DEP 3305 EXAM #1 Study Guide
Puberty and what it entails
- Puberty: Refers to the period during which an individual becomes capable of sexual reproduction
- Puberty has three chief physical manifestations:
1. A rapid acceleration in growth, resulting in dramatic increases in height and weight.
2. The development of primary sex characteristics, including the further development of the gonads (sex glands), which results in a series of hormonal changes.
3. The development of secondary sex characteristics, including changes in the genitals and breasts, and the growth of pubic, facial, and body hair.
- Menarche: The beginning of Menstruation
- Adrenarche: The maturation of the Adrenal Glands
Hormones and their role in adolescence (general and specific) - Hormones: are highly specialized substances that are secreted by one or more endocrine glands and then enter the bloodstream and travel throughout the body.
• The hormonal feedback loop regulates like a thermometer
- Most people understandably think that changes in behavior at puberty result from changes in hormones at that time. But this is only partially correct. We also discuss several other topics like What is the basic element of the nervous system?
• Hormones (before birth) organize the brain in ways that may not be manifested in behavior until childhood or even adolescence.
• Studies of sex differences in aggression show that they likely result from the impact of prenatal hormones, rather than from hormonal changes at puberty.
• Many changes in behavior at adolescence do occur because of changes in hormone levels at puberty, however. Don't forget about the age old question of What is the definition of sharecropping?
- The increase in certain hormones at puberty is thought to stimulate the development of secondary sex characteristics, such as the growth of pubic hair.
- There is also growing evidence that puberty affects the brain in ways that increase adolescents’ emotional arousal and desire for highly rewarding, exciting activities, which may make some teenagers more prone to emotional and behavioral problems
- One reason adolescence is a period of great vulnerability for the onset of many serious mental disorders is that the hormonal changes of puberty make us more responsive to stress
- The simultaneous release of growth hormones, thyroid hormones, and androgens stimulates rapid acceleration in height and weight. This dramatic increase in stature is called the adolescent growth spurt. If you want to learn more check out What is the purpose of the cardiovascular system in our body?
Impact of hormones on adolescent behavior
- rapid increases in many of the hormones associated with puberty, such as testosterone, estrogen, and various adrenal androgens, may be associated with increased irritability, impulsivity, aggression (in boys) and depression (in girls).
- It turns out that stressful life events, such as problems in the family, in school, or with friends, play a far greater role in the development of depression than do hormonal changes.
• Similarly, while high levels of testosterone have been associated with impulsivity and aggression and low levels with depression
• these associations are weaker among adolescents who have positive family relationships.
Body fat and muscle tissue in developing adolescents
- Before puberty, there are relatively few sex differences in muscle development and only slight sex differences in body fat.
- In both sexes, muscular development is rapid during puberty, but muscle tissue grows faster in boys than girls.
- Body fat increases for both sexes during puberty, but more so for females than for males, especially during the years just before puberty. (there is actually a slight decline in body fat in boys just before puberty.)
• This has important implications for understanding why sex differences in strength and athletic ability often appear for the first time during adolescence. Don't forget about the age old question of Who was the female activist for african american voting rights?
- According to one estimate, about half of the sex difference in athletic performance during early adolescence results simply from the difference in body fat.
- The rapid increase in body fat among females in early adolescence frequently makes girls overly concerned about their weight—even when their weight is within the normal range for their height and age.
• Adolescence is the period of greatest risk for the development of eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia.
- The majority of girls diet unnecessarily during this time in response to the increase in body fat
• the girls who are most susceptible to these feelings are those who mature early and begin dating early.
• These traits make a girl especially vulnerable to feelings of body dissatisfaction.
- Girls who spend a lot of time talking about their looks with their friends - who are teased about their weight
- who are pressured to be thin
- Given the emphasis placed on thinness, the increase in body dissatisfaction among White girls that takes place at puberty is linked to specific concerns that girls have about their hips, thighs, waist, and weight
• In fact, for girls, it is comparing themselves with their friends, and not just being exposed to media portrayals of thinness, that leads to dissatisfaction
• In contrast, boys’ feelings about how they look revolve around how muscular they are and do not seem to be affected by comparisons with peers. If you want to learn more check out What is eclipse?
• There are also important ethnic and cross-cultural differences. In many parts of the world, including North and South America, Europe, and Asia, there is strong pressure on girls to be thin.
