Monday, December 20, 2021

Adolescent close friendship quality was a significantly better predictor of adult peer and romantic outcomes, work performance, and depressive symptoms than parental reports of the parent–teen relationship

When friendships surpass parental relationships as predictors of long-term outcomes: Adolescent relationship qualities and adult psychosocial functioning. Joseph P. Allen, Meghan Costello, Jessica Kansky, Emily L. Loeb. Child Development, December 6 2021.

Abstract: Perceptions of adolescent–parent and adolescent–peer relationship qualities, and adolescents’ attachment states of mind were examined as predictors of adult social and romantic relationship quality, depressive symptoms, and work performance. Adolescents (86 male, 98 female; 58% White, 29% African American, 8% mixed race/ethnicity, 5% other groups) were followed from age 13 to 24 via observational, self-, parent-, and close friend-reports. Adolescent close friendship quality was a significantly better predictor of adult peer and romantic outcomes, work performance, and depressive symptoms than parental reports of the parent–teen relationship; attachment security was also a strong predictor of numerous outcomes. Results are interpreted as reflecting the difficulty for parents judging parent–teen relationship quality and as reflecting the growing importance of close friendships during this period.

Assessment of Romantic Relationship Quality

Ribotta, B., Silan, M. A., Dujols, O., Bellemin, R., & IJzerman, H. (2021, December 15). Lack of Construct Validity and Item-Content Overlap in the Assessment of Romantic Relationship Quality.

Abstract: Central to interventions to improve the quality of romantic relationships is its measurement. Yet, to what degree is the concept of relationship quality well-defined, and, importantly, well-measured? In the present article, the authors conducted a comprehensive search of instruments measuring relationship quality in ProQuest, Web of Science, and Scopus finding a total of 599 scales, with 26 meeting our definition of romantic relationship quality. When the authors investigated the 26 scales’ overlap of item-content, they identified 25 distinct categories among 754 items (with our database of items on the OSF: The mean overlap between scales was weak (Jaccard Index correlation coefficient = 0.39), indicating that these scales were very heterogeneous. The authors then assessed to what extent researchers reported internal validity in 43 scale development-validation articles. They found that Cronbach’s Alpha was most often reported (in 91% of the articles). Other aspects were reported far less often, with 55% reporting exploratory factor analyses, 26% reporting confirmatory factor analyses, 23% reporting test-retest reliability, 7% reporting measurement invariance. The heterogeneity of measures and lack of reported general validity of romantic relationship quality points to the need for concept-driven work on the assessment of romantic relationship quality.

Fifty-nation study: Values better predict alcohol consumption; traits better predict obesity

Using Public Datasets to Understand the Psychological Correlates of Smoking, Alcohol Consumption, and Obesity: A Country-Level Analysis. Paul H. P. Hanel, Sara M. G. da Silva, Richard A. Inman. Cross-Cultural Research, December 16, 2021.

Abstract: In the present research, we investigate whether cultural value orientations (CVOs) and aggregate personality traits (Big-5) predict actual levels of alcohol consumption, smoking, and obesity across 50 countries using averages derived from millions of data points. Aggregate traits explained variance above and beyond CVOs in obesity (particularly neuroticism and extraversion), while CVOs explained variance beyond aggregate traits in alcohol consumption (particularly harmony and hierarchy). Smoking was not linked to aggregated traits or CVOs. We conclude that an understanding of the cultural correlates of risky health behaviors may help inform important policies and interventions for meeting international sustainable development goals.

Keywords: public data, smoking, obesity, alcohol, health, personality traits, cultural value orientations

Few studies have investigated the psychological predictors of risky health behaviors at an aggregated country level. The present study addressed this gap in the literature by obtaining reliable estimates of health and psychological variables from big publicly available datasets comprising millions of individuals, and using them to test theoretical predictions.

How Do Country-Level Values and Traits Relate to Risky Health Behaviors?

