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Adolescent wellbeing

Despite great strides in improving overall child well-being, progress has been slower in key areas of adolescent vulnerability, including exposure to violence, early marriage and school completion, especially among adolescent girls. The Lancet Commission ‘Our Future’ (2016) has examined the rapidly changing social and structural determinants of adolescent well-being and their implications on health promotion and prevention work.  It stresses the importance of adolescence as a critical period of formative growth that affects well-being across the life course. Although evidence is building in some domains of adolescent’s lives, greater understanding of the transition to adulthood and how different underlying factors interact is needed in order to inform the basis for effective programming and policy. The need to incorporate consideration of different structural factors into programme design is gaining support, yet there is still little guidance on systematic evidence-based approaches to employ in practice.

The Adolescent Research Programme is advancing global understandings of adolescent well-being in selected countries and themes by defining the drivers of well-being outcomes (‘causes and consequences’) and examining effective policy and programme interventions (‘what works’).

Research Priorities 2014 – 2018
• Rigorous evidence generation on structural and social determinants of adolescent wellbeing across sectors and throughout the life course.
• Understanding formal institutions, systems and policy processes as well as social and cultural norms affecting behaviours and policy implementation.
• Analytical focus on age and gender gaps to shed light on the main drivers of adolescent vulnerability.

Global Research Partnership
Together with UK Department of International Development, Italy, SIDA, UNICEF as well as US Department of Labour, the Oak Foundation, and others, the global research partnership is working with multiple national governments and institutions to improve understandings of various dimensions of adolescents’ lives.
The programme is linked to the Gender and Adolescence Global Evidence initiative. It leverages UNICEF’s programme technical capacity as well as networks of regional and country offices and implementing partners in low and middle income countries.
Drawing on multi –disciplinary research expertise, the UNICEF programme has produced cutting edge research that explores what works to improve outcomes for adolescents.
Quality evidence is having impact - informing effective policy and interventions in focus countries and beyond.

Adolescent wellbeing

Despite great strides in improving overall child well-being, progress has been slower in key areas of adolescent vulnerability, including exposure to violence, early marriage and school completion, especially among adolescent girls. The Lancet Commission ‘Our Future’ (2016) has examined the rapidly changing social and structural determinants of adolescent well-being and their implications on health promotion and prevention work.  It stresses the importance of adolescence as a critical period of formative growth that affects well-being across the life course. Although evidence is building in some domains of adolescent’s lives, greater understanding of the transition to adulthood and how different underlying factors interact is needed in order to inform the basis for effective programming and policy. The need to incorporate consideration of different structural factors into programme design is gaining support, yet there is still little guidance on systematic evidence-based approaches to employ in practice.

The Adolescent Research Programme is advancing global understandings of adolescent well-being in selected countries and themes by defining the drivers of well-being outcomes (‘causes and consequences’) and examining effective policy and programme interventions (‘what works’).

Research Priorities 2014 – 2018
• Rigorous evidence generation on structural and social determinants of adolescent wellbeing across sectors and throughout the life course.
• Understanding formal institutions, systems and policy processes as well as social and cultural norms affecting behaviours and policy implementation.
• Analytical focus on age and gender gaps to shed light on the main drivers of adolescent vulnerability.

Global Research Partnership
Together with UK Department of International Development, Italy, SIDA, UNICEF as well as US Department of Labour, the Oak Foundation, and others, the global research partnership is working with multiple national governments and institutions to improve understandings of various dimensions of adolescents’ lives.
The programme is linked to the Gender and Adolescence Global Evidence initiative. It leverages UNICEF’s programme technical capacity as well as networks of regional and country offices and implementing partners in low and middle income countries.
Drawing on multi –disciplinary research expertise, the UNICEF programme has produced cutting edge research that explores what works to improve outcomes for adolescents.
Quality evidence is having impact - informing effective policy and interventions in focus countries and beyond.

LATEST PUBLICATIONS

This research brief is one of a series of five briefs which provide an overview of available evidence shown in the Campbell Collaboration-UNICEF Mega-Map on the effectiveness of interventions to improve child welfare in low- and middle-income countries. These briefs summarize evidence as mapped against the five goal areas of UNICEF’s 2018–2021 Strategic Plan, although it is anticipated that they will also be useful for others working in the child well-being space. This brief provides an overview of the available evidence related to interventions to ensure every child survives and thrives.

This research brief is one of a series of five briefs which provide an overview of available evidence shown in the Campbell Collaboration-UNICEF Mega-Map on the effectiveness of interventions to improve child welfare in low- and middle-income countries. These briefs summarize evidence as mapped against the five goal areas of UNICEF’s 2018–2021 Strategic Plan, although it is anticipated that they will also be useful for others working in the child well-being space. This brief provides an overview of the available evidence related to interventions to ensure every child learns.

This research brief is one of a series of five briefs which provide an overview of available evidence shown in the Campbell Collaboration-UNICEF Mega-Map on the effectiveness of interventions to improve child welfare in low- and middle-income countries. These briefs summarize evidence as mapped against the five goal areas of UNICEF’s 2018–2021 Strategic Plan, although it is anticipated that they will also be useful for others working in the child well-being space. This brief provides an overview of the available evidence related to interventions to ensure every child is protected from violence and exploitation.

This research brief is one of a series of five briefs which provide an overview of available evidence shown in the Campbell Collaboration-UNICEF Mega-Map on the effectiveness of interventions to improve child welfare in low- and middle-income countries. These briefs summarize evidence as mapped against the five goal areas of UNICEF’s 2018–2021 Strategic Plan, although it is anticipated that they will also be useful for others working in the child well-being space. This brief provides an overview of the available evidence related to interventions to ensure every child lives in a safe and clean environment.

