Dr. Terrie E. Moffitt to deliver upcoming Hinckley Lecture
The 18th annual lecture of the Marjorie Pay Hinckley Endowed Chair in Social Work and the Social Sciences is titled, “Surprises About Mental Health Revealed by Following 1,000 People for Decades.” Terrie E. Moffitt, professor of Social Development at King’s College in London and the Nannerl O. Keohane University Professor of Psychology at Duke University will present her research on Thursday, Feb. 3 at 7:30 p.m. in the Hinckley Center Assembly Hall.
Moffitt serves is associate director for the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study in New Zealand, a longitudinal study that has followed a birth cohort of 1,000 participants for nearly 50 years. This study has an unheard of retention rate with 94% of the remaining living subjects still participating.
The latest research from this longitudinal study explores the link between mental health in young people and faster biological aging, the likelihood that the majority of people will struggle with mental health at some point in their life and the value of holistic psychological treatment.
By tracking the life histories of study participants, Moffitt discovered that those who were diagnosed with mental disorders as adolescents also aged quickly. According to biomarkers of physical health, these people aged twice as fast as normal while those with good mental health in their youth showed very little aging.
Moffitt also recognized that over 800 of the 1,000 study participants met the diagnostic criteria for a mental health problem at least once in their now 50 years of life. “If you follow people long enough, almost everybody will have some brush with mental health issues. There’s no room for stigma,” says Moffit.
Many study participants also suffered from a variety of mental health issues throughout their lives. Moffit recommends that mental healthcare providers shift their focus from working through a single diagnosis at a time to doing more to encourage healthy lifestyle skills. This approach can potentially prevent the snowball of other mental health issues in the future and help people enjoy healthier, longer lives overall. “Don’t just treat the one thing that’s wrong today but give them skills they can use to stay healthy the rest of their lives,” says Moffitt.
Dr. Stanley’s lecture “Sliding vs. Deciding: Cohabitation, Commitment, and the Future of Marriage” will be held on Thursday, February 7 at 7:30 p.m. at the Hinckley Center Assembly Hall.
Sliding: The non-decision
about your relationship—especially the future of it—can be hard. But the
repercussions of not having critical conversations and making relationship
decisions are much harder.
or moving to the next stage in a relationship without discussing the
consequences and making a definitive decision and commitment to the future of
the relationship, can be seen in relationships at every stage.
“The people we’ve identified that are at greatest risk [of marital stress] are people who have decided to live together [or move forward in their relationship] before they’ve decided as a couple that they want a future together,” says Dr. Stanley.
Individuals who are not cohabitating face similar risk when they likewise forego crucial clarifying conversations and decision making. In the process of creating relationship ambiguity, couples, in Dr. Stanley’s words, “increase the inertia for their relationship to continue before talking clearly about whether they’re on the same page and where they’re going.”
Following trends and giving up choices
The combination of relationship inertia developing before a
couple’s commitment has matured and the cultural trend of individuals
preferring ambiguity results in individuals bypassing relationship steps and
stages, and in the process, giving up future options.
“People don’t want to be clear,” says Dr. Stanley. “They don’t
want clear [relationship] steps and stages because they don’t want to give up
any options too soon. Ironically, that’s exactly what happens when they’re
sliding through these stages. They’re giving up options before they make a
With societal trends questioning marriage as an essential life stage, individuals find themselves in situations that they never actually decide on because they bypass the stages and opportunities to make clear decisions for their futures.
Recognizing—and taking—proper steps
According to Dr. Stanley, commitment forms strongest when there are a set of steps and stages that couples move through.
Marriage not only acts as a signifier of higher commitment between
two individuals, but it also acts as a major life-orienting step where
individuals can make choices that influence their future lives and
“People slide through potentially life-altering relationship
transitions now without necessarily seeing what the consequences might be in
terms of their future options, [relationship] stability, marriage and family,”
says Dr. Stanley.
Recognizing—and taking—these steps and stages throughout a relationship are essential to establishing the commitment that creates the formation and foundation of sound, stable marriages, families and communities.
Regardless of a couple’s living situation, communication and commitment to a couple’s future need to be made before wedding invitations are sent or closets are merged.
Learn about commitment and the dangers couples face by “sliding” through relationship transitions at the 15th Annual Hinckley Lecture with Dr. Scott Stanley on Thursday, February 7 at 7:30 p.m. at the Hinckley Center Assembly Hall. Admission is free to the public.
Of the approximately 526,000 people who live in the Provo-Orem area, 15,000 individuals have intellectual and developmental disabilities…and about 100,000 individuals have disabilities in general.
