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Dr Tessa Webb 0/21 HWB Section Overview Lectures 1 & 2: Introduction to developmental psychology this year. Introduction to adolescence.

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Presentation on theme: "Dr Tessa Webb 0/21 HWB Section Overview Lectures 1 & 2: Introduction to developmental psychology this year. Introduction to adolescence."— Presentation transcript:

1 Dr Tessa Webb 0/21 HWB

2 Section Overview Lectures 1 & 2: Introduction to developmental psychology this year. Introduction to adolescence Lecture 3: Sexuality and employment Lecture 4: The problems of adolescence Lecture 5: Issues in Adulthood (the male & female life cycles Lecture 6: Issues in Adulthood (marriage & parenthood) Resources available at: https://swww2.le.ac.uk/departments/psychology/extranet/undergra duate-materials/year-3/ps3000/developmental-webb

3 Developmental Psychology in the third year Developmental psychology modules have been child- orientated so far BUT development doesn’t stop Adolescence We lack a unified theory of this phase of life, Hill (1993) A lot of material on American adolescents. Focus on the problems of adolescence (underage sex, pregnancy, drinking, smoking, drug taking...) Coverage of social psychological events in a testable population Adulthood Development stops at adulthood, Bower (1979) Cognitive growth in childhood has an impact on intellectual development but the impact of the family life cycle on social development continues throughout the lifespan

4 Introduction to adolescence – Lecture plan 1. What is adolescence? 1.1. Defining adolescence 1.2. Biological development 1.3. Psychological development Reasoning capacity The self 2. What adolescence is not 2.1. Identity crisis? Erikson Marcia 2.2. Storm and stress? Public perception Extent of ‘storm and stress’ found in research 3

5 1.What is adolescence? 1.1. Defining adolescence Inadequate definitions 1. Age (but some girls start periods at 10, some at 16) 2. Economic (but what about 21 year olds at university?) 3. Social criteria (but arbitrary e.g. different voting ages in different countries)

6 1.What is adolescence? 1.1. Defining adolescence A recent historical phenomenon Industrial revolution extended childhood Cross-cultural variation The Sambia of Papua New Guinea Adolescence is a fuzzy concept Like great art – hard to define but we know what it is when we see it

7 1.What is adolescence? 1.2. Biological development Females Onset of menstruation (menarche) is ambivalent E.g. sign of maturity but physically uncomfortable Links to social factors e.g. family stress leads to earlier menarche Social expectations associated with period pains

8 1.What is adolescence? 1.2. Biological development Males Clear link between biological and psychological changes Early maturing boys regarded more positively (Jones and Bayley, 1950; Weisfeld et al, 1987) Spermarche is well-remembered indicating its developmental significance Cross-gender MRI scans show areas of brain growth and loss (Thompson et al., 2000)

9 1.What is adolescence? 1.3. Psychological development Reasoning capacity Formal operations develop allowing abstract reasoning (Piaget, 1954) Can think about his / her place in the world Leads to … Egocentrism He / she becomes immersed in their own insights They don’t appreciate that others have their own, different theories Imaginary audience, (Elkind, 1967)

10 1.What is adolescence? 1.3. Psychological development Self-understanding Initially poor (difference between ‘self’ and ‘others’ perception) Self-image becomes more unified Self-esteem Low in early adolescence Gender effect (lower for girls, Buchanan & Holmbeck, 1998) Increases into early adulthood (Marsh, 1989)

11 2. What adolescence is not 2.1. Identity crisis Who am I??? Popular view is that adolescents struggle to decide who and what they are (Erikson, 1959; 1968) The 5 th developmental stage in Erikson’s theory of development: Identity vs. identity confusion Psychosocial moratorium: gap between childhood and adulthood Adolescent engages in personality and role experimentation Unresolved identity confusion = identity crisis Identity comprises of….career, religious, political, relationship, cultural, sexual etc. etc.

12 2. What adolescence is not 2.1. Identity crisis Marcia’s (1966) four types of identity status Identity diffusion (avoidance and indecision) Identity foreclosure (premature commitment) Identity moratorium (try out different identities) Identity achievement (commitment to ideals and plans)

13 2. What adolescence is not 2.1. Identity crisis But few are experiencing moratorium (Meilman, 1979; Hill, 1993) Instead they think about how to define themselves i.e. careful identity formation but not crisis Dealing with difficult life events/circumstances also influences development of identity (Pals, 2006) Key changes happen later than adolescence Process does not end in adolescence

14 2. What adolescence is not 2.2. Storm and stress Public perception of adolescence Surge of hormones, secondary sex characteristics, genital arousal, exams and career choices, drugs, mass media, debauched pop music, acne.  Mood disruptions; conflict with parents; risk behaviour Adolescents : don’t cooperate with parents and frequently fight with them (Holmbeck & Hill, 1988) exhibit problem behaviour and are rebellious (Buchanan & Holmbeck, 1998) Arnett (1999) Modern day support for modified view: problems are more likely to arise in adolescence than at other ages.

15 2. What adolescence is not 2.2. Storm and stress Rebellion and turmoil are not universally experienced Larson and Lampman-Petraitis (1989) 9-15 year olds recorded emotional state hourly No convincing evidence of emotionality increasing with onset of adolescence Other studies indicate only 5-15% of adolescents report psychological disturbance Best evidence of their non-rebellious, non-volatile nature comes from evidence on family relationships


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