Written by: Nathaniel Tok, Peak Associate


Teen boys found to experience greater relationship abuse than teen girls

Among students aged 12 to 19, violence in relationships is experienced more by boys than girls, according to a psychology study led by SFU doctorate student Catherine Shaffer and UBC nursing professor Elizabeth Saewyc.

Data came from surveys of 35,000 B.C. students in 2003, 2008, and 2013 sourced from the McCreary Centre Society, an adolescent health charity.

Students were asked if they had been physically struck by their significant other within the past year. When comparing the data between the sexes, it was found that boys consistently reported being hit or slapped by a significant other more often than girls did.

In an interview with The Star Vancouver, Shaffer theorizes such results may extend from social norms, saying, “It could be that it’s still socially acceptable for girls to hit or slap boys in dating relationships.”

The researchers also found that while boys have experienced less and less dating victimization over the past decade, the level of dating violence girls face has stayed roughly the same, leaving researchers to wonder whether current intervention protocols are not effective for girls.

Experiences of violence during dating can lead to depression and worse academic performance among teens. Thus, intervention programs to reduce dating violence among teens are under development.

The findings of the study appear to match those of similar American studies, though further research is needed to see how it can be applied worldwide and among LGBTQ+ adolescents, Shaffer told The Star Vancouver.


With files from The Star Vancouver and SFU News.



An investigation into whether artificial lighting can improve sleep and circadian rhythms

An investigation into whether LED lights can alter circadian rhythms and aid in mental healthcare is being conducted by SFU postdoctoral fellow Myriam Juda in partnership with BC Hydro and the Burnaby Centre for Mental Health and Addiction. Juda connected with them through a Mitacs Accelerate internship.

For her research, Juda is using LED lights which can change their colour, temperature, and intensity to mimic natural light. She evaluates the light’s effect on the rest-activity cycle, sleep, and circadian rhythms to promote mental health and substance abuse recovery.

The LED lights will change in tune according to the time of day mimicking the light during a sunrise, midday, sunset and at night.

“Despite the fact that humans have used artificial lighting for many years now, our bodies are still very much in tune with the natural rhythms of outdoor light and we predict that getting good sleep and having stable circadian rhythms will improve patient recovery,” said Juda to SFU News.

Juda noted that she is glad to see community partners taking an interest in her work. She hopes that her research can open “possibilities for improving lighting in hospitals and other care units, and eventually also in settings like schools or offices.”

Her research has been awarded a grant from AGE-WELL, a tech network which supports innovations that improve life for older adults. Juda is also preparing to conduct an intervention study with Nikkei Seniors Health Care and Housing Society, a non-profit which runs supportive residences for Japanese seniors.

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