- Black adolescents seem less vulnerable to these feelings than other girls, in part because of ethnic differences in conceptions of the ideal body type.
Estrogens and androgens in puberty
- a feedback loop develops involving three
• the pituitary gland (which controls hormone
levels in general)
• the hypothalamus (the part of the brain that Don't forget about the age old question of General Systems Theory refers to what?
controls the pituitary gland, and where there is a
concentration of GnRH neurons)
• the gonads (in males, the testes; in females, the
ovaries), which release the “sex” hormones—
androgens and estrogens.
• This feedback loop is known as the HPG axis
(for Hypothalamus, Pituitary, Gonads).
- Your HPG axis is set to maintain certain levels of androgens and estrogens.
Early-maturing boys and girls (characteristics, future)
- Late maturers, on average, are taller than early maturers as adults - Early maturers, on average, are somewhat heavier—at least among females. - BOYS:
• Early-maturing boys feel better about themselves and are more popular than their late-maturing peers
• Few studies have found elevated rates of depression and anxiety among early maturing boys and among boys who go through puberty especially rapidly
- Although all adolescents are adversely affected by being bullied by their peers, the impact of victimization is greater for early maturers, perhaps because being picked on when one is larger than average is all the more embarrassing
• Early-maturing boys are more likely than their peers to get involved in antisocial or deviant activities, including truancy, minor delinquency, and problems at school, use drugs and alcohol, and engage in other risky activities
- Boys who are more physically mature are less closely supervised by adults and spend more time hanging out in settings in which delinquent behavior is more likely to occur, like parts of neighborhoods where there are few adults around
- It is more likely that older-looking boys develop friendships with older peers, who lead them into activities that are problematic for the younger boys.
• Early-maturing boys enjoy some psychological advantages over late maturers with respect to self-esteem and admiration from peers during early adolescence
- However it turns out that there may be some interesting advantages for late maturing boys, despite initially lower popularity. During puberty and one year later, late maturers show significantly higher ratings on measures of intellectual curiosity, exploratory behavior, and social initiative.
• Early-maturing girls have more emotional difficulties than their peers - Poorer self-image and higher rates of depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and panic attacks
- These difficulties seem to have less to do with the direct effects of hormones and more to do with the ways in which looking different from their peers affects
girls’ feelings about their appearance and social relationships with other adolescents.
• For example, the impact of early maturation is worse on girls who are heavier than on their thinner peers
• Although some early-maturing girls have self-image difficulties, their popularity with peers is not jeopardized.
- Early maturers are more popular than other girls, especially, as you would expect, when the index of popularity includes popularity with boys
- Early-maturing girls are often the victims of rumors and gossip and are more likely to suffer from social anxiety
• One explanation is the “maturational deviance” hypothesis. - Youngsters who stand far apart from their peers may experience more psychological distress than adolescents who blend in more easily.
- Because girls on average mature earlier than boys, early-maturing girls mature earlier than both their male and female peers.
• This makes them really stand out at a time when they would rather fit in and may make them more vulnerable to emotional distress.
• A second explanation for the sex difference in the impact of early maturation focuses on “developmental readiness.”
- Puberty requires psychological adaptation by the adolescent, therefore younger adolescents are less ready to cope with the challenge than older ones.
- Early maturation among boys, because it occurs at a later age, would pose less of a problem.
• Helps to explain why late-maturing boys seem better able than early maturers to control their temper and their impulses; They are relatively older and psychologically more mature.
- Like their male counterparts, early-maturing girls are also more likely to become involved in delinquency, drinking, and drug use; to have school problems; and to experience early sexual intercourse.
- These problems appear to arise because early-maturing girls, like early maturing boys, are more likely to spend time unsupervised hanging out with older adolescents, especially older adolescent boys
Puberty’s effect on family relationships
- In White families, as youngsters mature from childhood toward the middle of puberty, emotional distance between them and their parents increases, and conflict intensifies, especially between adolescents and mothers.
- The change that takes place is reflected in an increase in negative and a decrease in the positive.
Obesity and other eating disorders in adolescence
• Individuals are considered obese if their BMI is at or above the 95th percentile for people of the same age and gender, at great risk for obesity if their BMI is at or above the 90th percentile, and overweight if their BMI is at or above the 85th percentile.