In his 2018 Marjorie Pay Hinckley lecture “Fostering Belonging: Inclusion, Friendship, and People with Disabilities,” Cornelius Vanderbilt Professor of Special Education Erik Carter invited us to see these individuals for their strengths instead of focusing on their weaknesses and differences. In doing this, they will truly find worth and belonging in our congregations and communities.
In his research and studies, Dr. Carter found that there is a pattern of 10 attitudes, actions, and experiences that lead to belonging.
1. To be present
In a study conducted by Dr. Carter, 87% of people with disabilities said that faith was “somewhat” or “very important” in their lives, yet only 43% of individuals with significant disabilities attend worship services at least once a month. This is not a critique of these individuals, but a critique of our church buildings and services. We must have facilities and services that serve the needs of all members of the congregation and allow them to be present. Where and how we gather say a lot about our community and how we treat the people of our community.
2. To be invited
It is one thing for an individual to be present, but quite another for them to be intentionally invited to be part of a community. And that’s the key–intention. In Dr. Carter’s study, a church leader reported that “it’s not that we deliberately exclude [individuals with disabilities]. In fact, we’re not deliberate at all. That’s the problem.”
An announcement is a good first step and it may be intentional, but it is not personal. A true invitation is personal, lets the individual know that they are personally being thought of and that their presence really matters.
3. To be welcomed
“[Being welcomed] is not just about what you say, but rather it is more about what is felt. The host is not the one who determines what feels welcoming. It is the guest,” shared Dr. Carter.
For the host (those who are doing the welcoming), the biggest threat to being welcoming is uncertainty. Ask about the needs of the individual and then ask about who they are. Parents of youth with disabilities say that they see a large degree of joy in their children. When you welcome that joy into your congregation, think about the joy they will give back. The charge to welcome individuals with disabilities is not only for close family, friends or a welcome committee, it is a charge for everyone.
4. To be known
When you welcome someone into your community, they should not stay a stranger for long. Getting to know people is essential, but it is how they are known that is even more important. Don’t know people by simply their name, their labels, or their strength in overcoming their disabilities; see them for who they are and their strengths. Their friendship and joy are something to be shared and appreciated.
5. To be accepted
We need to be personally involved with contacting all members of our community. This is not solely the responsibility of religious leaders, but it is again a responsibility for every member of the congregation. By embracing the person for all they are–both their attitudes of you and your attitudes of them–will be changed.
6. To be supported
Having a disability can be challenging, but even more challenging is doing it without the support of those around you. To be supportive you must show interest, ask for input, and ask good questions. Be an advocate for disability awareness efforts and an advocate for the family so that church can become the happiest and most supportive time of these individuals’ and their families’ week.
7. To be cared for
Church only lasts for a few hours but fellowship needs to continue throughout the week. Truly caring for others means that we “recognize and strive to support the spiritual, emotional, and practical needs” of members even after we leave the chapel on Sunday. This care shows that the individual matters and that they belong. Couldn’t we all be a little more caring and concerned?
8. To be befriended
Friendships are a commodity that we often take for granted. In a national study of adolescents with autism, 24% of adults with intellectual disabilities reported having no friendships or caring relationships other than those with their support staff or family members. “The relationship networks of students [and individuals] with disabilities tend to be quite different from those of students without similar labels.”
We must be intentional with our relationships and take the responsibility of being the friend that our peers and community members need.
9. To be needed
Individuals with disabilities are “indispensable members” of a congregation who bring indispensable gifts and talents that can bless everyone in a congregation. Finding ways to be ministered to by people with disabilities will truly bless individuals in our faith communities who interact and learn from individuals with disabilities.
Giving all individuals the opportunities to serve will serve us well.
10. To be loved
God sees everyone with value, worth, and love, so why should we strive to see people any differently? Loving people with disabilities and making sure that they feel belonging is not something that should be left to the experts, it is something that we should do ourselves.
Dr. Carter emphasized, “The core needs are not what’s different, but the supports that we have to provide to support people are different…It is through simple actions that all in a congregation will feel welcomed and a sense of ‘belonging.’”
This year’s topic: Inclusions, friendships, and people with disabilities
Disabilities have always been a present aspect of individuals and society but have only recently received the attention and focus they need and deserve. Whether they be mental, physical, or learning disabilities, these impairments often present challenges to individuals and families who deserve the opportunities to succeed.
In his own experience and research Dr. Carter has found that educational, community and religious organizations all play powerful roles in providing opportunities that help people with disabilities find valued roles, employment, and relationships with their local community members and peers. These relationships themselves go on to unify and strengthen the community as a whole.
