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Discuss the relationship between physical change and development of identity during adolescence.

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Presentation on theme: "Discuss the relationship between physical change and development of identity during adolescence."— Presentation transcript:

1 Discuss the relationship between physical change and development of identity during adolescence

2 Physical changes in adolescence Physical maturation and adult reproductive functioning are controlled by the endocrine system that operates through the hypothalamus-pituitary- gonadal system. During the prenatal period, hormones called androgens organize the reproductive system but these hormones are suppressed after birth. Discuss the relationship between physical change and development of identity during adolescence

3 Physical changes in adolescence They are reactivated in early childhood (around the age of eight for girls and six for boys) and this starts the puberty process with gradual maturation of the body and the reproductive system. All individuals experience the same bodily changes during puberty but the sequence of changes may vary. Discuss the relationship between physical change and development of identity during adolescence

4 Physical changes in adolescence Until puberty, boys and girls produce roughly the same amount of “male hormones” (e.g. testosterone) and “female hormones” (e.g. estrogens). At the start of puberty, the pituitary gland causes an upsurge of sex hormones so that girls now produce more estrogen and boys more testosterone. Discuss the relationship between physical change and development of identity during adolescence

5 Physical changes in adolescence The physical “growth spurt” is characterized by an increase in the distribution of body fat and muscle tissue. The body grows taller and heavier and gradually becomes more adult-like. The adolescent has to become familiar with this new body and integrate a revised body image. Discuss the relationship between physical change and development of identity during adolescence

6 Physical changes in adolescence Girls experience physical changes two to three years before boys (between the ages of 10 and 13). The most important changes are the development of breasts and a widening of the hips. The gain in body fat and rapid weight gain may be seen as a problem for some girls because it clashes with the Western ideal of a slim female figure. Discuss the relationship between physical change and development of identity during adolescence

7 Physical changes in adolescence Boys experience the growth spurt as a broadening of the shoulders and an increase in muscle strength. Having a masculine body is welcomed because it brings boys closer to their body ideal. Boys whose bodies do not appear masculine may experience identity problems. Discuss the relationship between physical change and development of identity during adolescence

8 Relationship between physical change and development of identity Discuss the relationship between physical change and development of identity during adolescence

9 Sexual identity The physical changes of the adolescent body are related to changes in identity including an emerging sexuality. This includes learning to handle sexual desires and sexual attitudes and values, and integrating all this with feelings and experiences into a new self-image. Discuss the relationship between physical change and development of identity during adolescence

10 Sexual Identity Social and cultural norms determine the extent to which adolescents can explore their sexuality. In some cultures, adolescent sexual activity is seen as inappropriate whereas in others it is seen as normal and healthy. Discuss the relationship between physical change and development of identity during adolescence

11 Sexual Identity The entry into sexual maturity may increase girls’ concerns about sexual attractiveness as well as awareness that they may become the targets of sexual violence. Discuss the relationship between physical change and development of identity during adolescence

12 Body Image and Identity Discuss the relationship between physical change and development of identity during adolescence

13 The cultural ideal hypothesis by Simmons and Blyth (1987) suggests that puberty brings boys closer to their ideal body while girls move further away from theirs. A cultural ideal is that a male body should be big and strong. The ideal female body in Western culture is a slim body. Discuss the relationship between physical change and development of identity during adolescence

14 The cultural ideal hypothesis The cultural ideal hypothesis predicts that, since the cultural ideal for the female body is being slim, adolescent girls should be more likely to express body dissatisfaction and resort to dieting than boys. This is supported by research. Discuss the relationship between physical change and development of identity during adolescence

15 Caufmann and Steinberg (1996) found that girls in Western cultures are more concerned about their appearance and express more worry about how other people will respond to them than in other cultures. Teenage girls want to be seen as attractive. If their body is far from the dominant cultural ideal of slimness, they may develop a negative body image and low self-esteem. Discuss the relationship between physical change and development of identity during adolescence

16 The objectification theory Fredrickson and Roberts (1997) holds that Western girls are socialized to constantly think of whether their bodies and physical appearances are pleasing to others. A chronic state of anxiety may be generated by their concerns about maintaining a satisfactory appearance. Discuss the relationship between physical change and development of identity during adolescence

17 Stice and Withenton (2002) found body image dissatisfaction to be a strong predictor of depression, eating disorders, exercise dependence, and steroid use among young people in the USA. Discuss the relationship between physical change and development of identity during adolescence

18 Ferron (1997) Aim: To investigate possible cultural differences in the way adolescents relate to bodily changes in puberty. Discuss the relationship between physical change and development of identity during adolescence

19 Ferron (1997) Procedure: This was a small-scale survey using semi-structured interviews to collect data in a cross-cultural sample consisting of 60 American and 60 French adolescents. Boys and girls were equally represented. One of the themes in the interview was how the bodily changes during puberty affected body image and how they coped with it. Discuss the relationship between physical change and development of identity during adolescence

20 Ferron (1997) Results Seventy-five per cent of the American adolescents did not accept any biological predisposition in terms of body shape. They believed it was possible to obtain a perfect body if one tried hard enough and adhered to specific rules. They believed it was possible to obtain a perfect body if one tried hard enough and adhered to specific rules. Eighty per cent of the Americans believed in the effectiveness of specific diets or exercise programs. Eighty per cent of the Americans believed in the effectiveness of specific diets or exercise programs. Discuss the relationship between physical change and development of identity during adolescence

21 Ferron (1997) The Americans were also more likely to suffer from self-blame and guilt and adopt unhealthy weight regulating strategies such as unbalanced diets or continuous physical exercise. Discuss the relationship between physical change and development of identity during adolescence

22 Ferron (1997) Seventy-five per cent of the American girls believed that their personal worth depended on looks and would do nearly anything to get close to an ideal body image. Discuss the relationship between physical change and development of identity during adolescence

23 Ferron (1997) Less than half of the French adolescents believed they could obtain a perfect body. They had perceptions of ideal body image but 75% of them believed that physical appearance is genetically determined and could not possibly be extensively modified through willpower or particular behavior. The only thing they considered blameworthy was physical carelessness. Discuss the relationship between physical change and development of identity during adolescence

24 Ferron (1997) Evaluation The study was conducted in the West but it shows interesting differences between two Western countries. The results may not be generalized to non- Western countries. It was a small-scale survey using self-reported data, which can be somewhat unreliable. Discuss the relationship between physical change and development of identity during adolescence


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