Socialization Agents and Activties of Young Adolescents

Topics: Sociology, Community, Adolescence Pages: 45 (8252 words) Published: April 11, 2013
Sara Amon, Shmuel Shamai, and Zinaida Ilatov

Research examined the relative importance of peer groups for young adolescents as compared with diverse adult socialization agents—family, school, and community. The factors involved were teenagers' activities, preferences, feelings, and thoughts as to how they spend their leisure time, their preferences for help providers, and their sense of attachment to their community. These comparisons were made with religious and non-rehgious youngsters, in both rural and urban communities, and in gender subgroups. Questionnsdres were administered to teenagers at secondary schools in a northern peripheral region of Israel. Findings showed the primary importance of peer groups and family in leisure activities and support, and the secondary importemce of school and community. No evidence was found of a sharp generation gap. Community could also be significant if its organizations accepted youth as a peer group, and not only individually, on an equal and cooperating basis.


The aim of this research was to examine the relative Importance and impact of peer groups, family, school, and community on young adolescents. The relative influence of these socialization agents were demonstrated mainly by the activities, preferences, feelings, and thoughts ofthe teenagers concerning the way they spend their leisure time, their preferences for help providers, eind the sense of attachment to their community. This study examined "normative" adolescents, in contrast to many studies that deal with problematic behaviors and their prevention. It focuses on three elements of the youngsters' cultural background which are considered important explanatory factors of their subculture: gender, level of religiosity, and nature of their Sara Amon, Tel-Hai Academic College, P.O.B. Upper Galilee, 12110, Israel & (Jolan Research Institute, University of Haifa, Israel, 12900. E-mail:

Zinaida Ilatov, Golan Research Institute, University of Haifa. Reprint requests to Shmuel Shamai, Tel-Hai Academic College, P.O.B. Upper Galilee, 12110, Israel. E-mail: ADOLESCENCE, Vol. 43, No. 170, Summer 2008

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community. Participants (7th- 9th-grade adolescents) living on the Gk)lan Heights, a peripheral area in the north of Israel. THEORETICAL BACKGROUND

The process of the separating from childhood dependencies and parents, and moving on to a wider social miheu with extra-famihal relationships is generally considered a crucial developmental stage which the adolescent must pass through in order to achieve maturity (Roherts, 1985; Coleman, 1992). Western research has found that youth spend much less time with the family, which may reflect individualistic rather than coUectivistic values with greater value placed on individualism rather than family (Larson & Verma, 1999). This distancing of youth is also from teachers and other significant adults and from official institutions (such as school and organized leisure institutions). The increasing importance of the peer group makes it an effective sociahzation agent, which may encourage idle activity that is negatively correlated with adolescents' school achievement and positively with higher rates of delinquency and anti-social behavior (Coleman, 1989,1992; Larson & Vema, 1999). Group Socialization theory asserts that it is not the home hut the peer environment that has lasting effects on adolescents' psychological characteristics when they hecome adults. Self-categorization processes of assimilation and differentiation tend to make adolescents more similar to each other within peer groups and less similar to adults (Harris, 1995). The gap leads to intergenrational conflict. Adolescents threaten the authority of...
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