Adolescent Psychology Essay

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Chapter 3. Social Transitions
Social Redefinition and Psychosocial Development
* The adolescent-turned-adult faces a wider range of decisions that may have serious long-term consequences (ex. Drinking) * Age of majority: the designated age at which an individual is recognized as an adult * Changes in status at adolescence may affect development in the domain of sexuality * Although societies vary in how the transition from childhood to adulthood is signified, all cultures have some way of recognizing that the individual’s rights and responsibilities have changed once he or she becomes an adult * Changes in social definition may have profound effects on development in the realms of identity, autonomy, intimacy, sexuality, and achievement The Elongation of Adolescence

* The length of adolescence as a developmental pd has increased dramatically due to the earlier onset of puberty and the prolongation of formal education, which delays many of the role transitions that mark the beginning of adulthood * Many observers of adolescence in contemporary society believe that the transition into adulthood is too long, too vague, and too disorderly, and that this has had harmful effects on adolescents’ development and well-being, especially those for whom formal schooling is not a fulfilling experience Adolescence as a Social Invention

* Inventionists: theorists who argue that the pd of adolescence is mainly a social invention * Although the biological and cognitive changes characteristic of the pd are important in their own right, adolescence is defined primarily by the ways in which society recognizes the pd as distinct from childhood or adulthood * Stanley Hall ( contrast ) saw the psychological changes of adolescence as driven by puberty and as a result, by biological destiny [The “Invention” of adolescence]

* Prior to the Industrial Revolution ear, children were treated primarily as miniature adults, and people did not make precise distinctions among children of different ages The Impact of Industrialization

* With industrialization came new patterns of work, education, and family life. * Adolescents were affected by these changes; because the economy was changing so rapidly, away from the simple and predictable life known in agrarian society, the connection b/t what individuals learned in childhood and what they would need to know in adulthood became increasingly uncertain; parents especially in middle-class families, encouraged adolescents to spend time within societal institutions, such as schools, preparing for adulthood * Society began to view adolescents as less capable and more in need of guidance and training * Child protectionists argued that young people needed to be kept away from the labor force for their own good The origins of adolescence as we know it today

* It was not until the late 19th century that adolescence came to be viewed as it is today: a lengthy pd of preparation for adulthood, in which young people, in need of guidance and supervision, remain economically dependent on their elders * Two other modifications of the definition of adolescence also gave rise to new terminology and ideas; the first is the use of the term teenager (a term popularized about 50 years ago to refer to young people; it connoted a more frivolous and lighthearted image than did adolescent); second is the term youth ( term used to refer to individuals ages 18-22; it once referred to individuals ages 12-24) [Emerging adulthood: a new stage of life or a luxury of the middle class?] * According to Jeffery Arnett, pd from ages 18-25 is neither adolescence nor adulthood, but a unique developmental pd in its own right, characterized by five main features: 1. The exploration of possible identities before making enduring choices, 2. Instability in work, romantic relationships, and living arrangements, 3. A focus on oneself and, in particular, on functioning as an independent person,...
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