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Anxiety symptoms could affect depressed adolescents
TUESDAY, AUGUST 13, 2013 11:18 AM

A total of 40 million adults in the U.S. have anxiety disorders, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. With so many individuals affected by these conditions, it is essential for people to recognize the signs of anxiety disorders as early as possible.

One way to identify early symptoms among adolescents may be to have them take a personality test. If these individuals show signs of depression, they could be at risk of developing anxiety, based on the results of a recent study from Southern Methodist University.

Overall, there were three risk factors that increased adolescents' odds of developing anxiety. In addition to displaying symptoms of depression, these youths also had either a pessimistic outlook on life, low-quality family relationships or mothers with a history of anxiety. Ultimately, it is important to identify signs of anxiety among adolescents before it can harm their personal and academic development.

"Anxiety can manifest as social phobia, in which kids are afraid to interact with friends and teachers, or in school refusal, in which children try to avoid going to school," said Chrystyna D. Kouros, the psychologist who led the study. 

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Personality Test Information

Anxiety symptoms could affect depressed adolescents
TUESDAY, AUGUST 13, 2013 11:18 AM

A total of 40 million adults in the U.S. have anxiety disorders, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. With so many individuals affected by these conditions, it is essential for people to recognize the signs of anxiety disorders as early as possible.

One way to identify early symptoms among adolescents may be to have them take a personality test. If these individuals show signs of depression, they could be at risk of developing anxiety, based on the results of a recent study from Southern Methodist University.

Overall, there were three risk factors that increased adolescents' odds of developing anxiety. In addition to displaying symptoms of depression, these youths also had either a pessimistic outlook on life, low-quality family relationships or mothers with a history of anxiety. Ultimately, it is important to identify signs of anxiety among adolescents before it can harm their personal and academic development.

"Anxiety can manifest as social phobia, in which kids are afraid to interact with friends and teachers, or in school refusal, in which children try to avoid going to school," said Chrystyna D. Kouros, the psychologist who led the study. 

... READ MORE
Players of fast-paced video games may become more aggressive
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 07, 2013 11:59 AM

Earlier this year, a study was published in "Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice" that found that playing violent video games can lead to the development of aggressive and even criminal behavior. Now, new research from Iowa State University once again shows a link between playing video games and increased aggression.

That is not to say video games cannot have a positive effect on players. According to the research, violent and fast-paced video games known as first-person shooters, require individuals to think quickly if they are to advance. This enhances players' visual skills over time.

Unfortunately, players' also experience a reduction in their ability to restrain impulsive behavior. This, in turn, means that those who play these fast-paced games can become more aggressive. 

"We believe that any game that requires the same type of rapid responding as in most first-person shooters may produce similar effects on proactive executive control, regardless of violent content," said Craig Anderson, director of the Center for the Study of Violence at Iowa State University, who worked on the study.

Based on these findings, individuals who play fast-paced video games on a regular basis may want to take a personality test and see if it is time to unplug their gaming console.

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Personality tests could help colleges retain STEM majors
THURSDAY, JULY 25, 2013 10:20 AM

A 2011 report by the U.S. Department of Commerce shows that in the past decade, the growth of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) jobs was three times greater than that of non-STEM jobs. This growth is expected to continue in the coming decade as well, meaning there will be a great need for Americans with a college degree in one of these subjects.

However, many college students who study STEM subjects end up switching their major before graduating. To determine why this happens, researchers from Georgia Tech and Rice universities studied 589 undergraduates at the Georgia Institute of Technology between 2000 and 2008, paying close attention to their personality traits, self-concept and motivation, Psych Central reports.

In doing so, the researchers found that female STEM students tend to switch majors because they have "lower self-concepts in math and science," while men typically have "lower levels of orientation toward mastery and organization."

Based on these results, researchers feel that colleges could better predict students' long-term success in STEM subjects if they look at their Advanced Placement exam scores and personality test results during the admissions process.