• More than one-sixth of adolescents in the United States are obese and another 15% are at great risk for obesity
• Obesity is now considered the single most serious public health problem afflicting American teenagers
- Obesity is a result of the interplay of genetic and environmental factors.
• Individuals at risk for obesity show relatively greater activation of the brain’s reward centers in general
- Heightened responses to images of food, and poorer impulse control
• Obesity is especially prevalent among poor youth and among Black, Latino, and Native American adolescents
• Too many adolescents eat too much high-calorie, low-fiber food (drinking far too many sugary soft drinks and consuming too much junk food), and too few are physically active, spending excessive amounts of time with television, video games, and electronic media, and not enough time exercising or playing sports.
• Behavioral therapy is designed to gradually alter patterns of diet and exercise and medications designed to promote weight loss.
- Disordered Eating
• Eating habits ranging from dieting that may be perfectly sensible and healthy, to disordered eating that is unhealthy but not at a level requiring treatment, to full blown clinical disorders.
• Disordered eating is associated with a range of stress-related psychological problems
- including poor body image, depression, alcohol and tobacco use, and poor interpersonal relationships.
• Some young women become so concerned about gaining weight that they take drastic—and dangerous— measures to remain thin.
- In the more severe cases, young women who suffer from an eating disorder called anorexia nervosa actually starve themselves in an effort to keep their weight down.
- Others go on eating binges and then force themselves to vomit or take laxatives to avoid gaining weight, a pattern associated with an eating disorder called bulimia.
- Anorexia and bulimia may be best understood as particular manifestations of a more general underlying psychological problem—called “internalized distress”— that can be displayed in a variety of ways
- In support of this view, some evidence suggests that the same medications that are successful in treating depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder are useful in treating bulimia
• The treatment of bulimia, especially with cognitive behavioral therapy, has proven far more successful than the treatment of anorexia.
• Adolescents with these sorts of eating disorders have an extremely disturbed body image: They see themselves as overweight when they are actually underweight.
• Some anorexic youngsters may lose between 25% and 50% of their body weight. If untreated, lead to a variety of serious physical problems.
- Nearly 20% of anorexic teenagers inadvertently starve themselves to death.
• Having Binge eating disorder means individuals binge eat and feel distressed about doing so, but do not try to compensate for their binges through extreme weight loss measures.
- As a consequence, individuals with binge eating disorder are at high risk for obesity.
- Because this disorder has only been defined recently, there is very little research on its causes, correlates, or treatment.
“Thinking” characteristics of the adolescent. Differences between child and adolescent thinking.
- Changes in cognition
• Represent the second of three fundamental changes that occur during adolescence
• The cognitive transitions of adolescence have far-reaching implications for the young person’s psychological development and social relations
• Compared to children:
- Adolescents are better at thinking about what is possible, instead of limiting their thought to what is real. (Hypothetical thinking)
- Adolescents are better at thinking about abstract things.
- Adolescents think more often about the process of thinking itself. - Adolescents’ thinking is more often multidimensional, rather than limited to a single issue.
- Adolescents are more likely to see things as relative, rather than as absolute
• Adolescents think “counterfactually”— think not only about how things actually are, but to think about what might have been.
• The adolescent’s ability to reason systematically in terms of what is possible comes in handy when learning math and science.
• Many parents believe that their children become more argumentative during adolescence.
- What probably happens, though, is that their children become better arguers.
- Adolescents don’t accept other people’s points of view unquestioningly— including their parents’ viewpoints.
- They evaluate them against other theoretically possible beliefs.
• Adolescents are also better able than children to recognize when a logical problem does not provide sufficient information and to respond by saying that the question can’t be answered with any certainty
• Abstract thinking is clearly seen in adolescents’ ability to think in more advanced ways about interpersonal relationships, politics, philosophy, religion, and morality —topics that involve such abstract concepts as friendship, faith, democracy, fairness, and honesty.
• Metacognition often involves monitoring your own cognitive activity during the thinking process
• When you consciously use a strategy for remembering something such as Every Good Boy Does Fine, for the notes of the treble clef in music notation
• When you make sure you’ve understood something you’re reading before going on to the next paragraph.
• Interventions (before the full development of the frontal cortex) designed to improve adolescents’ metacognitive skills have been shown to enhance reading, writing, test taking, and performance on homework
• Not only do adolescents “manage” their thinking more than children do, but they also are better able to explain how they do it.
