Culture • The behavior patterns, beliefs, and all other products of a particular group of people that are passed on from generation to generation. • Two important dimensions of culture in adolescents’ lives: • Socioeconomic status. A grouping of people with similar occupational, educational, and economic characteristics. • Ethnicity. A dimension of culture based on cultural heritage, nationality, race, religion, and language.
Culture • Today we live in a great social melting pot. However, there are challenges. According to (Brewer & Campbell, 1976), people have a tendency to: • Believe that their customs and values are natural and the culture of others is unnatural • Believe their cultural customs are universally valid and applicable to other societies • Behave in ways that favor their cultural group • Feel proud of their cultural group • Feel hostile toward other cultural groups • Challenge: In our society we have people from all walks of life and customs (Refugees, Immigrants, Ethnic groups). Many refuse to conform to the values of this western society and seek to express their unique customs in this society. How do we create a society of free expression under such diverse circumstances?
Ethnocentrism • A tendency to favor one’s own group over other groups. • Traditionally, when we study adolescent development, we study it from a Eurocentric approach (unique to the values of US), but what of adolescent development among diverse adolescents. • Discuss Spencer and Mark-Amstrand study • Dating rituals across cultures
Cross-Cultural Comparisons • Cross-Cultural Studies. Studies that compare a culture with one or more other cultures. Such studies provide information about the degree to which adolescent development is similar, or universal, across cultures or about the degree to which it is culture specific. • Margret Mead study of adolescents from Somoa. Thru cultural studies like this one, we learn that adolescent stress is not as universal as projected by G. Stanley Hall.
Achievement • US adolescents are socialized to be achievement oriented and independent to a greater degree than adolescents from other groups. • Could Juvenile delinquency be a natural function of this socialization? • Studies have shown that American parents socialize children to be independent while other cultures focus on obedience and responsibility (Kenya) and group solidarity (Asian, Hispanic). • US adolescents tend to be more competitive, less cooperative, and to discount the gains of adolescents from other cultural groups. • Although Anglo-Americans are achievement oriented, they do not exceed certain cultures (Japanese, Chinese, Asian). • 86% of Asian-American & 64% of Caucasian American pursue post-High School education. • According to David Elkind, American children are too achievement oriented and it has affected mental health among adolescents.
Adolescent Sexuality • Some cultures consider the expression of sexuality to be healthy and appropriate while others forbid it. • Margaret Mead Study • Wagner Study • Ines Beag (Small Island in Ireland). Inhabitants are the most sexually deprived in the world. • No knowledge of French kissing or hand stimulation of the penis. • Sex education doesn’t exist. • They believe that, after marriage, nature will take its course. • The men think that intercourse is bad for their health. • Individuals in this culture detest nudity. • Only babies are allowed to bathe nude and adults wash only the parts of their body that extend beyond their clothing. • Premarital sex is out of the question. • After marriage, sexual partners keep their underwear on during intercourse.
In contrast, Mangaian culture in the South Pacific. • Boys learn about masturbation around age 6 and 7. • Age 13, boys undergo a male ritual in which they receive an incision on their penis. • The male giving the incision provides instruction in how to sexually please a woman. • 2 weeks after incision, the male has sex with an experienced woman who teaches him how to hold back his ejaculation so that she can receive ejaculation. • By the end of adolescence, he has sex every night with a woman.
Models of Cultural Change • Assimilation. Occurs when individuals relinquish their cultural identity and move into the larger society. “The melting pot.” • Acculturation. Cultural change that results from continuous, firsthand contact between two distinctive cultural groups. • Alternation model. This model assumes that it is possible for an individual to know and understand two different cultures. It also assumes that individuals can alter their behavior to fit a particular social context. • Multicultural model. This model promotes a pluralistic approach to understanding two or more cultures. It argues that people can maintain their distinctive identities while working with others from different cultures to meet common national or economic needs.
Rites of Passage • Ceremonies or rituals that mark an individual’s transition from one status to another, especially into adulthood. • Jewish Bar Mitzvah • The Catholic confirmation • Social Debuts • African cultures has been a source of diverse “Rites of Passage” however, with Western influence they are diminishing in many areas.
Socio-Economic Status • Distribution of socioeconomic status. • Crime and socioeconomic statue. Adolescent outcomes. • Discuss “Race to Incarcerate” • Poverty • Poverty in US is greater than in other industrialized nations. • 17% of adolescents live below the poverty line. • 40% of African-American and Latino-Americans live in poverty. • Women are more likely to be in poverty than men
African American Youth • African Americans make up the 2nd largest ethnic minority group in the US. • African American families stratify across the socioeconomic statuses; however, there are disproportionately higher families who fall in low socioeconomic status. • The majority of youth stay in school, do not take drugs, do not prematurely get married and become parents, and are not involved in crime. • Why does this seem to counter stereotypes? • Discuss Methodologies • Family and church bonds are extremely important in this culture
Latino Adolescents • Latino Americans represent 30 million people and climbing (15% of the total US). • 2/3rds trace their roots to Mexico. • Latino adolescents on average have one of the lowest educational levels of any ethnic minority group in the US. However, those educated tend to be highly advanced. • Latino adolescents tend to be politically conscious. • Family and church bonds are extremely important in this culture (Many are Catholics)
Asian American Adolescents • Fastest growing segments of adolescents. • High success rates in school. • High Achievement Orientation. • Special emphasis on academics and success in the early years of development.
Native American Adolescents • There are approx. 100,000 Native American adolescents in the US. • Repercussions of long-term discrimination: • Low standards of living • High teen pregnancy rate • High suicide rate • Highest school dropout rate on any ethnic group