FALL 2000

Instructor: Dr. Tabbye Chavous

Office: 2000 East Hall; 615-0157


Office Hours: Tuesdays 1-2

Wednesdays 2:30-3:30, or by appointment


Links on this homepage: #background #requirements #schedule

Assigned Readings:

The required readings will be available on reserve at Shapiro library (2nd floor), and most will be available electronically/online.


Background and Course Objectives

When you think about "adolescence," what images come to mind? Whatever the images, they are likely to be powerful. When looked at as a total experience, more biological, psychological, and social changes occur during this time than any other across the life span.


Likewise, the study of adolescence is dynamic. Until a little over two decades ago, there was little empirical research on adolescents, and most of the scientific and popular views were based on the notion that adolescence is necessarily a time of "storm and stress." Over the past few decades, the situation has changed dramatically. Simplistic conceptual perspectives have given way to ones that more adequately embrace the complexity and multidimensionality of adolescence. Historically, interest in the study of adolescence has spanned across several disciplines (e.g., psychology, sociology, psychiatry, anthropology, education); recently, however, there has been a trend toward interdisciplinary efforts and a blending of several levels of analysis (e.g., biological, psychological, social, cultural). In terms of the research, both the number and quality of studies has increased steadily over the years. Yet, it is safe to conclude that the study of adolescence is barely beyond its "infancy." There are few "facts" -- only occasional glimpses of what makes for optimal development during adolescence.


The present course is designed to provide a forum for examining issues of "normative" adolescent development and the current state of research in this area. That is, the purpose is to consider the theory and research that pertains both to what is experienced by "most" adolescents and to important individual differences in the experience of adolescence. Both theory and research as it pertains to normative processes will be considered from both a life-span and an ecological perspective. Particular emphasis will be placed on the interaction between the individual and contexts which especially impact this developmental group (i.e., school, peer groups, neighborhood, family structures). A survey of some of the specific problems and contemporary issues facing adolescents will be addressed within these contexts (e.g., teenage childbearing, substance abuse, eating disorders, delinquency, school adjustment, and depression). In addition the course will highlight issues of culture and ethnicity in adolescent social development. Though attention will be given to specific problems such as the aforementioned issues, this course cannot offer a comprehensive coverage of the field. The premise here is that one can best understand problems experienced during adolescence only after one has an understanding of the complexities of normative adolescent development.


The main objectives of the course are to: (1) strengthen and broaden the student's knowledge base of research and theory in the field of adolescent development; (2) encourage the student to think critically about the theory and research; (3) consider contemporary issues and concerns of the field; (4) consider the practical implications of current research; and (5) provide an arena for the student to explore, crystallize, and express his or her own views concerning the field.


Course readings include selections from various texts as well as a combination of theoretical and review articles on the topics and empirical articles from the psychological literature. There will be discussion questions provided each week to focus and guide reading of the articles. Readings will stress the theoretical and empirical work and our discussion will focus on the analysis and synthesis of the different theories and research findings. In general, class discussion will focus on four issues:


1. Theoretical- What are the different psychological theories or models for the phenomena of interest? How are they compatible? Incompatible? What are the relevant components of the models and theories? In what contexts (e.g., school, home) are these constructs more relevant?

2. Empirical- What are the empirical findings for the phenomena? What can we say about the research in the area given the research design and methods? What types of empirical work are needed in the field?

3. Cultural- How do the phenomena emerge and/or progress across different groups (e.g., gender, racial, ethnic)? How do current models and theory treat issues of culture? If there are relevant cultural differences in certain phenomena, what are the implications for the model and pedagogy?

4. Pedagogical- What are the implications of the psychological theories and research findings for researchers, practitioners, educators, etc.?

5. Synthesis- What new models can be developed to explain the phenomena? What are the directions for future research?


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Requirements and Evaluation

A. Class participation (50% of grade). Class participation includes (a) preparation of discussion questions; (b) quality of article/class presentations; and (c) consistent and informed participation in class discussion.


A high value will be placed on students actively participating in discussions focused on, and informed by, the readings. Therefore, students consistently should be prepared and able to discuss course material in class. Seminar participants will be heavily involved in the leading of the seminar. In the first several weeks of the course where we focus on theoretical perspectives on development, we will spend 2 weeks on each perspective (see syllabus). In the first week, we will read assigned papers about the topic in question. Papers include both "classics" as well as more recent articles. Seminar participants are expected to come to class having completed the readings, and having prepared answers to any discussion questions provided for the week's readings. (**On days where the instructor has specified that students do not have to have prepared answers, students should still come to class prepared to discuss points and questions provided).