Cultural values: A recent study using similar datasets has demonstrated that cultural values show a particular pattern of association with alcohol consumption across countries (Inman et al., 2017). Specifically, alcohol consumption was greater in countries that value harmony and autonomy, and lower in countries that value embeddedness and hierarchy. Given that the present study used the same data for cultural values, it was unsurprising that the partial correlations in the present study replicated those of Inman et al. Specifically, significant correlations were observed for harmony (positive) and embeddedness (negative), although the effect sizes were small.

Beyond alcohol, the present study was interested in how values would be associated with smoking and obesity. The pattern of partial correlations for these health indicators suggested some similarity with alcohol consumption. For example, the direction of the associations between alcohol, smoking, and obesity were the same for hierarchy (negative) and mastery (negative). There were, however, some clear differences. Alcohol and smoking were positively correlated with harmony, but obesity appeared to be unrelated. Inman et al. (2017) explained that harmony may be positively correlated to alcohol consumption at the country level because cultures high in harmony regulate how their members relate to the social world via an emphasis on appreciation and “fitting in” (Schwartz, 2006). Such an emphasis may promote “having a good time” as a social motive and thus encourage individuals to engage in risky social behaviors such as drinking, smoking, and illicit drug use. In contrast, obesity may be unrelated to harmony values as its associated risky behaviors are less social in nature.

A second finding was that hierarchy was negatively associated with alcohol consumption. On the other hand, obesity appeared unrelated to embeddedness, and smoking had a positive correlation. Cultures that value hierarchy emphasize responsible behavior in line with rules assigned to their respective roles (Schwartz, 2006). Alcohol has long been considered a threat to public order (Mold, 2018), and contemporary evidence links alcohol consumption to socially undesirable behaviors and health problems (World Health Organization, 2014), both of which are threatening hierarchies. Smoking and obesity, on the other hand, are not linked to disinhibited social behaviors in the same manner as alcohol (e.g., intoxicated behavior) and thus may not be considered as threatening to authorities.

Finally, egalitarianism had a significant negative association with smoking but was unrelated to alcohol, and obesity. This can be understood by considering that egalitarian cultures socialize their populations to feel concern for everyone’s welfare and to act for the benefit of others (Schwartz, 2006). Smoking may be negatively related to egalitarianism because it is a behavior that presents a risk to others, via secondhand smoke, as well as the individual. Indeed, there are a wide range of risks associated with passive smoking including heart disease, stroke and cancer (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2006), and studies within individual countries, such as the U.S.A, have shown that a large proportion of people perceive secondhand smoke as being harmful (Kruger et al., 2016). In short, egalitarian populations may be less likely to smoke because their members try and act in a manner that does not risk the health of others.

Big-5 traits: The study expands on Inman et al. (2017)Mackenbach (2014) and others by also considering country-level aggregates of personality traits. Firstly, it was evident that neither alcohol consumption nor smoking was linked to aggregate personality. Partial correlations did, however, hint that countries with high aggregated scores for openness to new experiences had increased alcohol consumption (although this correlation fell short of being statistically significant, p = .052).

Unlike smoking and alcohol, obesity did present a clear pattern of associations with aggregate personality traits. Specifically, obesity had a strong positive association with extraversion, and a moderate negative association with neuroticism. These findings add to a growing body of evidence that links extraversion to obesity at a country level (McCrae & Terracciano, 2008) and concur with those of several studies that have linked extraversion to increased BMI (Armon et al., 2013Kakizaki et al., 2008). A clear question that emerges from these results is: why is a personality trait linked to descriptors such as “outgoing” and “energetic” linked to increased obesity? Indeed, some studies at the individual level have linked extraversion to healthier eating habits (Mõttus et al., 2012). To account for this, some authors have argued that the positive mood state linked to high extraversion leads individuals to perceive themselves as less vulnerable to negative health conditions and thus to engage in behaviors, such as overeating, that can lead to obesity (Grant & Schwartz, 2011).

Interestingly, our findings only partly replicate those on an individual level. For example, we found that harmony is positively associated with alcohol consumption, whereas Rudnev & Vauclair (2018) have not found a significant relation on an individual level; we found no association between conscientiousness and obesity, whereas a range of other studies found a negative association (e.g., Allen et al., 2015Gerlach et al., 2015Kim, 2016; cf. Table 1); we found a positive association between obesity and extraversion which is in line with the literature (e.g., Kim, 2016Mõttus et al., 2012); however, we also found a negative association between neuroticism and obesity, whereas other studies either found no or positive associations (Kim, 2016Mõttus et al., 2012).