During his lecture, Carter will focus on ten aspects of belonging and how attitudes and actions toward people with disabilities can create more meaningful and lasting inclusion in the community.
BYU research and experience
BYU professors have collaborated among themselves and with other scholars to form groups that research and educate on disabilities. One of these groups is Autism Connect which helps families and individuals with autism better understand the disorder and available resources through research. In addition, BYU also puts on the annual Autism Translational Research Workshop to educate on and share best practices in autism.
While research is fundamental to this field, the next step is making sure that people with disabilities and those associated with these individuals are able to receive the access and support for opportunities such as education, jobs, community, and peer relationships. In a recent article by BYU Psychology and Neuroscience professor Mikle South and Associate Clinical Professor Jonathan Cox, BYU’s own environment for supporting individuals with disabilities and autism was observed and critiqued. In order to succeed in post-secondary education, individuals with disabilities may need transitionary programs, “safe spaces” with minimal sensory stimulation where they can take tests, and have support groups or student mentors.
A Community of Inclusion
Success in education and in the community is something that everyone should have the opportunity to achieve. Just like no one should be excluded from receiving an education or job, no one should feel excluded in their community. It is detrimental that we look to establish friendships and relationships with people who need our support.
Learn how to foster belonging within your community through inclusion and friendship with people with disabilities by attending the fourteenth annual Marjorie Pay Hinckley Lecture on February 8th, 2018 at 7:30 p.m. at the Hinckley Assembly Hall. Admission is free and the event is open to the public. Individuals from the BYU community, families, community leaders, and educators will greatly benefit from Dr. Carter’s presentation.
We’d like to believe that the largest difficulty in a child’s life would be not finding the exact color of crayon they’d need to finish drawing a picture. But with the rise of divorce and single parent families, children are forced to live with more and more instability in their lives. “The rate of family change that we’re seeing in the first five years of life is simply overwhelming children’s ability to cope,” stated Dr. Kathryn Edin at the 2017 Hinckley Lecture.
While levels of family instability and complexity are at an all time high, these difficult situations are disproportionately found among disadvantaged families rather than the American population as a whole. The unplanned birth of children into unestablished and young relationships are both the consequence and cause of poverty.
Learn more about the trapping impact of poverty on individuals and the consequential instability in families by watching this excerpt from Dr. Edin’s lecture.
This post is one of many in a series of videos available on our BYU Social Sciences YouTube channel! The channel contains tidbits of many of our most popular lectures and useful, succinct, research-backed advice on relationship, political, religious, media, and financial issues. Follow us there to stay up-to-date on wisdom that will help you and your family live better lives.
Today’s families are changing, as we’ve discussed here and here. Our School of Family Life professors are studying more and more types of families with more and more complex relationships. At our college‘s 2017 Hinckley Lecture, Dr. Kathryn Edin addressed the impact of instability and complexity on many American families. As parents break up, then re-partner, then bring new children into the family dynamic, Dr. Edin explained that “the parental roster is unstable” and “the child has multiple adults in and out of his or her life, claiming the role of mom or dad.” This dynamic is both a consequence and a cause of poverty.
Learn more about instability and complexity by watching this two-minute video, and stay tuned for new videos as we continue to explore these issues.
This post is thirty-fourth in a series of videos available in our new BYU Social Sciences YouTube channel! The channel contains tidbits of many of our most popular lectures and useful, succinct, research-backed advice on relationship, political, religious, media, and financial issues. Follow us there to stay up-to-date on wisdom that will help you and your family live better lives.
This post is eighteenth in a series of videos available in our new BYU Social Sciences YouTube channel! The channel contains tidbits of many of our most popular lectures and useful, succinct, research-backed advice on relationship, political, religious, media, and financial issues. Follow us there to stay up-to-date on wisdom that will help you and your family live better lives.
Research, as we’ve mentioned here and here, shows consistently that people who are married have better health. It follows, then, that divorce or widowhood can have a significant impact on both mental and physical health. Dr. Linda Waite, a sociologist at the University of Chicago and a 2010 Hinckley presenter at BYU, found that people who were married and stayed married to the same person had consistently better health than those who had remarried after a divorce or loss of a spouse, had been divorced or widowed and not remarried, and those who had never married. Interestingly, in terms of physical health, those in the second group who had been divorced or widowed and not remarried reported the worst physical health, those who had never married reported only 12% fewer negative health events, and those who had remarried after divorce or widowhood reported 27% fewer negative health events than the divorced or widowed. Still, that last group suffered 21% more incidences than the “always married.”