- Adolescents can explain not only what they know but why knowing what they know enables them to think differently and solve problems more effectively
• Adolescents are much better able than children to understand that people do not have complete control over their mental activity.
- Adolescents and adults are much more likely than children to understand that it is impossible to go for a long period of time without thinking about anything, that we often have thoughts that we don’t want to have, and that the unwanted thoughts we try to get rid of often, return
• The ability to think about thinking sometimes may lead to periods of extreme self absorption—referred to as “adolescent egocentrism”
• This leads to two separate problems
- Imaginary audience: Comes from having such a heightened sense of self consciousness that you imagine that your behavior is the focus of everyone else’s attention.
• Ex: A teenager who is going to a concert with 10,000 other people may worry about dressing the right way because “everybody will notice.”
- Given the cognitive limitations of adolescent egocentrism, it is hard to persuade young adolescents that the “audience” is not all that concerned with their behavior or appearance.
- Personal fable
• Revolves around the adolescent’s egocentric (and erroneous) belief that his or her experiences are unique.
• Maintaining a personal fable of uniqueness has some benefits, in that it enhances adolescents’ self-esteem and feelings of self-importance.
• But holding on to a personal fable also can be dangerous: think about a sexually active adolescent who believes that pregnancy simply won’t happen to her, or a reckless driver who believes that he will defy the laws of nature by taking hairpin turns at breakneck speed.
- Multiple Dimensions
• Adolescents can see things through more complicated lenses
• Adolescents can give much more complicated answers than children to questions
• The development of a more sophisticated understanding of probability is also made possible by an improved ability to think in multiple dimensions.
• Adolescents describe themselves and others in more complicated terms (“I’m both shy and extroverted”) and find it easier to look at problems from multiple perspectives
• Understanding that people’s personalities are not one-sided, or that social situations can have different interpretations, permits the adolescent to have far more sophisticated—and far more complicated—self-conceptions and relationships.
• Enables a broader understanding of Sarcasm
• Adolescents’ ability to think in multiple dimensions also permits them to appreciate satire, metaphor, and the ways in which language can be used to convey multiple messages.
• a shift from seeing things in absolute terms—in black and white—to seeing things as relative.
• Compared to children, adolescents are more likely to question others’ assertions and less likely to accept “facts” as absolute truths.
Piaget’s developmental stages (characteristics, age ranges) - The Piagetian View of Adolescence
• Theorists who adopt a Piagetian perspective take a cognitive-developmental view of intellectual development.
• They argue that:
- adolescent thinking happens that cognitive development proceeds through a fixed sequence of qualitatively distinct stages
- That adolescent thinking is fundamentally different from the type of thinking employed by children
- that during adolescence, individuals develop a special type of thinking that they use across a variety of situations.
• According to Piaget, cognitive development proceeds through four stages: - (1) the sensorimotor period (from birth until about age 2)
- (2) the preoperational period (from about age 2 until about age 5), - (3) the period of concrete operations (from about age 6 until early adolescence) - Where children are able to do mentally, what easier they did physically - (4) the period of formal operations (from adolescence through adulthood)
• Some research has found that adolescents who have been taught how to use deductive reasoning are more likely to display formal thinking
• There is a difference, between what adolescents are capable of doing and what they actually do.
• Gaps between people’s reasoning abilities and how logically they think in everyday situations are huge, and everyday decision making is fraught with logical errors that cannot be explained by cognitive incompetence
- This is true for adults as well as adolescents.
- Ex: If asked whether they would rather try to pull a lucky lottery ticket from an envelope of 10 tickets, of which only 1 is lucky, versus an envelope of 100 tickets, of which 10 are lucky, most people select the second option—even if they know that the mathematical odds of pulling a lucky ticket are identical in the two scenarios.
The Information-Processing View of adolescence
- The Information-Processing View of Adolescent Thinking
• the information-processing perspective.
- The argument that it should be possible model human intelligence by breaking down complicated tasks into a series of discreet logic trees
- Studies of changes in specific components of information processing have focused on five areas in which improvement occurs during adolescence:
• processing speed
- All of these skills improve as individuals move from childhood through adolescence
- mainly during the first half of the adolescent decade
• More advanced thinking of adolescence is the result better strategies for the input, storage, manipulation, and use of information
• Improvement in the ability to inhibit unwanted responses, increases in working and long-term memory
- During adolescence, we become better at paying attention.
