This is what's so often missed in schools. Humans OF ALL AGES need "effortful activity purposefully directed toward the achievement of some valued outcome in the world." Kids do better when they are encouraged & supported to make a difference in the world, in their families, in their communities.

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Dec 23, 2023Liked by Dr. Gena Gorlin

“Empirical research has quietly but inexorably borne out my observations: those engaged in some form of productive work—be it via school, employment, training, or caregiving—consistently demonstrate better therapy outcomes than those who aren’t. This finding remains even after controlling for confounds like socioeconomic status, chronic physical illness, severity of mental health problems at the onset of therapy, and so on. Even individuals with serious mental illnesses like schizophrenia show remarkable gains in functioning and quality of life when they are supported in finding gainful employment—far more so than when they are supported in obtaining disability insurance to obviate the need to work.”

This! This is the premise I’m basing my work with teens who are struggling with mental health issues related to social media use.

My thought is that “Personal media bests social media!”

Which is to say that if we can turn paasive media consumers into discerning media priducers (or builders, if you prefer) we can “innoculate” kids against the harmful effects of extensive social media interaction—amd perhaps all interaction via phones.

This is what TeenedIn is all about!!

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Isn't this a bit like saying, "people who walk away from car accidents are more likely to recover fully"? It's probably true, but it doesn't mean it makes sense to encourage everyone to try it.

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Just to check that I understand the question/critique correctly: are you saying that the "people who are doing work are more likely to benefit from therapy" finding is more correlational than causal, since being able to work implies that you're already in better shape to begin with? This is a very reasonable concern to have about such findings, which is why I also noted that 1) it holds up even when controlling for, e.g., how severely impaired someone is at the start of therapy, and 2) studies that randomly assign individuals with severe mental illness to a supported employment intervention (vs some other standard intervention) show very positive outcomes (see https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6382127/ ).

Even without this finding, though, I think I'd have other independent reasons for my thesis that doing work - in the very broad sense of "effortful activity purposefully directed toward the achievement of some valued outcome in the world" - is essential to (re)building our psychological health and resilience over time.

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