In the second week, each seminar participant will find and present one article which extends the work/research covered the week before. There are 3 constraints about what articles you should present: (1) The article should be empirical and reflect "exemplary methodology" (be prepared to defend your choice); (2) the article should be published within the last three years, and (3) the article should be taken from one of the following journals:**

American Journal of Community Psychology

American Psychologist

Developmental Psychology

Child Development

Journal of Applied Psychology

Journal of Personality and Social Psychology

Psychological Bulletin

Sex Roles

Journal of Research on Youth and Adolescence

**(other journals may be used only with instructor permission)


In class, each seminar participant will spend 12-15 minutes presenting the article. In the presentation, please focus on the following questions:

1. What is the basic research question and key finding?

2. Describe the methodology. What is exemplary/unique about it, and how does it aid in our understanding of the topic issue? What are its weaknesses?

3. In what ways does the article confirm and/or call into question the research and theories we read the week before?


Please bring one extra copy of your article to class. I will collect them and generate a bibliography for the class.


On other weeks, students also will be responsible for being discussion leaders for a portion of the class sessions (to be discussed in class).


Reaction Papers (20% of grade, each 10%). Two reaction papers on the readings will be assigned by the instructor. There will be 6 options for days that you may turn in these papers, and you should choose two, based on your time and interest. The papers should be approximately 3-4 double spaced, typed pages (one inch margins, 12pt font). These papers should address no more than one of two ideas, stimulated by the readings done for that week. Reaction papers are due ON the day the readings are due (reaction papers may NOT be turned in after the day of the readings).


You may either compare or contrast ideas, arguing in defense of, or against a point made, or elaborate on an argument or position taken in the readings. Or, you may further develop a theme explored throughout the readings. Do not exceed four pages. Be very precise in your discussion or argument since this is a relatively short paper. Your writing should get the point early and the rest of the paper should then build on, or support that thought. Assume your audience has read the same material. Do not give detailed summaries of the readings. The best thought papers are those that integrate ideas from the readings or discuss the relationships between the new readings and previous readings, lectures, and personal experiences.


You will be graded based the following criteria - (1) clarity of presentation, (2) integration and application of knowledge gained from readings and class discussions; (3) degree of critical thinking (i.e. analysis and synthesis of ideas, and (4) insightful and creative thought. You should bring the typed, three to four page paper to class the on the days specified.


C. Final paper (30% of final grade). (**Revised - 9/25) Students' final project will be a collaboration (or collaborations) related to their own research interests in adolescents. We will utilize an existing dataset to test our ideas/framework. We will spend both in-class and time outside of class in developing frameworks, methodology, conducting analyses, discussing our findings, and writing up our project findings in manuscript form. Further details regarding paper requirements and expectations will be provided in class.


The final paper will be completed by Friday, December 15th.


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(Note: schedule and assignments may change somewhat according to the size and composition of the class)


Links in this schedule- Go to: #week1 #week2 #week3 #week4 #week5

#week6 #week7 #week8 #week9 #week10 #week11 #week12 #week13 #week14 #week15


Discussion question links





Week 1 - September 11 - Class Introduction, Policies, and Expectations

Week 2 - September 18 - Adolescent Development in Perspective: An Organismic Perspective on Adolescence

Developmental Psychobiological Perspective

Constructivist Theory

Neo-Piagetian Persepctives

Psychodynamic Models

 For discussion questions, see discuss2.htm

Beyth-Marom, R., & Fischoff, B. Adolescents' decisions about risks: A cognitive perspective. In J. Schulenberg, J. Maggs, and K. Hurrelman, (Eds.), Health risks and developmental transitions during adolescence. New York: Cambridge University Press. (On reserve in Shapiro Library - 2nd floor).

Goldhaber, D.E. (2000). The Psychodynamic models of Freud and Erikson. In D.E. Goldhaber Theories of Human Development. (Copies available in grad office (2nd floor East Hall) in box marked Psychology 797).

Goldhaber, D.E. (2000). Piaget's Constructivist Theory. In D.E. Goldhaber Theories of Human Development. (Copies available in grad office (2nd floor East Hall) in box marked Psychology 797).

Kelley, T. (1993). Neocognitive learning theory: Implications for prevention and early intervention strategies with at-risk youth. Adolescence. kelley.pdf



Levine & Alessandro (2000). Ego and moral development in university contexts. Journal or Adolescent Research, 15(4), 482-503. levine.pdf

Bear, G.G. & Modlin, P.D. (1987). Gesell's developmental testing: What purpose does it serve? Psychology in the schools, 24(1), 40-44.

