Chapter 12
Psychosocial Development in Adolescence
Erik Erikson (psychosocial development)     Adolescents seek to develop a coherent sense of self, including the role she or he is to play in society.  This is
acheived by synthesizing  earlier identifications into  a new psychological structure, greater than the sum of its parts.
Acheivement of identity is composed of 3 parts: Adolescents who resolve this crisis develop into adults who are satisfied with their identity, able to make
commitments to their job, their beliefs and other human beings (the virtue of "fidelity).  Adolescents who can't,
show role confusion and have difficulty achieving intimacy or personal satisfaction.

Marcia (1966) The development of identity status

Different model of identity development that has been empirically tested.  Suggests that identity development
depends on resolution of crises and the attendent commitment to life path that subsequently occurs.

identity status - states of ego development that depend on the presence or absence of crisis and commitment
identity status interview - 30 minute, semi-structured interview that assesses the presence or absence of crises
                                      and commitments

ego development state can be assessed by the presence or absence of 2 factors, crisis and commitment

    crisis - period of conscious decision making related to identity formation
    commitment - personal investment in an occupation or system of beliefs

 crisis - yes
crisis - no
 commitment - yes
identity achievement

commitment - no
identity diffusion


 Depending on where children are in working through these two factors leads to 4 observable patterns of  ego
development.  Most children will resolve both issues and move on into adulthood.

identity achievement - Adolescent has struggled to, and resolved issues of identity, and has made a commitment to
                                  a given life path.
moratorium - Adolescent is in the process of resolving issues of identity, will probably make a decision on a
                     life path
foreclosure - Adolescent has decided to follow a life path dictated by others (usually parents or guardians)

identity confusion - Adolescent has not considered identity issues, has no commitment towards any life path or goal

Elkind and the patchwork self (1998)

According to Elkind, there are two paths to identity:

    differentiation and integration - Becoming aware of one's own individuality, and then integrating these into a
                                                    unique, unified whole

    patchwork self - Constructing one's identity by accepting, in pieces, parts of a self-identity from diverse others.
                              Tends to lead to low self-esteem.

The bottom line -  all of these models seem to share the basic idea that the formation of the distinct identity in
adolescence is the internalization and synthesis of externally defined self-concepts into an integrated and unique
whole.  They all seem to share the same idea that the inability to develop an identity that is one's own is problematic.

Ethnicity and Identity, Phinney (1993)

Argued that development for minorities within a culture differ from those in the majority because of the need to
accommodate both the ethnic identity and the identity of the dominant culture.  In his model, development of the
self has four outcomes that depend on the ethnic identity and the achievement of acculturation with the dominant culture

 Ethnic Identity
Ethnic Identity 




Sexual Orientation and Identity

Homosexuality - Sexual orientation is toward the same sex.
Bisexuality - Sexual orientation is toward both the same sex and the other sex

Remafedi et al., 1992
Survey of 38,000 students from grades 7 through 12, 88% said they were heterosexual, 1% said they were
homosexual or bisexual, and 11% said they weren't sure.

Sexuality may be influenced by a complex process of hormonal and neurological factors

Adolescence and Rebellion

Adolescent Rebellion - A pattern of emotional turmoil, characteristic of a minority of adolescents, which may
involve conflict with family, alientation rom adult society, reckless behavior, and rejection of adults' values.

Research suggests that this adolescent "storm and stress" is not typical for adolescents.  While there is a high
level of bickering between parents and children during adolescents that revolves around the negotiation of the
emergence independence of teenagers, only a few really go through "adolescent rebellion".

    Offer & Offer, 1975
        15-25% of boys between ages 12 and 14 had significant conflict with parents

    Arnett, 1999
        Arguments typically focus on "how much" or "how soon".

    Barber, 1994
        Most arguments relate to day to day matters - chores, schoolwork, dreww, money, curfews, dating and friends

Instead, the major change in adolescence is the movement away from family and towards friends.  In a study of
220 white middle class suburban youngsters, the amount of time spent with family members declined from 35% to
18% from ages 10 to 18 (Larson, et al. 1997).

Juvenile deliquency - Antisocial behavior that is chronic (everybody does something stupid).  The hallmark of
delinquency is repeated antisocial acts.  Tends to peak around the age of 15 and then tapers off.

factors that are associated with delinquency.

1.) parental influence - Children whose emotional needs are not met by parents, or parents who engage in
      extremely harsh and inconsistent.

            authoritative parents - parents with deeply held convictions, and strong expectations about behavior.
                                            Although they have strong expectations concerning behavior, they take the time to
                                            listen to their kids and explain why they expect the things they expect. This parent
                                            will be more likely to be successful with their children.

            authoritarian parents - the "my way or the high way" parent.  Do not listen to kids and don't care if the
                                              kids understand or agree with their parenting choices.  This is less good

2.) peer groups - Children with behavior problems early in life are rejected by peers, and may congregate with
                        other rejected children, which then may goad one another into antisocial behavior.

3.)  neighborhoods - Delinquency tends to be concentrated in poor, overcrowded urban neighborhoods.
                                Probably not related to the neighborhood per se, but the factors that are common in these
                                neighborhoods (poor or absent parenting, poverty, drug abuse etc.)

Finally, the universal teenager... does he (or she) really exist??

Offer, et al., 1988
Asked children in 10 countries to answer questions about 5 aspects of themselves.

Found that children showed a great deal of commonality in 3 of the 5 selves (psychological and sexual not as great)

    9 in 10 children had ...
        positive feelings toward their parents
        valued work and friendship
        tried to learn from failure

gender differences crossed lines as well.

    In general boys were more...
        sure of themselves
        proud of their bodies
        more interested in sex
        more in control of their emotions

    girls were more...
        socially responsible
        committed to work and school