Make your own free website on
Home | Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7 | Chapter 8 | Chapter 9 | Chapter 10 | Chapter 11 | Chapter 12 | Chapter 13 | Chapter 14 | Chapter 15 | Chapter 16 | Chapter 17 | Chapter 18 | Mid term Exam
Chapter 12

Enter subhead content here







This face in the mirror stares at me demanding Who are you? What will you become? And taunting, You don’t even know.  Chastened, I cringe and agree and then because I’m still young, I stick out my tongue.







 Identity as defined by Erik Erikson is a coherent conception of the self, made up of goals, values, and beliefs to which a person is solidly committed.


A crucial concern during adolescence is the search for identity.  This “crisis” is seldom fully resolved in adolescence and crops up again and again throughout adult life.   Three major issues regarding identity need to be resolve.  These issues revolve around Occupation, Sexual Orientation, and Value Choices. 


The choice of Occupation…What do I want to be in life.


The development of Sexuality…. Am I heterosexual, homosexual, or bisexual.


The adoption of Values… Should I play by the rules or take short cuts.

Belonging to a group is very important as one seeks to develop his or her identity.  (Wearing similar attire, belonging to Clubs, playing on a football or basketball team, or making the cheerleading squad are all important.




Researchers differ on whether girls and boys take different paths to identity formation.


Some research suggests that males are not capable of real intimacy until after he has achieved a stable identity.


Women on the other hand, define themselves through

marriage and motherhood.  Consequently, women, (unlike men) develop identity through intimacy, not before it.


Ethnicity is an important part of identity, especially among minority adolescence. (Are you black enough, are you too black etc.).


Members of different ethnic groups found different issues critical in identity formation.  Example


Hispanics…Highly conscious of prejudices against them as a their group

Asians…Struggled with peep pressure for academic achievement

African American Girls… Struggle with meeting white standards of beauty

African American Boys… Struggle with job discrimination, and negative social image of black males.

Today many young people develop a patchwork of self (a self put together from borrowed, often conflicting, bits and pieces of what others think you should be) that is highly vulnerable to stress and outside influences.  (Self actualization concept would be appropriate here).  Maslow ? 




Role Models are extremely important in developing ones identify.  Individuals need someone to look up to, to emulate, to strive to be like.  What role models did you have growing up?


Growing up in Southeastern Oklahoma, I only had Teachers and Preachers to look up to as role models.  

Sports figures, such as Jackie Robinson, and Willie Mays were idols for me as a young black kid.  Unfortunately, I never dreamed of being a Doctor, Lawyer or Engineer.  I had no role models in these professions, consequently, a career in such professions were out of the preview of my imagination.


What Role models do young people have today?  Do you feel that this is an issue with the direction young people are going in today?




Whether one becomes Heterosexual, Homosexual, or Bisexual appears to be influences by interaction of biological and environmental factors, and may be to some extent partly genetic.

Sexual attitudes and behavior are more liberal than in the past.  There is greater acceptance of premarital sexual activity and homosexuality, and there has been a decline in the double standard.


What is your opinion concerning same sex marriages?




Where do most Teenagers get Information about Sex?  Unfortunately, nearly 4 out of 10 teenagers get their sex education from the media, which presents a distorted view of sexual activity.  It rarely reveals the danger of

Unprotected sex and its consequence.  

Teenage sexual activity involves risks of pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease.  Adolescents at greatest risk are those who begin sexual activity early, have multiple partners, do not use contraceptives, and are ill-informed about sex.


Why do some adolescents become sexually active at an early age?


Various factors including


Early entrance into puberty


Poor school performance

Lack of academic and career goals

History of social abuse and parental neglect

Cultural patterns of early sexual experience

Research indicates that each of these factors may play a part in early engagement in early sexual activity. (page 434 Table 12-3 text).





STDs rates in the United States are among the highest in the industrialized world (1 out 4).  And 1 in 3 cases occur among adolescence.  WHY?



Early Activity

Failure to use protection regularly or correctly

Tendency for women to have sex with older partners


The most commonly sexually transmitted diseases are Papilloma, Herpes, and Gonorrhea.


An estimated 25% of young people may develop a STD before High School graduation.


STDs have become far more prevalent since the 1960s.  One out of three cases occurs among adolescents.  STDs are more likely to develop undetected in women than in men, and in adolescents as compared to adults (See table 12-4, page 438, Common Sexually Transmitted Diseases).





More than 10% of all U.S. births are to teenagers, most of them outside of marriage.

Although the teenage birthrate in the U.S. dropped dramatically during the 1990s, they remain many times higher than other countries where sexual activity begins just as early.


Teenage birth rates in the U.S. are five times higher than Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.  WHY?


Experts disagree as to the exact reasons but contributing factors are:


Reduced stigma on unwed mothers


Media glorification of sex


Lack of clear message that sex and parenthood are for adults.


Failure of parents to communicate with children




Age become a powerful bonding agent in adolescence.  Adolescents spend more time with peers and less with family.


The teenage years has been called a time of “adolescence rebellion” by psychologist like G. Stanley Hall.  According to Hall, emotional turmoil, conflict within the family and alienation from adult society, rejection of adult values can be expected.


However, Margaret Mead continues that when a culture provide a gradual, serene transition from childhood to adulthood, storm, stress and rebellion is not typical.


Most theorist agree that adolescence can be a difficult time, and family conflict, depression, and risky behavior are more common during this period than any other part of the life span.


Many adolescents feel self-conscious, embarrassed, awkward, lonely, nervous, or ignored (Larsen, & Richards, 1994).


Negative emotionality and mood swings are most intense during early adolescence, perhaps due to the stressful events connected with puberty.


Recognizing that adolescence may be a difficult time can help parents and teachers put troubling behavior in perspective.


If you can remember, what kinds of issues caused the most conflict in your family when you were a teenager?  Or perhaps you have kids, what are some major issues with your children.


How are these issues resolved?  If you lived with both parents, were your conflicts more with one parent than with the other.  Do you or did your mother and father handle such issues similarly or differently? 





What influences young people to engage in – or refrain from – violence or antisocial acts?


Parents often worry about a teenager’s “falling in with the wrong crowd”, but actually, parental upbringing influences the choice of peer groups and friends. 


Young people generally gravitate to others brought up like themselves, who are similar in school achievement, adjustment, and pro-social or anti-social tendencies.


As we look at delinquency, keep in mind that most adolescents occasionally commit anti-social acts. 


Most acts are not serious and general occur as a result of peer pressure and dares.



However, it’s the chronic offenders that are responsible for extreme acts of violence such as the Columbine High School event.  If you recall, two students entered the school with semi automatic pistols, rifles, two saw-off shotguns and more than 30 homemade bombs.  They killed twelve students and a teacher.  What causes such chronic delinquencies?


Researchers suggests chronic delinquent behavior is associated with multiple interacting risk factors that can be in part attributed to:


(a)            Ineffective Parenting

(b)           School Failure

(c)            Peer Influences or Pressure

(d)            Low Socioeconomic Status


Most juvenile delinquents grow up to be law-abiding citizens. 


Since juvenile delinquency has roots early in childhood, so must preventive efforts.


Programs that attack, at an early age, risk factors such as those listed above have had much success.



Enter supporting content here