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Professional, college coaches rely on personality tests to scout players
TUESDAY, JUNE 04, 2013 08:11 AM

When college coaches look at players to determine who they should recruit, they typically analyze their speed, strength and athletic statistics. However, in recent years, more coaches have turned to personality tests to determine which players would make a good addition to their teams, Yahoo! Sports reports.

Jeff Bower, the head men's basketball coach at Marist College, recently employed this technique when he asked guard and prospective recruit Nick Colletta to take a personality assessment. The results of the test told Bower that Colletta is competitive, sociable and comfortable playing in high-stress moments. For Bower, this confirmed that the high schooler deserved a late scholarship offer.

This is not the first season Bower has relied on a personality assessment to help him pick the best players. This is a tactic he brought with him from his days as a general manager of the NBA's New Orleans Hornets, the news source reports.

"I've seen its value in the past in the NBA and I can see its value even more in a college setting," Bower said. "We're not looking for any one quality in particular. We're looking for how individuals function best and what their natural instincts are. We think it's a tool that will help us blend personalities together and bring the right kind of person here."

In recent years, basketball is not the only sport that takes advantage of the insight personality tests can offer. The New York Times states that since the 1970s, the NFL has used a 50-item quiz to measure players' personality traits. In general, this allows coaches to find players who possess valuable qualities like motivation, passion, competitiveness and mental strength. This assessment is believed to be particularly important for scouting quarterbacks and offensive linemen, as they must possess the intellect necessary to interpret complex defenses.

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Secondhand smoke can bring out children's aggressive side
THURSDAY, MAY 23, 2013 08:54 AM

If the results of a personality test reveal that adults tend to display aggressive behavior, they may want to think back to their childhood. A high exposure to secondhand smoke in these individuals' younger years may be the reason behind their aggression.

This is the conclusion researchers from the University of Montreal and CHU Sainte-Justine hospital arrived at in a recent study, which was published in the "Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health." After analyzing data on 2,055 children, which looked at their behavior and exposure to secondhand smoke from birth to age 10, the researchers could see a clear link between the two.

"Those having been exposed to secondhand smoke, even temporarily, were much more likely to report themselves as being more aggressive by the time they finished fourth grade," said Linda Pagani, one of the researchers behind the study.

It is no secret that secondhand smoke is bad for those who are exposed to it, no matter how old they happen to be. However, the researchers said that secondhand smoke can be especially dangerous to youths, as the brain is still developing during childhood.

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Impulsive behavior may follow weight gain
WEDNESDAY, MAY 08, 2013 10:52 AM

When people gain weight, it is not uncommon for feelings of frustration to follow. Based on study findings that appear in the Association for Psychological Science journal "Psychological Science," impulsivity is a trait that individuals can develop after gaining weight.

The researchers behind the study already knew that changes in people's personality can affect their weight, but they wanted to know if the opposite was true. To find out more, they looked at data on 1,900 Baltimore residents' weight changes and personality traits to see if there was a connection.

Researchers found that individuals who experienced a 10 percent increase in their body weight also showed a greater tendency to give into their temptations. Greater impulsivity was not present in those whose weight remained stable.

"If mind and body are intertwined, then if one changes the other should change too," said Angelina Sutin, a psychological scientist who worked on the study. "That's what our findings suggest."

Based on this research, individuals who have experienced significant weight gain may want to take a personality test to see if they have become more impulsive.

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Avoiding scary situations could be a sign of anxiety
TUESDAY, MARCH 12, 2013 10:47 AM

If adults go through their days feeling overly anxious, they may want to take a personality test to gain more insight into their behavior. Sometimes, small behavioral signs can also help identify people who are likely to develop anxiety. This is the case with individuals between the ages of 7 and 18, according to new research from the Mayo Clinic.

After conducting a study of more than 800 individuals, researchers found that kids' avoidance of situations they find scary may predict whether or not they will have anxiety. Participants who were open about avoiding certain situations at the beginning of the study tended to be more anxious just one year later.