We do not perceive a significant finding to be conflicting with a non-significant one because effect sizes can vary across studies: Assuming a statistical power of <1 (in many cases, the power is clearly below <.80; Brysbaert, 2019), a mix of significant and non-significant findings is expected (Lakens & Etz, 2017). Thus, our findings were mostly in line with the literature. However, the negative association between neuroticism and obesity requires further explanation because some previous research found positive associations between obesity and neuroticism (whereas some others found no association, cf. Table 1). This might indicate to an ecological fallacy: The pattern of association is reversed on the aggregated level as opposed to an individual level. Alternatively, neuroticism might have a different meaning on a country level than on an individual level. The effects of a neurotic person might be different than those of a neurotic large group of people (here: country). Future research is needed to explore this possibility. Importantly, since our findings are overall consistent with the literature, it is unlikely that the ecological fallacy is an issue.

Which Is a Better Predictor of Country-Level Risky Health Behaviors: Values or Traits?

The present study tested theoretical predictions regarding the relative importance of value and traits for understanding risky health behaviors. Our finding was that values and traits were differentially important for different behaviors. In line with our predictions, cultural values were a better predictor of alcohol consumption than traits. Alcohol consumption has always been rooted in a social context and in many societies (excluding “abstinent” societies that expressly forbid alcohol consumption for religious reasons; Room & Mäkelä, 2000) alcohol consumption is a common occurrence at social events (Galea et al., 2004). In other words, drinking alcohol is a social behavior. Because values are more important for guiding social interactions than traits (Boer et al., 2011), they were also the better predictors.

Also in line with our predictions, B5-traits were a better predictor of obesity than cultural values. Obesity can be a result of by poor eating habits and a lack of physical exercise (Prentice & Jebb, 1995). In other words, it is caused by behavior that lies in the past. Thus, obesity is conceptually closer to traits, which measure how a person is in the present (Saucier, 1994), in contrast to values, which are better able to capture future behavior (Eyal et al., 2009).

Finally, the results did not support our third hypothesis that values explain variance beyond traits in smoking. Initially, we predicted that values would be better at explaining smoking than traits because values are more relevant for social interactions (Boer et al., 2011). However, in retrospect, we believe that smoking might have a weaker social component than alcohol consumption. Indeed, the number of cigarettes daily smokers consume on average per hour varies little between 10 a.m. and midnight (Shiffman et al., 2014). If smoking was mostly social, it would be higher in the late afternoons and evenings when people are more likely to be in social situations. Note however that our data does not allow us to distinguish between social smokers and “full-time” smokers. We assume that values are better predictors for social smokers, a prediction that can be investigated by future research.


One potential limitation pertains to differences in sample types across the measures. While smoking, obesity, and alcohol consumption were based on official representative data, not all of our traits and values data was based on representative samples. However, the value importance and structure remains mainly the same across sample types such as representative, student, or teacher samples (Hanel et al., 2018Schwartz & Bardi, 2001), indicating that the sample type barely matters.

Another possible limitation pertains to the sample size of only 50 countries. However, the term “sample size” is misleading here: The numerical value of each country for each variable consists of hundreds to thousands of participants (traits and values) or even millions (smoking, obesity, and alcohol consumption), making our analysis very robust. Moreover, a sample of 50 countries is more representative of the total “population” of around 200 countries than, for example, a sample of even 1,000,000 Americans to the total US population of around 300, 000, 000. Finally, with 50 countries, we included more countries than many previous studies which often included 20–30 countries (see Introduction, for example). It is important to acknowledge, however, that countries from geographical regions other than Europe, and particularly the East Mediterranean and Africa regions, were underrepresented in our sample.

Finally, the trait data we used were measured with two different questionnaires, the NEO-PI-R (McCrae, 2001) and the BFI (Schmitt et al., 2007), which show on a country level relatively low convergence, rs ≤ .45 (Schmitt et al., 2007). However, both trait measures are reliable and valid, which makes it unlikely that the combination of trait measures impacted the results.