- Improvements take place both in selective attention, in which adolescents must focus on one stimulus and tune out another and in divided attention, in which adolescents must pay attention to two sets of stimuli at the same time
• Improvements in attention mean that adolescents are better able than children to concentrate and stay focused on complicated tasks, such as reading and comprehending difficult material.
• There also is considerable evidence that the ability to inhibit an unwanted response improves during early and middle adolescence
- for instance, stopping yourself from looking up at a commercial that suddenly appears on the television in the corner of the room while you are reading
- Memory abilities improve during adolescence.
• This is reflected both in working memory
- involves the ability to remember something for a brief period of time, such as 30 seconds
• and in long-term memory
- which involves being able to recall something from a long time ago • Autobiographical memory
- Ability to remember personally meaningful events from earlier in life,
• Adults generally remember details about the people, places, and events they encountered during adolescence better than those from other years, a phenomenon called the reminiscence bump
- We tend to remember other, less personal things from adolescence better, too—things like movies, books, music, and current events
• Our memories during adolescence are in-coded as if our memories were set to hypersensitive
• When certain chemicals in the brain are released at the same time an event is experienced, the event is more easily remembered than when levels of these chemicals are not as high.
- These chemicals are released when we experience something that elicits strong negative or positive feelings.
• A third component of information processing related to the observed improvements in thinking in adolescence is an increase in the sheer speed of information processing.
• Regardless of the task employed, older adolescents process the information necessary to solve the problem faster than early adolescents
- Who, in turn, process information faster than preadolescents.
- the difference in speed between a 9-year-old and a 12-year-old is greater than that between a 12-year-old and a 15-year-old, which, in turn, is greater than that between a 15-year-old and an 18-year-old
- Adolescents are more planful than children—they are more likely to approach a problem with an appropriate strategy in mind and are more flexible in their ability to use different strategies in different situations
• The use of mnemonic devices (such as using HOMES to remember the names of the Great Lakes—Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, and Superior) and other organizational strategies helps to account for differences in the performance
of older and younger children on academic tasks requiring memory - Because children are not as planful as adolescents, their learning is not as efficient.
- With age, individuals’ strategies become increasingly more efficient—when guessing the name of a person, an adolescent might begin by asking whether the person is dead or alive, then male or female, and so forth, whereas a young child might just start randomly throwing out the names of specific people
Intelligence: Gardner’s theory
- Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences
• Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences also stresses that there is more to being smart than being “book smart.”
• Gardner proposed that there are seven types of intelligence:
- kinesthetic (having to do with movement)
- According to his view, for example, outstanding athletes such as basketball great LeBron James or soccer legend Mia Hamm have a well-developed kinesthetic intelligence
• Allows them to control their bodies and process the movements of others in extraordinary ways.
Meaning of IQ and application (norms)
• The most widely used measures are intelligence tests, or IQ (for “intelligence quotient”) tests.
- Among these tests are the Stanford-Binet, the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC-IV), and the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS-III).
• An individual’s IQ is computed by dividing his or her mental age by his or her chronological age and then multiplying the result by 100. A score of 100 is used to designate the midway point.
- An IQ score below 100 indicates a poorer test performance than the average person of the same age; a score above 100 indicates a better performance than average.
Synaptic pruning; correlation with IQ
• Changes in specific aspects of IQ performance during adolescence are correlated with synaptic pruning in brain regions known to play a role in those specific types of learning
• Mental abilities assessed by IQ tests increase dramatically through childhood and adolescence, reaching a plateau sometime in mid-to-late adolescence.
- It is no coincidence that this plateau occurs at around the same age as that for information processing, because IQ test performance depends a lot on information-processing abilities.
• This argues strongly in favor of educational interventions prior to mid-adolescence; interventions in early childhood, especially, have been shown to improve intellectual performance during adolescence
• In addition, research shows that extended schooling during adolescence itself enhances individuals’ performance on standardized tests of intelligence
Social cognition …application and inferences
- Social Cognition in Adolescence
• Social cognition involves such cognitive activities as thinking about people, social relationships, and social institutions
• Gains in the area of social cognition help account for many of the psychosocial advances typically associated with adolescence—advances in the realms of identity, autonomy, intimacy, sexuality, and achievement.