"Even after controlling for their baseline anxiety, those who avoided had more anxiety than kids who didn't avoid," said Stephen Whiteside, a pediatric psychologist with the Mayo Clinic Children's Center, as well as the study's lead author. "That was consistent with the model of how anxiety disorders develop. Kids who avoid fearful situations don't have the opportunity to face their fears and don't learn that their fears are manageable."

While anxiety disorders are the most common form of mental illness in the U.S., the good news is they are highly treatable, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.

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Television can influence children's behavior
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 19, 2013 07:27 AM

Although watching television is a simple activity, it can have a wide range of effects on viewers, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine's National Institutes of Health. For children, television watching has been linked to problems paying attention and poor reading skills. Now, there is new evidence that reveals a connection between the types of programs kids watch and their behavior.

Based on research that appears in "Pediatrics," choosing which television programs preschoolers watch can help parents improve their children's behavior, USA Today reported. In a study that involved 565 families, researchers found that it was possible to decrease kids' aggression and increase the level of their helpfulness, empathy and other positive social behaviors.

According to the news source, children who watched fewer violent shows and more educational programming ended up showing improved behavior, as opposed to kids whose television diet did not change at all. What made this study unique is that researchers did not reduce the amount of time children spend in front of the television - only the types of shows they watch. However, there are those who believe parents need to go beyond choosing the programs their children watch.

"Although this innovative study shows changing content without changing viewing time helps lower aggression, other health issues may need to be approached in different ways," Jennifer Manganello, an associate professor at the University of Albany School of Public Health who was not involved with the research, told the news source. "For instance, studies have shown that reducing screen time can be helpful when trying to reduce the risk for obesity."

With this knowledge, parents may want to have their children complete a personality test to see if they possess any traits that may be tied to the types of television programs they watch.

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Many people do not realize how much their personality can change
THURSDAY, JANUARY 17, 2013 11:38 AM

If someone took a personality test when he or she was a teenager, and then again later in life, the results from both assessments may not be exactly the same. While teenagers often think they know everything there is to know about themselves, new research reveals that many adults are no different, and do not realize how much they can change over time, according to the American Association for the Advancement of Science''s journal, "Science."

In a recent study, Daniel Gilbert, a psychologist at Harvard University, and fellow researchers set out to see what type of people individuals believe they will become in the future. Based on responses from more than 19,000 participants, on average, they do not see themselves changing that much in the future.

The researchers had individuals between the ages of 18 and 68 fill out questionnaires on their current personality traits, and then again, as if they were answering questions 10 years in the past and 10 years in the future. Overall, they believed that most personality changes occurred in the past, and would not be happening in the future.

"Even at 68, people think, ''Ugh, I''m not the person I was at 58, but I''m sure I''ll be this way at 78,''" said Gilbert, as quoted by Time magazine.

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Boys' classroom behavior may be holding them back
THURSDAY, JANUARY 03, 2013 18:14 PM
If parents are displeased with their children's academic performance, they may want to have them take a personality test to see if their characteristics are getting in the way of better grades. That is because researchers from the University of Georgia (UGA) and Columbia University believe that how boys and girls behave at school determines how their teachers assess them.

In a study, the results of which appear in the "Journal of Human Resources," the researchers set out to discover why girls tend to get better grades in elementary school than boys. To find an answer, they analyzed data on more than 5,800 kindergarteners through fifth-graders, including teachers' assessments of them, as well as scores from standardized tests.

The researchers found that teachers tend to favor female students over their male classmates early on. However, pupils' academic performance did not influence their instructors' assessments of them so much as their behavior in the classroom did.

Children's interpersonal skills, how often they externalized problems or lost control of themselves were all factors that appeared to influence teachers' views of their students. For boys, this can be a problem later in their academic careers.

"… If grade disparities emerge this early on, it's not surprising that by the time these children are ready to go to college, girls will be better positioned," said Christopher Cornwell, head of economics in the UGA Terry College of Business and co-author of the study. 
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