This research brief is one of a series of five briefs which provide an overview of available evidence shown in the Campbell Collaboration-UNICEF Mega-Map on the effectiveness of interventions to improve child welfare in low- and middle-income countries. These briefs summarize evidence as mapped against the five goal areas of UNICEF’s 2018–2021 Strategic Plan, although it is anticipated that they will also be useful for others working in the child well-being space. This brief provides an overview of the available evidence related to interventions to ensure that every child has an equitable chance in life.

A quarterly research digest highlighting the most important news and resources in adolescent well-being over the last three months.

EDITOR(S)

Emanuela Bianchera

Of 1.2 billion adolescents in the world today, 90% live in low- and middle-income countries. These adolescents not only face many challenges but also represent a resource to be cultivated through educational opportunities and vocational training to move them toward economic independence, through initiatives to improve reproductive health, and through positive interpersonal relationships to help them avoid risky behaviors and make positive decisions about their futures. This volume tackles the challenges and promise of adolescence by presenting cutting-edge research on adolescent social, emotional, behavioral, cognitive, and physical development; promising programs from different countries to promote adolescents’ positive development; and policies that can advance adolescents’ rights within the framework of international initiatives, such as the Convention on the Rights of the Child and Sustainable Development Goals, which are guiding the international development agenda through 2030. This volume seeks to provide actionable strategies for policymakers and practitioners working with adolescents. Disconnects between national-level policies and local services, as well as lack of continuity with early childhood responses, present a significant challenge to ensuring a coherent approach for adolescents. Increasingly, adolescent participation and demands for rights-based approaches are seen and often unfortunately conflated with violence. This volume adopts a positive framing of adolescence, representing young people as opportunities rather than threats, and a valued investment both at individual and societal levels, contributing to a positive shift in discourses around young people.

AUTHOR(S)

Prerna Banati; Jennifer E. Lansford

This short paper grew out of discussions at a two-day research workshop focused on famines and adolescents. It explores some of what we do and do not know about the impacts of humanitarian situations on adolescents’ lives. Adolescents and their specific capacities and vulnerabilities have tended to be overlooked in the design and implementation of humanitarian responses, including in social protection and further components of such responses. This paper seeks to bring these questions to the attention of researchers, policy makers and practitioners in order to address identified priority gaps; build on existing knowledge; invest in better evidence generation; and include adolescents in research and response efforts in meaningful ways. Such improvements to humanitarian responses would assist in developing more inclusive efforts that consider all ages in the child’s life-course; aim for more sustainable well-being outcomes and help meet core commitments to children in these settings.

Chronic undernutrition is characterized by long-term exposure to food of insufficient quality and inadequate quantity, including restricted intake of energy, protein, fat, micronutrients, essential amino acids, vitamins and minerals. Physiologically, in a state of chronic food insufficiency, the human body conserves energy by prioritizing essential metabolic processes resulting in impaired linear growth and delayed reproductive maturation. Consequently, height can theoretically be considered a measure of an individual’s cumulative health and nutrition. Therefore, a deviation from the ‘normal’ height relative to one’s age represents a deviation from one’s optimal growth and, potentially, the presence of other issues. Similarly, the delayed onset of puberty is another common physiological response to food insufficiency, often accompanying impaired linear growth. Chronic undernutrition can arise from chronic disease, congenital abnormalities and insufficient food intake. In this review, we will explore the hypothesis of CUG during adolescence, given the relationship between impaired linear growth and the delayed onset of puberty in children suffering from chronic undernutrition due to a lack of sufficient quality and quantity of food.

AUTHOR(S)

Susan Campisi; Bianca Carducci; Olle Söder; Zulfiqar Bhutta

A quarterly research digest highlighting the most important news and resources in adolescent well-being over the last three months.

EDITOR(S)

Emanuela Bianchera

MORE PUBLICATIONS

Project team

Prerna Banati; Kerry Albright; Emanuela Bianchera; Elena Camilletti; Michelle Mills; Tia Palermo; Audrey Pereira; Amber Peterman; Elsa Valli


Partner organizations

African Economic Research Consortium

Gender and Adolescence: Global Evidence

Institute for Social Development Studies - Vietnam

International Center for Research on Women

Policy Research for Development

Social Development Direct

The Bassiouni Group

The Lancet Commission on Adolescent Health and Wellbeing

The Transfer Project

UNICEF - Adolescent Development and Participation Team

UNICEF Gender Team

University of Edinburgh

University of Malawi

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

University of Oxford

University of Zambia

University of Zimbabwe

Young Lives International Study on Childhood Poverty


Videos

Solange's Story: Young people working to end violence in Peru

Blogs

Can data help end corporal punishment?

Supporting families and parents in a rapidly changing world

Are we failing adolescents?


Commentaries

Adolescent Digest Review: One youth's perspective


Podcasts

Adolescent Development Research: new developments and how they can create better policy-making


Journal articles

Children’s Roles in Social Reproduction: reexamining the discourse on care through a child lens


What's new stories

Handbook on adolescent development research published


Related external links

Handbook of Adolescent Development Research and its Impact on Global Policy

UNICEF Data on Adolescents

UNICEF Adolescents and Youth


External website

UNICEF Gender


RESEARCH WATCH

Will there be an AIDS-free generation?

Are we failing adolescent girls?


Conferences & Meetings

Social Protection “Plus” Workshop


Related Innocenti Projects

2014-2015

An operational structural determinants framework for adolescents

PROJECTS ARCHIVE