Galotti, K.M. (1989). Gender differences in self-reported moral reasoning: A review and new evidence. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 18(5), 475-488.

Gottlieb, G. (1993). The psychobiological approach to developmental issues. In P.H. Mussen (Ed.), Handbook of child psychology (Vol2, pp.1-26). New York: Wiley.

Lightfoot, C. (1992). Constructing self- and peer culture: A narrative perspective on adolescent risk taking. In L.T. Winegar & J. Valsiner (Eds.), Children's development within social context: Research and methodology, (Vol2, pp.229-248). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Elkind D. (1967). Egocentrism in adolescence. Child Development, 38 (4), 1025- 1034.


Week 3 - September 25 - The Organismic Worldview II

 Week 4 - October 2 - The Mechanistic Worldview - for discussion questions, see discuss4.htm

Learning Theory

Social Cognitive Theory

Information Processing

Developmental Behavior Genetics


Selections from Bandura & Walters (1959). Adolescent aggression: A study of the influence of child-training practices and family interrelationships. New York : Ronald Press Co. (Copies available in grad office (2nd floor East Hall) in box marked Psychology 797).

Campos, J.J., Campos, R.G., & Barrett, K.C. (1989). Emergent themes in the study of emotional development and emotion regulation. Developmental Psychology, 25, 394-402. campos.pdf

Hogben, M., & Byrne, D. (1998). Using social learning theory to explain individual differences in human sexuality. The Journal of Sex Research, 35(1), 58-71. hogben.pdf

Scarr, S. (1992). Developmental theories for the 1990s. Development and individual differences. Child Development, 63, 1-19. (Copies available in grad office (2nd floor East Hall) in box marked Psychology 797).

Rose, R. (1998). A developmental behavior genetic model on alcoholism risk. rose.pdf

Knox, Funk, Elliot & Bush (2000). Gender differences in possible selves. Youth and Society. knox.pdf



Baurind, D. (1993). The average expectable environment is not good enough. A response to Scarr. Child Development, 64(5), 1299-1317.

Bouchard, T.J.J. (1994). Genes, environment, and personality. Science, 264, 1700-1701.

Rowe & Farrington. (1997). The familial transmission of criminal convictions. Criminology. rowe.pdf

Cole, M. (1997). Cultural mechanisms of cognitive development. In E. Amsel & K.A. Reneninger (Eds.), Interactive minds; Life span perspectives on the social foundation of cognition (pp. 59-86). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Gottlieb, G. (1995). Some conceptual deficiencies in "developmental" behavior genetics. Human Development, 38, 131-141.

Kail, R., & Bisanz, J. (1992). The information processing perspective on cognitive development in childhood and adolescence. In R.J. Sternberg & C.A. Berg (eds.), Intellectual development (pp.229-260). Cambridge: Cambrisge University Press.

Plomin, R. (1990). Trying to shoot the messenger for his message. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 13, 144.



Week 5 - October 9 - A Mechanistic Perspective on Adolescence II

Week 6 - October 16 - Adolescence and the Contextualist Worldview

Life Span Cohort Perspectives

Sociocultural Perspective

Postmodern Perspectives

 - for discussion questions, see discuss3.htm

Bronfenbrenner, U. (1996). Ecology of the family as a context for human development: Research perspectives. Developmental Psychology, 22, 723-742. (In grad mailroom/office 2nd floor East Hall)

Hoffman, M.L. (1991). The influence of the family environment on personality: Accounting for sibling difference. Psychological Bulletin, 110, 187-203. hoffman.pdf

Harrison, A. et al. (1990). Family ecologies of ethnic minority children. Child Development, 61, 347-362. harrison.pdf

McLoyd, V.C. (1990). The impact of economic hardship on black families and children: Psychological distress, parenting, and socioemotional development. Child Development, 61, 311-346. mcloyd.pdf

Rutter, M. (1987). Psychosocial resilience and protective mechanisms. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 57, 316-331. rutter.pdf



Gunn, J. Do neighborhoods influence child and adolescent development? gunn.pdf

Goldhaber, D.E. (2000). Vygotsky and the sociocultural perspective. In D.E. Goldhaber Theories of Human Development.

Rogoff, B. & Chavajay, P. (1995). What's become of research on the cultural basis of cognitive development? American Psychologist, 50(10), 859-877.

Week 7 - October 23- Adolescence and the Contextualist Worldview II


 Week 8 - October 30 - Identity Development

Selections from - Erikson, E.H. (1968). Identity: Youth and Crisis. London: Faber.

