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Psychology of Adolescence DEP 4304 Samuel R. Mathews, Ph.D. Dept. of Psychology The University of West Florida.

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Presentation on theme: "Psychology of Adolescence DEP 4304 Samuel R. Mathews, Ph.D. Dept. of Psychology The University of West Florida."— Presentation transcript:


2 Psychology of Adolescence DEP 4304 Samuel R. Mathews, Ph.D. Dept. of Psychology The University of West Florida

3 Defining Adolescence 1.Name (Last, First) 2.List 3 characteristics that come to mind when you think of the term “adolescence?” 3.List 3 challenges you feel adolescents face in today’s world. 4.List 3 questions you have about adolescence as you see this period of time in today’s world.

4 Adolescence: Historical Perspective Relatively recent category Based on labor market –Labor intensive to knowledge intensive –Rural, agricultural to technological Lifespan perspective –Changes in healthcare –Changes in environmental conditions –Changes in pregnancy and childbirth practices

5 Adolescence: Historical Perspective Emerging Adulthood (Arnett, 2000) –Recently established category –Physical relocation frequent –Reflects extended adolescence –Extended dependency on family of origin –Extended time to economic independence –Extended educational experiences (graduate school or second undergraduate degree common)

6 BioPsychoSocial Model Human development can best be understood as the interaction of: – biological forces (genetics, physical maturation), –individual psychological factors (intellectual, social, emotional), and –social forces (family, peers, social institutions, cultural factors). BioPsychoSocial Model

7 Perspectives on Adolescence Constructivist: we form unique interpretations of our experiences based on: –history, –culture, and –cognitive strategies;

8 Perspectives on Adolescence Contextualist : our culture and context provide the lens through which we see our and others’ worlds—consciously or unconsciously; –Bronfenbrenner (pg. 19 in text): defines multiple levels of contexts—microsystem, mesosystem, exosystem, macrosystem –Contexts range from individual interactions to larger cultural institutions that govern individuals

9 Perspectives on Adolescence Lifespan : adolescence reflects a process of maturation that is similar to yet different from periods prior to and subsequent to it. –Early adolescence—pubescent through 14-15 years old; –Late adolescence—typically 16-19 years old –Emerging adulthood—typically post secondary school through establishing individual values, emotional independence,etc.

10 Diversity and the Adolescent Population Although the demographics of the US population are changing, adolescence remains a significant and growing group (11-19years); Diversity among adolescents reflect diversity among the broader population.

11 Concepts of Diversity Gender—social roles individuals adopt or those roles to which individuals are limited by the dominant culture; not biological sex –Feminine –Masculine –Androgynous Bem, 1981

12 Concepts of Diversity Ethnic group— –Typically defined by racial, cultural, linguistic, economic, religious, ideological, and/or political status. –Members of the same ethnic group may or may not share common values and characteristics of all those defining the group.

13 Concepts of Diversity Sexual Orientation –Heterosexual (straight)—attracted to members of the opposite sex –Homosexual (gay, lesbian)—attracted to members of the same sex –Bisexual—attracted to members of either sex.

14 Concepts of Diversity Minority-Majority Issues: –Majority Groups—possess a dominant share of economic, social, and political power –Minority Groups—posses a minority share of economic, social, and political power Adolescence can be defined as a minority group—adult accountability with minority share of control

15 Defining Adolescence Biological –Onset of the process of puberty is typically used to define onset; this is typically not observable –Secondary sex characteristics—observable changes in body (hair, genitals, body height, etc)

16 Defining Adolescence Psychological –Changing relationships with peers and family –Changing mental abilities –Seeking one’s own identity –Exploring alternative roles (social, sexual)

17 Defining Adolescence Socio-Cultural –Legal status—driving privileges; labor laws; status offenses; –Educational—changing school environment and changing stakes in educational outcomes; –Social—changing expectations by parents and other adults; expanding range of social contacts;

18 Thought Questions Think about your own experiences as a young (11-15 yrs old) adolescent. What were some of the “big” problems you remember? Think about your relationships with your caregivers. What roles did you occupy as you matured through adolescence?

19 Thought Questions As you think of yourself now, at what point in the lifespan (child, adolescent, emerging adult, young adult, adult) do you see yourself? Why? Do you consider yourself more mature in some domains than others? Why?

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