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Adolescence: Psychosocial Development

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1 Adolescence: Psychosocial Development
The Developing Person Through Childhood and Adolescence by Kathleen Stassen Berger Seventh Edition Chapter 16 Adolescence: Psychosocial Development Slides prepared by Kate Byerwalter, Ph.D., Grand Rapids Community College

2 Self and Identity Erikson’s fifth stage of psychosocial development is identify vs. diffusion. It involves the question, “Who am I?” PHOTODISC

3 Multiple Selves Possible selves: various intellectual fantasies about what the future might bring if one or another course of action is chosen False self: set of behaviors that is adopted by a person to combat rejection, to please others, or to try out as a possible self

4 Paths to Identity Identity achievement: knowing who one is as a unique person, accepting some cultural values and rejecting others This allows a person to have strong convictions, but to remain open to alternate ideas and opinions.

5 Paths to Identity (cont.)
Identity diffusion: a lack of values, traits or commitments Foreclosure: adopting preset roles and values, without questioning Foreclosure may lead to prejudice, narrow-mindedness.

6 Paths to Identity (cont.)
Moratorium: a pause in identify formation, in which alternatives are explored This is an important step towards identity! Negative identity: a rebellious, defiant identity, taken on to anger adults

7 Make it Real: Identity On paper, place yourself in an identity status for each of the following arenas: Religion Ethnic identity Sexual orientation Politics Career Education

8 Religious Identity Many adolescents take longer than age 18 to achieve religious identity. Struggling with questions is an important part of the commitment. Example: The Amish encourage adolescents to go into the “real world” temporarily.

9 Gender Identity Gender identity is the degree to which people see themselves as masculine or feminine. This includes gender roles (duties), and sexual orientation (towards same or opposite sex, or both).

10 Ethnic Identity Ethnic identity involves identification with a particular ethnicity through values, diet, gender roles, language, clothing, etc. The process of ethnic identity may be especially intense for immigrant adolescents.

11 Make it Real: Vocation and Identity
What are some of the advantages and disadvantages of working during adolescence? How much of a connection do you see between the types of jobs had during high school, and those you have or will have in adulthood?

12 Vocation and Identity Research has found that working during adolescence impedes identity formation, family relationships, academic achievement, and career success. Also, the types of jobs don’t tend to teach skills for later vocations.

13 Support from Adults The “generation gap” between adults and teens is not wide when it comes to core beliefs and values. However, each generation does view interactions from his/her own perspective (generational stake).

14 Generational Stake: An Example
A young Indian American girl wanted the freedom and independence of cutting her hair. Her elders considered hair an essential part of being a “good Indian girl.” PHOTODISC

15 Make it Real: What’s your prediction?
At what age would you suppose parent-child conflict to be greatest? What are parent-child conflicts about? What does parent-child conflict a signal?

16 Parent-Child Conflict

17 Parent-Child Conflict (cont.)
Is greatest during child’s tween years (10−13) Is greatest between mothers and daughters Usually involves repeated, petty arguments about clothes, cleanliness, etc. Represents a teens desire for independence

18 Culture and Family Some have argued that adolescent rebellion is a product of Western culture. Parent-child conflict occurs later in adolescence for Asian and Latino teens, and hardly at all for teens in China.

19 Aspects of Parent-Teen Relationships
Communication Support Connectedness Control PHOTODISC

20 Parental Monitoring Parental monitoring involves ongoing awareness of what a teen is doing, where, and with whom. It deters delinquency.

21 Make it real: Parental Monitoring
Is it possible to have too much monitoring? What would be the result?

22 Peer Relationships Peer pressure: social pressure to conform to one’s contemporaries Peer pressure can be positive or negative. It rises during early adolescence, peaking around age 14 years of age.

23 Peer Friendships Selection: peers choose one another
Example: Drug users hang out with drug users, high achievers with high achievers. Facilitation: peers encourage one another to do things they wouldn’t do alone

24 Peer Group for Immigrant Teens
Conflict arises when the culture of friends of an immigrant teen differs considerably than the parents’ culture. The teen wants to “fit in” with both peers and family!

25 Adolescent Interactions
The following sequence occurs for adolescent interactions (timing varies): Groups of friends of one sex only Loose association of “boy” and “girl” group Small mixed-sex groups Pairing of couples

26 Homosexuality Teens with a homosexual orientation rarely tell anyone until at least age 17 years of age. They may experience denial or repression of their sexual urges before finding their sexual identity.

27 Teenage Sexual Activity
Teens are by nature sexual beings. The question becomes what one does with that sexuality during adolescence. RUBBERBALL PRODUCTIONS

28 Parental Guidance About Sex
Question: Do you know any teen who has had a serious talk with his/her parents about sex? Often parents avoid the issue. But proper guidance can influence teens in a positive manner.


30 Make it Real: Sex Education
Did your school have some type of sex education program? If yes, at what age did it begin? What were the topics? Do you think schools should teach sex education?

31 Sex Education in School
In the U.S., almost all adults (90% or more) think high schools should teach sex education, including contraception. The concern is that talking about sex will lead teens to have sex. However, a report by the Surgeon General suggests this is not the case.