Phinney, J.S., Lochner, B.T. & Murphy, R. (1990). Ethnic identity development and psychological adjustment in adolescence. In A.R. Stiffman & L.E. Davis (Eds.), Ethnic issues in adolescent mental health (pp.53-72). Newbury Park, CA: Sage.

Ethier, K. and Deaux, K. (1994). Negotiating social identity when contexts change. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 67(2), 243-251.


 ** Guest Speaker: Dr. Pamela Trotman Reid, School of Education, Institute for Research on Women and Gender, Department of Psychology **



Bohan, J.S. (1997). Regarding gender: Essentialism, constructionism, and feminist psychology. In M.M. Gergen & S.N. Davis (eds.), Toward a new psychology of gender (pp. 31-47). New York: Routledge.

Brown, L.S.. (1997). Regarding gender: Toward a lesbian/gay paradigm for psychology. In M.M. Gergen & S.N. Davis (eds.), Toward a new psychology of gender (pp. 31-47). New York: Routledge.

Bruner, J. (1997). Celebrating divergence: Piaget and Vygotsky. Human Development, 40(2), 63-73.

Marcia, J.E. (1994). The empirical study of ego identity. In H.A. Bosma, T.L.G. Graafsma, H.D. Grotevant, & D.J. deLevita (Eds.), Identity and development (Vol 179, pp.67-80). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Phinney, J(1989)Stages of ethnic identity development in minority group adolescents. Journal of Early Adolescence, 9, 34-49.


Option 1 for Reaction Paper


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Week 9 - November 6 - Ethnic Identity Development

Special Session: RCGD Speaker: Dr. William Cross

3:30 - 5:00 (Institute for Social Research)


Week 10 - November 13 - Schools * (revised 11/8)

Kimmel, M. (2000). Saving the males. Gender and Society. kimmel.pdf

Mael, F. (1998). Single-sex and coeducational schooling: Relationships to socioemotional and academic development. Review of Educational Research, 68(2), 101-129. mael.pdf

Fordham, S & Ugbu, J (1988). Black students' school success: Coping with the "Burden of Acting White". In Adolescent and Society (Ed. Muuss) Random House. 275-291. (in box 2nd floor East Hall)



Eccles, J.S., Midgeley, C., Wigfield, A. Buchanan, C.M., Reuman, D., Flanagan, C. & MacIver, D. (1993). Development during adolescence: The impact of stage environment fit on young adolescents' experiences in schools and families. American Psychologist, 48, 90-101. Eccles article.pdf

Heath, S. B., & McLaughlin, M.W. (1991). Community organizations as family: Endeavors that engage and support adolescents. Phi Delta Kappan(April), 623-627.


"Guest Speaker" - Dr. John Schulenberg, Department of Psychology, Institute for Social Research

Some "Transitions to Adulthood " literature to review for background:

Clausen, J.S. (1991). Adolescent Competence and the Shaping of the Life Course. The American Journal of Sociology, 96(4), 805-843. clausen.pdf



Lee, V. E, Marks, H.M, & Byrd, T. (1994). Sexism in single-sex and coeducational independent secondary school classrooms. Sociology of Education, 67(2).

Lee, P.W. (1999). In their own voices: An ethnographic study of low-achieving students within the context of school reform. Urban Education, 34(2), 214-244

Ogbu, J.U. (1997). Understanding the school performance of urban Blacks: Some essential background knowledge. In H.J. Wahlberg, Reyes, & Weissberg (Eds.) Children and Youth: Interdisciplinary perspectives. Thousand Oaks:Sage.

Seidman & French (1997). Normative school transitions among urban adolescents: When, where, and how to intervene. In H.J. Wahlberg, Reyes, & Weissberg (Eds.) Children and Youth: Interdisciplinary perspectives. Thousand Oaks:Sage.


Option 2 for Reaction Paper


Week 11 - November 20 - Family and Peer Relationships

Parker, J.G. & Asher, S.D. (1987). Peer relations and later personal adjustment. Psychological Bulletin, 102, 357-389. parker.pdf

Maccoby, E.E. (1990). Gender and relationships: A developmental account. American Psychologist, 45(4), 513-520. maccoby.pdf

Way, N. & Chen, L. (2000). Close and general friendships among African American, Latino, and Asian American adolescents from low-income families. Journal of Adolescent Research, 15(2), 274-301. way.pdf

Way, N. & Gillman, D.A. (2000). Early adolescent girl s' perceptions of their relationships with their fathers: A qualitative investigation. The Journal of Early Adolescence, 20(3), 309-331. way.html

Laurensen, B. (1995). Conflict and social interaction in adolescent relationships. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 5, 55-70. laurensen.pdf



Eccles, J.S., Early, D., Frasier, K., Belansky, E., McCarthy, K. (1997). The relation of connection, regulation, and support for autonomy to adolescents' functioning. Journal of Adolescent Research, 12(2), 263-286. eccles2.pdf

Moore, D. (1987) Parent-adolescent separation: the construction of adulthood by late adolescents. Developmental Psychology, 23,298-307.


