Development of Social and Emotional Identity

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Development of Social and Emotional Identity
The interview was conducted with an adolescent 18 year-old sophomore at a Alternative Education Program named Phil (fictitious name for confidentiality). Phil was a senior athlete, majored in English and was on the honor roll. The interviewer asked the question, "How would you describe yourself," Phil sat up straight and stated that he had some problems during his elementary, middle and high school because of his choice of peers some who smoked marijuana. Phil denies any psychiatric illness during this time. Phil relates that at the age of three, he struggled with his parents and siblings over autonomy issues, although his parents were very involved in his academic goals. The first years of school are an important if not critical arena time for social, identity and conflict-management skills. Gibbs, J.T., (1987)

Phil stated as hockey practice began, he had a falling out with his teammates due to a girl he was dating which was a peer’s ex-girlfriend. Phil relates that he realized social acceptance from his peers to be very important at this time. Phil stated ‘feeling intense negative feelings from his teammates had leaded him to withdrawal”. Phil states that being an unpopular student made him react in ways that are inappropriate to the situation; he tried to join others by calling attention to himself, talking about other students, inserting his own opinions and feelings and asking informational questions just to fit in with people. In Phil’s sophomore year, he realized that he had to make accurate judgments about the social competence of his peers.

When asked the question “How important is popularity at school?” Phil stated that popularity is a measure of a student’s social standing with peers. Studies that include observation of elementary, middle and high school student in the classroom and in the playground show that popular students have specific...
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