Cheaters may be a majority

A researcher at the University of Montreal found that the rate of infidelity among couples varies between 40 and 76 percent. Most of the participants in the study reported that they had thought about cheating on their partner, and close to 40% had actually cheated. There were no differences found between men and women in the rates of cheating. However, participants with an “avoidant attachment style” (people who are uncomfortable with intimacy) were more likely to be unfaithful.

Unfortunately, the studies conducted so far were done with University students with an average age of 23 and with adults in the community with an average age of 27. The average age for a first marriage in Canada is over 30. It’s hard to generalize these findings to the public, since the study participants were less likely to be wed.

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Sibling Aggression: A Training Ground for Anti-Social Behaviour

HELEN MCARDLE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARYBrothers and sisters learn a lot about relationships from their interactions with each other; on the Family Anatomy podcast, Dr. G and I have described the sibling relationship as a testing ground in which kids develop and practice their social skills. But if kids learn about the social world by interacting with their brothers or sisters, what happens when that relationship is a negative one, characterized by coercion and aggression? That’s exactly the question that was asked by researchers in a study published in the current issue of Developmental Psychology.

The idea that siblings learn about relationships from each other isn’t a new one. Twenty-five years ago, Gerald Patterson and his colleagues developed the concept of deviancy training, which proposed that negative exchanges between siblings provide opportunities for them to learn delinquent behaviour, leading to increases in aggression and other problems as the kids get older. Although the deviancy training theory has received attention in recent years, it’s tough to test; siblings share genes, an environment, and parents as well as interactions. These commonalities make it difficult to tease apart the influence of one factor over another; studies of sibling interactions rarely take into account genetics, and genetic studies seldom focus on the sibling relationship.

How parents can help young teens at school

HomeworkParents of adolescents know that it can be a difficult stage for kids. Schoolwork can sometimes take a back seat to stress about physical changes, along with social and relationship concerns. Add to these factors an increasing desire and need for independence, and it can leave parents uncertain as to how they can support their child’s academic progress. In an article published in the current issue of Developmental Psychology, Nancy Hill and Diana Tyson analyzed the results of 50 studies that included thousands of students to find the most effective strategies to support school performance among junior high school students.

We’ve mentioned previously that parental involvement in general is related to improvements in school performance; this result was consistent across ethnic groups. For junior high school students, some kinds of involvement is more effective than others. The shocking finding from the study: parental help with homework was related to a decrease in school performance! The drop was small, but mathematically significant. In the context of a young teen’s developing independence, homework support might interfere with the development of “self-efficacy” (the belief that one is capable of completing a task) or with the development of organizational or study skills. In addition, teens have an increased ability to predict the consequences of their actions and to learn from their successes as well as their mistakes, resulting in a reduced requirement for direct parental involvement. It’s possible that parents might present the material in a different way than teachers do, resulting in confusion.

College Students Report Stress and Depression


Stress in collegeAn Associated Press-mtvU poll indicates that college students are often stressed – 85% of the respondents indicated that they sometimes or frequently felt stressed in the three months prior to the survey. Worries about schoolwork, grades, and finances topped the list of sources of stress. Family and relationship stress were reported by over half of those surveyed. While high levels of stress may not be surprising to anyone who has attended college or university, the more concerning finding of the survey is the report by many students of depressive symptoms.

Students indicated how often they experienced symptoms of depression, including depressed mood, loss of pleasure in things they used to enjoy, and sleep disturbances. Several respondents indicated that for “several days,” “more than half the days,” or “nearly every day” they experienced symptoms:

  • 69% felt tired or had little energy
  • 55% experienced sleep disturbances
  • 42% felt depressed or hopeless
  • 38% felt little pleasure in doing things
  • 37% reported low self-esteem or excessive guilt
  • 11% reported thoughts of suicide or self-harm