• Theory of mind
- The ability to understand that others have beliefs, intentions, and knowledge that may be different from one’s own, adolescents are better able to interpret the feelings of others and to infer their motives and feelings, even when specific information of this sort is not directly observable.
• Social Conventions
- During middle childhood, social conventions—the social norms that guide day to-day behavior, such as waiting in line to buy movie tickets—are seen as arbitrary and changeable, but adherence to them is not; compliance with such conventions is based on rules and on the dictates of authority.
- Adolescents become increasingly likely to believe that there are some freedoms —like freedom of speech and freedom of religion—that should not be restricted.
• Sensation Seeking
- That is, who seek out novel and intense experiences—are more likely to engage in various types of risky behaviors than their peers
- * in the presence of their peers, adolescents may pay more attention to the potential rewards of a risky decision than they do when they are alone
Behavioral decision theory and application
• Behavioral Decision Theory
- In this perspective, which draws heavily on economics, decision making is a rational process in which individuals calculate the costs and benefits of alternative courses of action and behave in ways that maximize the benefits and minimize the costs. (Hence raising the price of cigs might deter a teenager from buying them)
- Adolescents often behave in risky ways because they feel invulnerable Reward seeking and sensation seeking behaviors during adolescence
Research on the effects adolescents of growing up in poor neighborhoods - The Effects of Poverty on the Transition Into Adulthood
• Poverty is associated with failure in school, unemployment, delinquency, and teen pregnancy, all of which contribute to transitional difficulties.
• Because minority youngsters are more likely than other teenagers to grow up in poverty, they are also more likely to encounter transitional problems during middle and late adolescence
- The Influence of Neighborhood Conditions on Adolescent Development
• A number of researchers have studied the ways in which neighborhoods influence adolescent development
• Far more is known about the effects of poverty than about any other neighborhood factor.
- Exposure to neighborhood poverty is an especially prevalent problem among non-White adolescents
• Studying neighborhood influences on adolescent development is tricky business. - We know that growing up in a very poor household increases adolescents’ risks for all sorts of problems.
- Because poor families tend to live in poor neighborhoods, it is not always easy to separate the effects of neighborhood disadvantage from the effects of family disadvantage.
- To do this, researchers compare adolescents whose family situations are similar, but who live in very different types of neighborhoods.
• Adolescents growing up in impoverished urban communities are more likely than their peers from equally poor households but better neighborhoods to be sexually active at an earlier age, to bear children as teenagers, to become involved in criminal activity, and to achieve less in, or even drop out of, high school—factors that seriously interfere with the successful transition into adulthood
- The Price of Privilege
• Compared to teenagers in middle-class communities, boys in wealthy neighborhoods report higher levels of delinquency and girls report more anxiety and depression
Mentoring programs : research and applications
• Mentoring programs seek to pair adults with young people through community or school-based efforts designed to facilitate positive youth development, improve academic achievement, and deter antisocial behavior.
- Evaluations of mentoring programs indicate that they have a small, positive effect on youth development
• Mentoring appears to have the most beneficial effects on adolescents whose other relationships are good, but not great (perhaps because the ones with great other relationships didn’t need the mentoring as much and because the ones with poor ones did not have the social skills to profit from the mentoring).
• In general, mentoring tends to be more successful when the mentor maintains a steady presence in the youth’s life over an extended period (at least 2 years), has
frequent contact with the youngster, and involves the adolescent in a wide range of recreational, social, and practical activities
Transition from adolescence to adulthood: continuous versus discontinuous (effects, characteristics)
- Variations in Continuity
• The process of social redefinition varies across cultural and historical contexts along the dimension of continuity
• Gradual transitions, in which the adolescent assumes the roles and status of adulthood bit by bit, are referred to as continuous transitions.
• Transitions that are not so smooth, in which the young person’s entrance into adulthood is more sudden, are referred to as discontinuous transitions.
• The transition into adult work roles, is fairly discontinuous for most young people in industrialized society, and, according to many employers, a high proportion of young people leave school without adequate preparation for the workplace.