Option 3 for Reaction Paper



Week 12 - November 27 - Mental Health and Violence

Peterson, A.C., Compas, B.E., Brooks-Gunn, J., Stemmler, M. Ey, S., & Grant, K.E. (1993). Depression in adolescence. American Psychologist, 48, 155-168. petersen.pdf

Scott, S., & Grisso, T. (1997). The evolution of adolescence: A developmental perspective on juvenile justice reform. Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology, 88(1), 137-189. scott.pdf or scott.htm

Kelley, T. (1993). Neocognitive learning theory: Implications for prevention and early intervention strategies with at-risk youth. Adolescence. (This reading was also listed in Week 2 readings, so you should already have this)

Parker, S., Nichter, M., Nichter, M., Vuckovic, N., Sims, C., & Ritenbaugh, C. (1995). Body image and weight concerns among African American and white adolescent females: differences that make a difference. Human Organization, 54 (2), 103-114. parker2.pdf


** Guest Speaker: Dr. Marc Zimmerman, School of Public Health, Combined Program in Education and Psychology **



Kramer, R. (2000). Poverty, inequality, and youth violence. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 567, 123-139. kramer.pdf or kramer.htm

McGuffin, P. & Katz, R. (1993). Genes, adversity, and depression. In R. Plomin & G.E. McClearn (Eds.), nature, nurture and psychology (pp.217-230). Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association.

Powers, S.I, Hauser, S.T., & Kolner, L. (1989) Adolescent mental health. American Psychologist, 44, 200-208.

Dishion, T.J., Patterson, G.R., Stoolmiller, M, Skinner, M (1991) Family,school, and behavioral antecedents to early adolescent involvement with antisocial peers. Developmental Psychology, 27, 172-180.

Schulenberg, J., O'Malley, P.M., Bachman, J.G., Wadsworth, K.N., & Johnston, L.D. Getting drunk and growing up: Trajectories of frequent binge drinking during the transition to young adulthood. Journal of Studies on Alcohol.

Gore,S., Aseltine, R.H. (1995). Protective processes in adolescence: Matching stressors with social resources. American Journal of Community Psychology. (This article deals with parent and peer buffering issues and might be relevant for our project). gore.html


Option 4 for Reaction Paper


Week 13 - December 4 - Sexuality and Teenaged Pregnancy

Hogben et al. (1998). Using social learning theory to explain differences in human sexuality. Journal of Sex Research. hogben.pdf

Furstenburg, Frank F., Jr. et al. (1989). "Teenaged Pregnancy and Childrearing", American Pscyhologist, 44(2), 313-320. furstenberg.pdf

Ward, L.M. & Wyatt, G.E. (1994). The effects of childhood sexual messages on African American and White women's adolescent sexual behavior. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 18, 1833-201. ward.pdf

Stein, J. H., & Reiser, L. H. (1994). A study of white middle-class adolescent boys' responses to "semenarche" (the first ejaculation). Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 23 (3), 373-384. stein.pdf



Ruble, D. & Brooks-Gunn, J. (1982) The experience of menarche. Child Development, 53, 1550-1566.

Gordon, C.P. (1996). Adolescent decision making: A broadly based theory and its application to the prevention of early pregnancy. Adolescence, 31(123).


**Guest Speaker: Dr. Cleopatra Caldwell, School of Public Health, Institute for Social Research** (Topic: Teen Pregnancy and Parenting)



Grief & Ulman, (1982). The psychological impact of menarche on early adolescent females: A review of the literature. Child Development, 53, 1413-1430

Henly, J. (1997). The complexity of support. American Journal of Community Psychology, 25(5).

Yowell, C. (1997). Risks of communication: Early adolescent girls' conversations with mothers and friends about sexuality. The Journal of Early Adolescence, 17(2), 172-196.


Option 5 for Reaction Paper


Week 14 - December 11 - Ethical Issues in Adolescent Research

Selections from Stanley, B. & Sieber, J.E. (Eds.) (1992). Social research on children and adolescents: Ethical issues. Newbury Park: Sage Publications.

Course wrap-up

Option 6 for Reaction Paper







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