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Dr Petra’s pick of the week

December 13th, 2004

Dr Petra

Every week we see countless stories in the papers about sex and relationships. Many of these aren’t based on reputable research, and some really good studies get missed out as a consequence. Here are the sex and relationships studies just published in academic journals that have caught my eye. They won’t have appeared in the mainstream press, and they could make great story ideas. More angles next Monday, so be sure to bookmark this page…

This week’s pick is all about families…

My beautiful neighbourhood
Older women who have lived for a long time in their neighbourhood, and feel safe and secure there have better mental and physical health, and lower stress scores, than women who don’t feel safer or confident in their communities.
Use this story to:
Talk about how older people can help themselves feel more secure, and how, over this Christmas period, people can check on how their older neighbours are doing. [paper by Young, Russell and Powers, from the University of Newcastle, Australia, published in the Journal of Social Science and Medicine] You could even buy a gift for a granny or granddad at Good Gifts

Listen with mother
Research on sexual development in children has traditionally focused on girl’s relationships with their fathers. However, new research suggests a girl’s relationship with her mother is equally important. Research by Marcus, published in the Journal of Psychoanalytic Inquiry argues that mothers can act as role models for daughters, teaching them to become confident, happy, and sexually desirous women – and creating closeness between mums and daughters.
Use this story to:
Write about mothers’ talking positively about sex to their daughters, or a feature that considers what you learned about sex from your mum or grandmother.

Don’t forget dads!
Stereotypical views about parenting suggest there’s a biological bond that exists between mothers and children, but little attention has been paid the father/child relationship. Quantitative research of over 55000 adult/child dyads by Mackey and Immerman (published in the Journal of Mankind Quarterly) emphasises the innate father to child bond. They argue models of parenting that exclude fathers may not benefit children.
Use this story to:
Discuss father/ child bonding, invite men to talk about their experiences of new fatherhood, and debate the issues around fathers having access to their children.

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