• The transition into adult family roles is even more abrupt than the transition into work roles
• Modernization and globalization have made the transition from adolescence to adulthood longer and increasingly more discontinuous all over the world
• In the mid-nineteenth century, young adolescents commonly worked as apprentices, learning skills and trades; others left home temporarily to work as servants or to learn domestic skills. The average nineteenth-century youngster in Europe or America left school well before the age of 15.
• As opposed to today’s adolescents, who typically have little experience with infants, adolescents 100 years ago were more likely to have fed, dressed, and cared for their younger siblings.
• More than 55% of all Americans ages 18 to 24 (about 60% of males, and about 50% of females) either live with or are supported by their parents
• In the United States, where a premium is placed on becoming independent from one’s parents, about half of all young adults living at home report that it has not affected their relationships with their parents one way or the other, and one-quarter actually say that their relationship has improved.
• One study of European youth found that those who lived at home longer remained closer to their parents throughout adulthood.
• Among Asian and Hispanic young adults in particular, who are more likely to have been raised in a culture that places special importance on family obligations, living with one’s parents in late adolescence and early adulthood may be characterized by especially positive feelings and close family relationships
Female circumcision in the US
• Is a procedure in which some part of the genitals is cut and permanently altered. - There are important differences between male and female circumcision.
• In the United States, male circumcision, in which the foreskin around the penis is removed during infancy, is very common and is performed both for religious reasons (mainly among Jews) and for health reasons, because male circumcision is associated with decreased risk of urinary tract infections and sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV infection.
• There is no evidence that men are harmed emotionally by being circumcised, and complications from the procedure are minimal and far fewer than the health risks associated with not being circumcised
• Female circumcision, or female genital mutilation, involves the cutting or removal of the clitoris and, often, the labia, and is rarely practiced outside of North Africa (where, in some countries, such as Mali, Somalia, and Egypt, virtually all women have been circumcised, usually during childhood or preadolescence).
• Unlike male circumcision, female circumcision has no associated health benefits and carries many risks, including infection and chronic pain during urination, menstruation, and intercourse.
• After circumcision, it is virtually impossible for a woman to achieve an orgasm during sex. Many international groups, citing female circumcision as a human rights violation, have called for a worldwide prohibition against the practice.
Western versus Non-Western cultures and privileges afforded female versus male adolescents
- An aspect of social redefinition during adolescence entails the accentuation of physical and social differences between males and females
• This accentuation of differences occurs partly because of the physical changes of puberty and partly because in many cultures adult work and family roles are often highly sex-differentiated.
• Many societies separate males and females during religious ceremonies, have individuals begin wearing sex-specific articles of clothing (rather than clothing permissible for either gender), and keep males and females apart during initiation ceremonies.
• In many non-Western societies today, the privileges extended to males and females once they have reached puberty are so different that adolescence often is an entirely different phenomenon for boys and girls
- Examples of the differential treatment of adolescent boys and girls in non Western cultures abound, but in general, girls’ behavior is more subject to the control of adults, whereas boys are given more freedom and autonomy. Girls are expected to remain virgins until marriage, for example, whereas boys’ premarital sexual activity is tolerated.
- Girls are expected to spend time preparing for domestic roles, whereas boys are expected to acquire vocational skills for employment outside the home. And formal schooling is far less available to girls than to boys, especially in rural societies.
Social redefinition, elements, steps, results
- The Process of Social Redefinition
• In contemporary America, the process of redefinition typically begins at age 15 or 16, when people are first permitted to drive and work in the formal labor force.
- In most states, the social redefinition of the adolescent continues well into young adulthood.
- Some privileges of adulthood, such as voting, are not conferred until the age of 18, and others, such as purchasing alcoholic beverages, don’t come until the age of 21, 5 or 6 years after the redefinition process begins.
- Even in societies that mark the social redefinition of the young person with a dramatic and elaborate initiation ceremony, the social transformation from child into adult may span many years
- A group of individuals born in the same general historical era
- These people move through the series of of status transitions together • Ex: Quinceañera
- In many Latino communities, adolescent girls participate together in this elaborate sort of “coming-out” celebration
• On college campuses, fraternities and sororities may conduct group initiations that involve difficult or unpleasant tasks, and special ties may be forged between “brothers” or “sisters” who have pledged together.
• First, social redefinition usually entails the real or symbolic separation of young persons from their parents. During late childhood, children in some societies are expected to begin sleeping in households other than their own.
- Like dorms etc.
