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Lifespan Development Chapter 12: Socioemotional Development in Adolescence. McGraw-Hill. © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. The Self and Emotional Development in Adolescence. Self-esteem: The overall way we evaluate ourselves.

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Lifespan Development

Chapter 12:

Socioemotional Development in Adolescence


© 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

the self and emotional development in adolescence
The Self and Emotional Development in Adolescence
  • Self-esteem: The overall way we evaluate ourselves.
  • Emotional development is characterized by
    • Increased interest in self-protrayal
    • Search for an identity
    • Emotional swings
  • Girls’ self-esteem declines due to puberty
  • Some studies suggest that boys’ self-esteem increases, although other studies suggest that boys’ self-esteem also declines, but to a lesser degree than girls.
  • Identity confusion is gap between the security of childhood and autonomy of adulthood



Impulse control

Educational tone

Body image

Social relationships


Vocational/educational aspirations

Mastery of the world

Psychological problems


Category of self-esteem

Familial self

Sexual self






Statistical score

Gender Comparisons of Adolescents’ Self-Images

adolescent identity formation
Adolescent Identity Formation
  • Erikson’s stage for adolescents: Identity vs. Identity Confusion.
  • Identity is a self-portrait of many parts:
    • Desired career path
    • Religious beliefs
    • Social and intimate relationships
    • Sexual and gender identity
    • Cultural or ethnic identity
    • Personality traits
    • Physical body image
  • Identity formation occurs gradually over time, occurring before and continuing after adolescence
identity confusion
Identity Confusion
  • Identity Confusion can take two paths:
    • Withdrawal
    • Loss of Identity in a crowd
  • Identity formation begins before and continuous after adolescence.
James Marcia suggested four identity statuses that involve commitment:
    • Diffusion (not sure who you are and not trying to find out)
    • Foreclosure (having accepted a ready-made identity without considering it or exploring any alternatives)
    • Moratorium (actively exploring possible identities)
    • Achievement (having explored possible identities and made a commitment to an identity.
  • Adolescents also show a
    • Need for confidence in parental support
    • Need for a developed sense of industry
    • Gain in self-reflective view of their future
Adolescents’ identity development affected by
    • Individuality: consists of self-assertion (ability to have and communicate a point of view) and separateness (use of communication patterns to express how one is different from others)
    • Connectedness: consists of mutuality (sensitivity to and respect for others’ views) and permeability (openness to others’ views)
    • Ethnic and cultural group membership
    • Gender (may be more complex for females)
  • Although, in general, gender differences in the process of identity formation are declining, some researchers still suggests that;
    • Male identity formation may precede intimacy stage
    • Female intimacy may precede identity formation
Emotional development in adolescence
    • State of “storm and stress” is not constant
    • But emotional highs and lows increase
    • From 5th to 9th grades, both sexes experience some moodiness and decreased happiness
      • It is normal to be moody
      • Moodiness may be affected more by environmental experiences than hormonal changes
    • Pubertal changes are associated with an increase in negative emotions










Very unhappy

Very happy

Self-Reported Extremes of Emotion by Adolescents, Mothers, and Fathers Using the Experience-Sampling Method

Percentage of self-reports

Fig. 13.2

  • Adolescent desires for autonomy and responsibility occur through appropriate adult reactions
  • Heated emotional exchanges may occur as parents feel a child is slipping away from their control or discarding their advice and views
  • Examination of gender differences show boys being given more independence than girls
  • Cross-culturally, U.S. adolescents seek autonomy earlier than Japanese adolescents
Adolescent–parent attachments are moderately correlated to adolescent outcomes
    • Securely attached adolescents are less likely to engage in problem behaviors and may have better peer relations.
      • However, these correlations are moderate.
  • Many parents see the child change from compliant to oppositional and resistant to parental standards
  • Unwise parental reactions include demanding immediate compliance or giving no supervision
  • Everyday conflicts in parent–adolescent relationships may serve a positive developmental function and help adolescents achieve autonomy.
Parents are important attachment figures and support systems as adolescents explore a complex social world
    • Secure attachment can be good for the adolescent but is not a guarantee of success.
  • Most parent-child conflicts in adolescence involves everyday events rather than major dilemmas and generally escalates during early adolescence, remains stable during high school and then decreases during 17-20 years.
  • Prolonged, intense conflict at homecharacterizes 1 in 5 families and is associatedwith moving out of home, juvenile delinquency, school dropout, pregnancy and early marriage, membership in religious cults, and drug abuse.
  • In some cultures, there is less parent–adolescent conflict than in others
positive family relations in adolescence
Positive Family Relations in Adolescence
  • Adolescents who did not eat dinner with a parent five or more days a week had dramatically higher rates of smoking, drinking, marijuana use, getting into fights and initiation of sexual activity.
  • Competent adolescent development is facilitated by parents who:
    • Show warmth and respect
    • Demonstrate sustained interest in their children’s lives
    • Recognize and adapt to their teenagers’ cognitive and socioemotional development
    • Communicate expectations for high standards of conduct and achievement
    • Display constructive ways of dealing with problems and conflict
Peer relations
    • Are very important in adolescent lives
      • The need for intimacy increases in adolescence, motivating teenagers to seek out close friends.
    • Most teens prefer a smaller number of peer contacts and more intimacy
    • Teens form cliques that shape their social lives
    • Teens seek reassurance of worth and companionship from friends
    • Teens with superficial or no friendships are lonely and depressed with lower self-esteem
  • Quality of adolescent friendships may be a predictor of self-worth in early adulthood