32 Sex Education (cont.) Research suggests that the most effective sex education programs: Are multi-faceted Precede sexual activity by a year or more Advocate for abstinence but also teach about contraceptives

33 Peer Influence on Sex Friends influence each other in both positive and negative ways. Examples: A “virginity pledge” among friends is positive. Pressure to “gain respect” by having sex is a negative.

34 Media as a Sex Educator TV and movies are FULL of sexuality, but offer little knowledge about sex. Using the Internet to find facts too often brings up pornography sites instead.

35 Trends in Adolescent Sexuality
Premarital sex has increased. Sexual interactions are more varied (e.g., oral sex). Teen births are decreasing worldwide. The use of protection has increased.

36 Trends in Adolescent Sexuality (cont.)
U.S. teens have more babies than teens in other countries, due to lower contraceptive use, and fewer abortions. In the U.S., teens with lower education tend to have sex and babies at earlier ages.

37 Self-Esteem During Adolescence
Self-esteem tends to decline between 6 to 18 years for many children.




41 Depression Clinical depression: an overwhelming, enduring feeling of sadness and hopelessness. The rate of depression doubles at puberty to about 15%, affecting 1 in 5 teen girls and 1 in 10 teen boys in the U.S.

42 Make it Real: Depression
WHY do you think depression becomes more prevalent during adolescence? WHY do girls seem especially at risk?

43 Suicide Suicidal ideation (thinking about suicide) is actually quite common during adolescence (e.g., 21% of girls). The actual suicide rate is lower among teens under age 20 than adults.

44 More Facts on Suicide The suicide rate among teens in North America and Europe has doubled since 1960. Worldwide, parasuicide (attempt) is higher for females and completed suicide is higher for males.


46 Factors Influencing Suicide
Availability of lethal means (guns) Lack of parental supervision Use of alcohol and other drugs Gender Cultural attitudes



49 More Destruction Many teens, especially boys, show bouts of anger and destruction during adolescence. Question: Should this rebellion be considered a “normal” part of adolescence? PHOTODISC

50 Breaking the Law Delinquency is more frequent in adolescence than at other ages. Worldwide, arrest rates increase between years, declining slowly after that. Arrest rate for violent crimes is twice as high for teens as adults.

51 Breaking the Law (cont.)
Almost all teens have broken a minor law (e.g., curfew, speeding, truancy, etc.). Males are arrested 3 times as often as females; ethnic differences exist in arrest rates (but not in self-reports of illegal acts).

52 Committing Crimes: Will it last?
Adolescence-limited offender: a person whose crimes end by age 21 years Life-course persistent offender: a person whose crimes continue as an adult

53 Possible Roots of Life-Course Offenders
Antisocial as a child Parental neglect or abuse Brain damage Early sex and drug use Little participation in school activities

54 Intervention for Offenders
Therapeutic foster care: foster families trained to teach anger management, school achievement, self-care This reduces later arrests by more than half. It is costly in the short run, but saves money in prison, jail costs in the long run.

55 Depression and Self-Destruction
Adolescents can feel: despondent and depressed, overwhelmed by the world and their own inadequacies, or on top of the world, destined for great accomplishment

56 The Usual Dip General trend in mood is more downward than upward
Among boys, athletic self-confidence is especially likely to dip in adolescence Self-esteem drops at around age 12

57 The Usual Dip (cont.) Adolescents who lack support from family, friends, or school are more vulnerable to the self-esteem dip. Loss of self-esteem may push them toward depression.

58 Mood Disorders in Adolescence
Warning signs Not eating, sleeping, talking, or moving in normal rhythm Strong feelings of despair or elation not based on reality Suicidal ideation Thinking about suicide is common among adolescents

59 Adolescent Suicide Five reasons for erroneous belief that suicide is an adolescent problem Rate is triple the rate of 40 years ago Adolescents lumped together with young adults as one statistical category Adolescent suicide is shocking and grabs attention Social prejudice considers teenagers as problems Suicide attempts are more common in adolescence

60 Parasuicide and Prevention
Parasuicide = deliberate act of self-destruction that does not end in death Parasuicide and suicide depend on five factors Availability of lethal means, especially guns Parental supervision Alcohol and other drugs Gender Attitudes of the culture


62 Rebellion and Destructiveness
Internalizing problems = emotional problems that are manifested inward, when troubled individuals inflict harm on themselves Externalizing problems = emotional problems that are manifested outward, when people “act out,” injuring others, defying authority, or destroying property More common among boys

63 Rebellion and Destructiveness (cont.)
Acting out may signify trouble in three ways Externalizing actions may prove harmful to the actor Externalizing behavior often harms others For a significant minority, externalizing disorders signal the need for intervention

64 Breaking the Law Delinquency is one indication of the emotional stress adolescents feel. Worldwide, arrests are more likely in the adolescent years; ages are the peak.

65 Incidence and Prevalence
Incidence: how often a behavior occurs Prevalence: how widespread a behavior is Adolescent males are 3 times more likely to be arrested than females. African Americans are 3 times as likely to be arrested as European Americans, who are 3 times more likely to be arrested than Asian Americans.

66 Crime Prevention Adolescent limited offender: person who becomes law abiding as an adult Life-course persistent offender: juvenile delinquent who continues patterns of lawbreaking throughout life

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