A current UN goal for sustainable development by 2030 includes ensuring healthy lives and well-being for all at all ages (United Nations General, 2015). This includes specifically, reducing by one-third premature mortality from noncommunicable diseases through prevention and treatment and promoting well-being. This study adds to a growing body of research that suggests information about cultural-level psychological characteristics, including dimensions and profiles of cultural values and aggregate personality, may be useful for informing policies and interventions aimed at meeting these goals. Campaigns promoting healthy behaviors, for example, may be differentially effective across populations with distinct cultural values or personality characteristics. Future research is, however, required to further understand the causal mechanisms between country-level psychological characteristics and risky health behaviors.

Many publicly available datasets, and particularly those including health-related variables, have data for most countries. Unfortunately, datasets including national indices of psychological variables typically have smaller samples. Moreover, while national health indicators are abundant and easily accessible, it is currently more difficult to find and obtain national indices of psychological variables. The present study demonstrates that public datasets can be useful to researchers who wish to test theoretical predictions about country-level psychological characteristics and their relations to indicators of health or well-being. Given that such research findings may have important implications for meeting international goals for sustainable development (e.g., the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development), a clear implication of our study is that an effort is required to construct public datasets that outline the psychological characteristics of all countries globally.

Monkeys vs Dogs: It is claimed that over 200 puppies were dropped to their deaths by vengeful simians... Hyenas can also show this avenging behavior...

Monkeys vs Dogs: Over 200 puppies dropped to their deaths by vengeful simians. Pritha Paul. MEAWW Dec 18 2021.

After a few dogs killed an infant monkey a month ago, the angry monkeys have been snatching up pups to drop them from a height to their grisly deaths

A blood-thirsty gang of monkeys are waging a war with dogs in a small village in India. The village's canine population is being terrorized by the group of primates after a few dogs killed an infant monkey.

The monkeys' "revenge" saw around 250 dogs being dragged and dropped from the tops of buildings and trees. Not a single dog has survived the purge by the raging primates. All of this has been going down in Maharashtra’s Beed district, about 300 miles east of Mumbai, in the nearby Lavool village. The killing began a month ago after a few dogs killed a monkey's baby, the villagers told News 18. The moment a dog is spotted, the simians snatch up the pups, drag them somewhere high to drop them to their deaths. 

Video captured by the outlet showed a tiny dog in the clutches of a primate near the edge of a building. Residents contacted forest department officials to catch the monkeys after all of the dogs were killed in the village. But in Lavool, which has a population of about 5,000, the officials weren’t able to catch a single monkey, when they tried, the outlet reported. Some have even been attacked. 

When all else failed, the villagers took it upon themselves to take action and tried to tackle the monkey problem. However, the simians then turned their sights on the people as they tried to rescue the dogs. As a result, some have been injured after falling from buildings while trying to save the dogs, the outlet said. The monkeys still haven’t stopped and are now targeting small children en route to school, the outlet said. 

According to Stephanie Poindexter, an assistant professor at SUNY Buffalo whose research focuses on primate behavioral ecology, monkeys can take revenge. "We've seen that when an individual is attacked in some way, the likelihood of them attacking someone related to their aggressor is higher," Poindexter told Gizmodo. "Typically there's a preference for attacking a third-party associated with the original aggressor, as opposed to the actual aggressor... for the most part, these acts of 'revenge' take place shortly after the attack." Poindexter also explained that hyenas also have been known to seek revenge by hurting the aggressor's relatives instead of the actual aggressor.

Other instances of monkey rage

This is not the only instance of monkeys taking revenge. A wild monkey captured a puppy and held it hostage at the top of a tree for three days in Malaysia. The macaque reportedly kidnapped the puppy when it was two weeks old. 

Some locals have also complained about the monkeys raiding their pantries, snatching clothes, and going through fridges. The increasing number of complaints led to Malaysia's Department of Wildlife and National Parks begin mass cullings of thousands of macaques a year.