Adolescent Substance Abuse

Topics: Behavior, Albert Bandura, Observational learning Pages: 6 (2342 words) Published: May 12, 2013
Adolescence is the middle period of childhood transition to adulthood where a teenager slowly engages and interacts with the outside world. It is also a time of opportunities and risks for youth where they get the chance to grow physically, socially and cognitively but also easily affected by risky behaviours such as misuse of substance. According to Clark and Thatcher (2008) , adolescence is the “developmental period of highest risk for the onset of problematic alcohol and other drug” . Substance abuse refers to the harmful or hazardous use of psychoactive substances, including alcohol and illicit drugs, which can lead to addiction and is likely to continue into adulthood. (World Health Organization, 2013) . Nowadays, adolescent have trending in alcohol and other drugs abuse as common norm during adolescence stage. According to World Health Organization (2013) , 320,000 young people between the age of 15 and 29 died from alcohol-related causes, resulting in 9% of all deaths in that age group. To overcome this self-deteriorating phenomenon, researchers have conducted series of experiments and studies in searching for the causes of this risky behaviour. One of the identified risk factors for the teen substance abuse is adolescent relationship which included their parents, siblings, and peers. In our discussion paper, we will examine into the social learning theory derived by Albert Bandura by looking further into the developmental stages in basis of observational learning through modelling and self-reinforcement as well as how this theoretical perspective is applied into adolescent relationship which influences them in alcohol and other drugs abuse issues. Appropriate pictures will be illustrated to enhance the understanding of social learning theory.

Social Learning Theory
The main theorist who proposed social learning theory came from the collaboration work of Albert Bandura and Robert Sears (Grusec, 1992) . Bandura’s basic idea is that learning can occur through observation or example rather than solely by direct reinforcement, which he termed observational learning. Through modelling, by observing the behaviour of a model and repeating the behaviour ourselves, it is possible to acquire responses that we never performed or displayed previously and to strengthen or weaken existing responses. Bandura concluded that much behaviour is learned by imitating the behaviour of other people. In the process of observational learning, Bandura analysed the type of observational learning and found it managed by four related mechanisms, attentional processes, retention processes, production processes, and incentive and motivational processes. In attentional processes, cognitive processes and perceptual skills are developed so that observers can pay sufficient attention to a model, and perceiving the model accurately enough to imitate displayed behaviour. Retention processes is carried out when the observer retain or remembering the model’s behaviour so that he or she can imitate or repeat it at later time. Next, production processes is the stage where the observers translate the mental images or verbal symbolic representations of the model’s behaviour into their own overt behaviour by physically producing the responses and receiving feedback on the accuracy of their continued practice. Finally, in incentive and motivational processes, observers perceive that the model’s behaviour leads to a reward and thus expecting that the imitation will lead to similar consequences.

Adolescent with Parents
Often, adolescent learnt the most from their parents, the biological couple who bring them into the world. Parent is the first teacher in their children’s life. They taught the children to talk, walk, play, run and others. In adolescent stage, adolescent tend to view their parents as their role model. They imitate their parent’s conduct, taking for granted that their parents’ behaviour is the normative rule...
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