The previously married also reported worst emotional health, with those who had never married not far behind.
The short video below highlights the results of her research, shared in a 2010 Hinckley lecture by Waite. The full video can be viewed here.
This post is seventeenth in a series of videos available in our new BYU Social Sciences YouTube channel! The channel contains tidbits of many of our most popular lectures and useful, succinct, research-backed advice on relationship, political, religious, media, and financial issues. Follow us there to stay up-to-date on wisdom that will help you and your family live better lives.
Want to know how to be healthier? Get married! University of Chicago professor Dr. Linda Waite studied marriage and its effects on people and found that the institution improves the health of those in it. She said, in a 2010 Hinckley lecture, that it gave men confidants and purposes in life beyond themselves. Statistically speaking, she said, they also:
Women get different things out of marriage, namely financial stability. Because women can generally depend more on men to provide for them financially, they are able to spend more time with the children. Women who are married with kids generally spend less time working than they did when they did not have kids.
“It’s extremely important that marriage produces social connections,” Waite added. “It connects people to an intimate other and that’s probably the most important single connection and can’t really be overrated.”
The Marjorie Pay Hinckley Chairwas created to strengthen, understand, and research families as well as create strategies to bolster families through challenges such as learning disabilities, social development, and single parenting.
This post is sixteenth in a series of videos available in our new BYU Social Sciences YouTube channel! The channel contains tidbits of many of our most popular lectures and useful, succinct, research-backed advice on relationship, political, religious, media, and financial issues. Follow us there to stay up-to-date on wisdom that will help you and your family live better lives.
What’s the secret to living longer? According to Dr. Linda Waite, it’s marriage. In a 2010 Marjorie Pay Hinckley Lecture, Waite shared her research showing this. She studied 100 American couples over eighteen years, charting their marriages, divorces and, deaths. She found that women who were married lived longer than women who never married, were divorced, or widowed: “Marriage keeps women alive,” she said, and the same was true for men, to an even greater extent, all else being equal. “When you look at the most basic, most fundamental health indicator,” she said, “it’s very clear that married people are advantaged.”
Dr. Waite graduated with a doctorate in Sociology from the University of Michigan in 1976. She is the Lucy Flower Professor in Urban Psychology at the University of Chicago.. She researches social demography, aging, the family, health, working families, and the link between biology, psychology, and the social world. The Marjorie Pay Hinckley Chair, which sponsored Waite’s lecture, was created to strengthen, understand, and research families as well as create strategies to bolster families through challenges such as learning disabilities, “social development,” and single parenting.
This post is twelfth in a series of videos available in our new BYU Social Sciences YouTube channel! The channel contains tidbits of many of our most popular lectures and useful, succinct, research-backed advice on relationship, political, religious, media, and financial issues. Follow us there to stay up-to-date on wisdom that will help you and your family live better lives.
Are all video games negative? According to Dr. Brad Bushman, a 2014 Hinckley presenter, there are negative effects of violent video games, but there are positive effects of pro-social games.
Bushman lists video games that encourage kindness and helpfulness. He studied young adults who played pro-social, neutral, or violent video games. The young adults were assigned to give another young adult a puzzle. They could pick the difficulty level. If the person could figure out a certain number of puzzles within a certain amount of time, they got ten dollars. Bushman used this experiement to understand if pro-social games help people be kind.
As we mentioned in previous posts about his lecture on the subjects of measuring aggression in teenage boys and other effects of violent media, Dr. Bushman acknowledges that adults have the right to choose what media they consume, but he advocates making these effects on children known. Realizing that some of his findings are unpopular with mainstream channels, Bushman challenges popular conceptions by taking painstaking efforts to design his studies in accordance with the scientific method.
His studies have been published in prestigious scientific journals. He has testified in the U.S. Congress on topics related to youth violence and aggression, and has served as a member of President Obama’s committee on gun violence.
Since this topic can be controversial, we encourage viewers to watch the full lecture and the Q&A session that follows for a more complete look at these findings.
Bushman received his Bachelor’s in Psychology from Weber State in 1984 and holds an MEd in Secondary Education from Utah State University (1985), Masters in Psychology and Statistics from the University of Missouri (1987 and 1990 respectively), and a Doctorate in Social Psychology from the same school in 1989. He is the Rinehart Chair of Mass Communication at Ohio State University and teaches both psychology and communication classes. The professor has been featured in media such as BBC, NPR, and the New York Times.
The Marjorie Pay Hinckley Chair was created to strengthen, understand, and research families as well as create strategies to bolster families through challenges such as learning disabilities and single parenting.