more than 50 programs showing that behavioral health problems can be prevented.

LifeSkills Training is one such program. LST is a school-based prevention program designed to prevent behavioral health problems by promoting personal coping skills, general social skills, and information and attitudes related to specific health problems, and overall resilience. LST has been extensively tested and proven effective, with evidence of its effectiveness documented in over 32…

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National Health Promotion Associates Hosts Summer Interns

July 1, 2015

WHITE PLAINS, NY – National Health Promotion Associates (NHPA) welcomes a new class of interns for the 2015 summer program, Internship in Psychology, Health Education, and Communication.

interns 2015NHPA selected three interns from a crowded pool of extremely qualified applicants from colleges and universities around the country. This year’s interns include: Christopher Fox (Bates College), Samantha Goodman (University of Michigan), and Isabella Serrano (Brown University).

The interns will work on projects giving them a broad overview of the stages involved in developing educational prevention programs. The internship program will focus on issues related to health promotion and wellness, health communication and marketing, and the many facets of prevention.

“We are pleased to offer an internship in Psychology, Health Education, and Communication.  We are continually impressed by this group of students,” said Dr. Gilbert J. Botvin, the founder and president of NHPA. “They are bright, energetic and very well prepared by their previous course work. It is our hope that the interns return to their respective universities with a greater understanding of psychology in an applied setting. They are fully engaged in learning about a wide range of activities from early-stage conceptualization and evaluation of new prevention tools to the ultimate dissemination of new evidence-based preventive interventions. We are excited to have them spend time with us.”

Over the course of the summer, the interns will be involved in the development of numerous projects that employ Botvin Lifeskills Training (LST) at the National Health Promotion Associates headquarters. LST is an evidence-based prevention program for tobacco, alcohol and drug abuse, violence prevention, and bullying implemented in 38 countries around the world. Specifically, the interns will work on the application of the Botvin Lifeskills Training Program to the Youth Courts of Memphis Tennessee, help create an online cyber bullying prevention program, and take part in the development of an online sexual assault prevention program for college students.

About National Health Promotion Associates

Established in 1985, National Health Promotion Associates (NHPA) is a dynamic health and wellness firm located in White Plains, New York. Dedicated to promoting behavioral health, NHPA focuses on developing, evaluating, and providing training to educators and health professionals on a range of health and wellness programs. An area of particular interest relates to the prevention of health risk behaviors among adolescents and young adults, including substance abuse, violence, bullying, and sexual violence. For more information visit: www.lifeskillstraining.com.

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