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October 1, 2016

This week’s family-related news coverage included the need for colleges to catch up with the “new” type of student, new research regarding emotional adjustment after a spouse dies, a baby born from genetic material of three parents, a study which found that physical health is linked to a happy spouse, an approach to climate science that inspires students without terrifying them, a study of implicit bias in the preschool classroom, and finally a successful anti-drug program that recognizes the importance of a child’s temperament as a key to understanding addiction.

Shaken By Economic Change, Non-Traditional Students Are Becoming The New Normal Eric Westervelt, NPR September 25, 2016 Almost half of all undergraduate students today can be categorized as “non-traditional.” At America’s community colleges, those students are the vast majority. However, many colleges and universities are not adequately addressing the needs of the older student.

When a Spouse Dies, Resilience Can Be Uneven Jane Brody, The New York Times, September 26, 2016 New research shows that even those who express overall satisfaction with their lives after the loss of a spouse often experience significant declines in specific aspects of physical and emotional health and well-being. What researchers found to help most was remaining socially connected and engaged in the usual activities of everyday life and knowing where they could turn for help and comfort and receiving support when they needed it.

New York Fertility Doctor Says He Created Baby With 3 Genetic Parents Rob Stein, NPR, September 27, 2016 In a controversial move, a doctor who treats infertility in New York City, went to Mexico to help a couple from Jordan have the first baby purposefully created with DNA from three different adults.

A Happy Spouse May Be Good for Your Health Nicholas Bakalar, The New York Times, September 27, 2016 Previous studies have found that mental well-being — feeling happy and satisfied — is closely linked to good physical health. But a new study, published in Health Psychology, suggests that physical health may also be linked to the happiness of one’s husband or wife.

Teaching Middle-Schoolers Climate Change Without Terrifying Them Rowan Moore Gerety, NPR, September 27, 2016 A study in the journal Science this spring found that half of U.S. science teachers spend less than two hours on climate change each year. This inspired a veteran science teacher in Florida to help her students understand the seriousness of climate science and to give them the support they need to make a positive contribution.

Bias Isn’t Just a Police Problem, It’s a Preschool Problem Cory Turner, NPR, September 28, 2016 A study on implicit bias among preschool teachers confirmed that: “When people feel some kind of shared connection to folks, when they hear more about their misfortunes, they feel more empathetic to them. But if they feel that they are different from each other … it may actually cause them to perceive that person in a more negative light.” Biases are natural, the researcher states, however they must be recognized and also reckoned with.

The 4 Traits That Put Kids at Risk for Addiction Maia Szalavitz, The New York Times, September 29, 2016 A new anti-drug program called Preventure, developed by Patricia Conrod, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Montreal, recognizes how a child’s temperament drives his or her risk for drug use — and that different traits create different pathways to addiction. Early trials show that personality testing can identify 90 percent of the highest risk children, targeting risky traits before they cause problems.

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