• Social redefinition in contemporary society does not give adolescents any clear indication of when their responsibilities and privileges as an adult begin.
- Laws governing the age at which individuals can and cannot do “adult” activities are inconsistent. In many states, for example, the age for starting employment is 15; for driving, 16; for attending restricted (R-rated) movies without parents, 17; for voting, 18; and for drinking, 21. In some states, the age at which someone can be tried as an adult for a serious violent crime is as low as 10.
• A third aspect of social redefinition during adolescence typically entails passing on cultural, historical, and practical information from the adult generation to the newly inducted cohort of young people. This information may concern
- `(1) matters thought to be important to adults but of limited utility to children (for example, information about the performance of certain adult work tasks)
- (2) matters thought to be necessary for adults but unfit for children (for example, information regarding sex)
- (3) matters concerning the history or rituals of the family or community (for example, how to perform certain ceremonies).
- In traditional societies, initiates are often sent to some sort of “school” in which they are instructed in the productive activities of the community (hunting, fishing, or farming).
- Following puberty, boys and girls receive instruction about sexual relations, moral behavior, and societal lore.
- The intentional creation of scars on some part or parts of the body, often done as part of an initiation ceremony
• In contemporary society although we do not practice anything as “alien” as scarification, we do have our share of body rituals, many of which are not seen until adolescence and which might seem equally alien to someone unfamiliar with our society: the punching of holes in earlobes or other parts of the body (ear or body piercing), the scraping of hair from faces or legs (shaving), the permanent decoration of skin (tattoos), and the application of brightly colored paints to lips, eyes, and cheeks (putting on makeup).
• Social redefinition during adolescence is very clear in most traditional cultures.
Grisso et al. research on mental competency
- Drawing a Legal Boundary
• Initiation Ceremony
- The formal induction of a young person into adulthood
• In contemporary America, attaining the age of majority brings the right to vote. • Status Offense
- Refers to a behavior that is problematic because of the young person’s status as a juvenile
- Once an adolescent is designated as an adult, she or he is also subject to a new set of laws.
- In some instances, attaining adult status brings with it greater leniency under the law, whereas in others, it is associated with harsher treatment.
- In the United States, for example, certain activities that are permissible among adults are violations of the law when they are committed by young people.
• Juvenile Justice System
- A separate system of courts and and related institutions developed to handle juvenile crime and delinquency
- Operates under different rules and principles than the criminal justice system that applies to adults
- Although being tried in the juvenile justice system usually results in a less severe sanction than being found guilty of the same crime in adult court, this is not always the case
• Criminal Justice System
- The system of courts and related institutions developed to handle adult crimes.
• One issue that arises in cases in which a juvenile might be tried as an adult is whether the adolescent is competent to stand trial.
• In the United States, it is not permissible to try someone in a criminal proceeding if the individual does not understand the charges, does not understand the nature of the trial, or is unable to make reasoned decisions about the case (for example, whether to take the stand in his or her own defense).
- Historically, questions about a defendant’s competence to stand trial have been raised only in cases in which the individual is mentally ill or mentally challenged. - Now that more and more juveniles are being tried as adults at younger and younger ages, however, experts have asked whether some young defendants may be incompetent to stand trial simply because of cognitive or emotional immaturity
• One study of this issue found that about one-third of those aged 13 and younger, and one-fifth of 14- and 15-year-olds, were as impaired in their abilities to serve as a competent defendant as were mentally ill adults who had been found not competent to stand trial
• ** Research also indicates that juveniles, even those who are relatively mature, are less likely than adults to understand their rights when being questioned by the police, more likely to confess to a crime than remain silent, and less likely to discuss disagreements about their defense with their attorneys
• Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier
- The Court ruled that a public high school can censor articles written by students for their school newspaper, on the grounds that adolescents are so immature that they need the protection of wiser adults.
• Board of Education v. Mergens
- That students who wanted to form a Bible study group had the right to meet on campus because high school students are mature enough to understand that a school can permit the expression of ideas that it does not necessarily endorse
• Hodgson v. Minnesota
- The Court ruled that, because of their maturity, adolescents do not need to obtain parental consent to get an abortion.
• Roper v. Simmons
- That adolescents should not be subject to the death penalty, because their immaturity makes them less responsible for their criminal behavior (and therefore less “punishable”).