Psychology 350

Lecture 14: Adolescence



Conclude presentation of education & literacy development from last week, then begin discussing Adolesence


4 Myths About Adolescence

Changes During Puberty

Cognitive Changes

Identity Formation


Family Dynamics


Exam #2:Mon 11/13: 8-10PM

Special needs students (must confirm with your GSI): 1084 East Hall

Jenny’s, Bridget’s, & Melanie’s sections, go to 140 Lorch Hall again

Roxana’s & Janna’s sections in 1324 EH


4 Myths About Adolescence

Adolescence is filled with turmoil

Adolescent problems fade away

Conflict with parents is inevitable

Generation gap is wide


Changes During Puberty

Primary sexual characteristics (associated with reproductive capacity)

genital enlargement

menstruation in females

ejaculation in males

Secondary sexual characteristics (associated with physical appearance)

body hair, muscle development, acne


Early vs Late Maturing Boys

Early maturing boys

satisfied with bodies

active in high school activities

conventional, responsible

Late maturing boys

flexible, adaptive

tolerate ambiguity & stress


Early vs Late Maturing Girls

Early maturing girls

initially embarrassed

seek older friends, date older boys

see themselves as more mature

vulnerable to depression

Late maturing girls are seen as more popular


Sources of Adolescent Anxiety

Body ideal

Sexual behavior

Peer competition & status



Cognitive Changes

Thinking becomes more





Implications for social cognition


Adolescent Egocentrism (according to David Elkind)

Imaginary Audience

everybody is watching me

Personal Fable

it will never happen to me


Adolescent Crises, Tasks, & Accomplishments

Identity - stable sense of self

Autonomy - individuation

Friendships - peers & best friends

Intimacy - emotional reciprocity


Identity Formation


choice made by individual


choice made by others


not concerned about choices

Moratorium (preferred path today)

choices deferred


Ethnic Identity Development

Lack of role models sometimes

Negative stereotypes or ignorance

Need to integrate views of self as:

A member of both minority and majority cultures

A specific ethnic identity

Personal identity


Quest for Autonomy

Individuation = becoming independent

De-idealization of parents

Self-reliance increases

Emotional autonomy increases

Peer conformity increases from grades 5-9


Friendships in Adolescence

Play with same-sex friends until 10-11 yrs

By 13-14 yrs, most establish best friends on the basis of shared values and intimacy

Popularity among peers influences friendships:

boys = athletic ability

girls = appearance



Close emotional relationship based on concern, sharing, and love

Leads to sexual experimentation

Different paths for boys and girls


Conflicts with Parents

The Distancing Hypothesis - Steinberg

Mothers usually have more conflicts with adolescents than fathers

Most conflicts are about daily responsibilities at home, not basic values

Most families learn to avoid conflicts with basic agreements and separate activities

Authoritative parents have fewest conflicts


Family Dynamics

Highly involved fathers show greater acceptance of adolescents’ quest for autonomy

Adolescents in mother-only families have more deviant conduct

‘Latch-key" adolescent girls have more problems and contact with deviant peers than girls with adult supervision


Adolescent Employment

Career goals

Part-time work

Effects of premature affluence


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