Self-disclosure in conversation score











Developmental Changes in Self-Disclosing Conversations

Fig. 13.4

Peer pressure in adolescence
    • Conformity can be negative or positive
    • Conformity – especially to antisocial standards – peaks around 8th and 9th grades.
    • Pressure appears strongest for conforming to antisocial standards
    • Cross-culturally, there is more peer pressure in the U.S. than in Japan to resist parents
    • Cliques are based on friendship, common interests
  • Crowds are
    • Larger groups with reputations for what they do
    • Less personal than cliques
Adolescents spend considerable time either dating or thinking about it
  • Dating can function as a source of
    • Recreation
    • Status and achievement
    • Learning about close relationships
    • Mate selection
    • Strong emotional relationships
    • Exploring how attractive you are and how you should romantically interact with someone and how all of it looks to the peer group.
  • Girls’ early romantic involvement is linked to lower grades, less school participation, and more problems


Announced “I like someone”

Went out with same person 3 or more times


Had an exclusive relationship for more than 2 mo.


Planned an engagement or a marriage














Age at Onset of Romantic Activity

Percentage of students

Fig. 13.5

adolescent romantic relationships
Adolescent romantic relationships
  • Many adolescents seek attachment or sex after acquiring basic competencies to interact romantically
  • Cyberdating is very popular among middle school children as young as 10 years of age
  • High school dating is more traditional
  • Most gay and lesbian youth do little same-sex dating due to social disapproval and other factors
  • Romantic relationships are usually described in terms of interpersonal qualities by girls and physical attraction byboys
culture and adolescent development
Culture and Adolescent Development
  • Cross-culturally
    • Two-thirds of Asian Indian adolescents accept marriages arranged by their parents
    • Female adolescents in the Philippines sacrifice their futures to work and send money home
    • Street youth in Kenya survive economically by delinquency or prostitution
    • In the Middle East, many adolescents are segregated by sex, even in school
    • Russian youth are marrying earlier, while U.S. youth are marrying later than past generations
adolescent health
Adolescent Health
  • Rapid global change presents adolescents with more opportunities and challenges to health and well-being
  • Globally, adolescent experiences are affected by their gender, family, schools, and peers
    • Fewer die from infectious diseases or malnutrition than in the past
    • Risky adolescent behaviors, especially illicit drug use and unprotected sex, are increasing
    • Female and male adolescent experiences continue to be quite different and gap is not lessening
    • Some families remain closely knit with extensive extended kin networks, while others do not
    • Some trends have increased family mobility and reduced family resource abilities
    • Some cultures encourage stronger peer roles in adolescence and the need for formal education (others may not – some based on gender bias)
Rites of passage for adolescents
    • Vary among cultures
    • May be more influenced by social and religious groups in Western societies
  • Ethnic minorities in American society
    • Are overrepresented in the lower SES levels
    • Economic disadvantage still affects minority youth from middle-income backgrounds
    • Japanese Americans, often seen as “model minority,” still have ethnic minority status stress
    • Ethnic minority groups are not homogenous and eth nic minorities differ among themselves socially, historically, and economically
  • Assimilation: absorption into the dominant group
  • Pluralism: coexistence of distinct ethnic and cultural groups in the same society.
adolescent problems
Adolescent Problems
  • Juvenile delinquency
    • Is a broad concept that includes many actions from minor infractions to murder
    • More likely to be committed by males (8/10)
    • Involvement by females is increasing
    • More males than females are arrested
    • Property offenses are committed more than any other crime, by both sexes
    • Rates are disproportionately higher for minority and lower SES youth
    • Minorities are judged delinquent more than Whites
Causes of delinquency
    • Heredity
    • Identity problems
    • Community influences
    • Family experiences
    • Lower class culture
    • Antisocial peer groups and gangs
    • Status given for antisocial behavior
    • Male “high-status” traits nurtured
    • High crime areas have criminal role models
    • Community resources are inadequate
Youth crime
    • A high concern in the United States
    • Feelings of helplessness, alienation, and depression can lead to violence and suicide
    • Although small-town violence attracts attention, rates of violence are highest in poverty-infested areas
    • Prevention efforts should include
      • Developmentally appropriate schools
      • Supportive families
      • Positive youth and community organizations
  • Depression is highest in adolescence – highest in girls
Adolescents and suicide:
    • Suicide is the third leading cause of death among 13- to 19-year-olds in U.S.
    • Females are more likely to attempt suicide
    • Males are more likely to commit suicide
    • Males use more lethal means than females
    • Homosexual youths may be 3 to 7 times more likely to attempt suicide than heterosexual youths
    • Suicide is affected by genetic and emotional factors