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Marilyn DeFalco

on 4 December 2014

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Transcript of ADOLESCENCE

Ages: 13-19 YEARs

Erikson Developmental Stage: Adolescence (ages 13-19)
Psychosocial Crisis: Identity vs. Role Confusion
Major Question: Who am I?
Virtue: Fidelity
Influential Forces: Social relationships

Adolescence (ages 13-19) is a transitional state between childhood and adulthood
Children begin to become more independent and begin to develop a sense of self
Adolescents begin to formulate values, beliefs, and expectations, and think of their future in terms of education, career, starting a family, and where they may want to live
A primary developmental task for adolescents is to develop a sense of identity
Progress through this stage is contingent on progression through the previous life stages - how family and school experiences influenced the development of trust, autonomy, initiative, and industry
Identity is formed based on the outcome of these experiences, and is also influenced by childhood experiences, aspirations, and cultural values
Some factors of identity include religion, sex/gender, politics, ethnicity, and vocation
An identity crisis is a time of extensive analysis and exploration of different ways of looking at oneself


Erikson (cont)...

Adolescents want to belong in society and “fit in”; this transitional phase can cause confusion and insecurity
Adolescents may begin to feel conflicted about who they are and experiment with different roles and activities (such as trying different hair, clothing, and music styles)
This process of experimentation is important in the development of a strong identity, it is important that adolescents receive proper encouragement and reinforcement
Teens who are unable to explore their identity may experience identity diffusion or foreclosure
Feeling external pressure to assume a certain identity can lead to identity foreclosure, rebellion, unhappiness, or the development of a “negative identity” that goes against their prescribed identity
Few adolescents achieve a developed sense of identity - role confusion or foreclosure are common
Failure leads to a weak sense of self or role confusion, insecurity and confusion about future
Success in this stage leads to a well developed sense of identity, independence, and control
Success will also result in fidelity, which is described as the ability to live by society's standards and expectations
Critics of this theory say that at age 18 people are still going through identity moratoriam and that the best time to explore identity is early adulthood (ages 18-25)
Elkind - Adolescent Egocentrism

Egocentrism is defined as the inability to see a situation from another persons point of view
Formal operational thought allows adolescents to conceptualize their own thoughts as well as the thoughts of others, however early in this stage they have difficulty differentiating the thoughts of others from their own thoughts
Because of “physiological metamorphosis” occurring, adolescents are primarily concerned with themselves and tend to obsess over their own appearance and behavior
Due to the fact that they can’t differentiate their own thoughts from the thoughts of others they think that other people are just as obsessed with their appearance and behavior as they are
Often they react to an “imaginary audience” - if the adolescent is self-critical, the audience will be critical; if they are self-admiring, the audience will be admiring
Corresponding to the imaginary audience a “personal fable” is constructed, which is the belief that they are unique and special
The personal fable is a story the adolescent tells himself that isn’t true
Personal fables can lead to risk-taking behavior
For example, teen pregnancy may occur because while other people do become pregnant, they do not take precautions because they are special and it will not happen to them
Adolescent egocentrism tends to diminish by age 15-16 when formal operational thought is well developed
Bandura - Social Learning Theory

Social learning theory suggests that people learn social behavior from each other through observation, imitation, and modeling, and by being rewarded or punished
Adolescents learn from observing others behavior, attitudes, and consequence of their actions
Deviant behavior can be attributed to social learning
Social learning theory can be effective in teaching social, behavioral, and cognitive skills to children and youths; this can help to reduce problem behavior such as drug use and delinquency (Jenson, 2006).

Piaget - Cognitive Development

Adolescents are entering the Formal Operational stage of cognitive development
Teens are able to use abstract logic and conceptual thinking, combine and classify information, utilize higher order reasoning, and think creatively
Problem solving skills develop; adolescents are able to see more than one side of a problem
Adolescents can understand symbolic meanings, proverbs, and are able to test hypothesis'
Metacognition occurs during this stage - awareness of one's own thought processes
Adolescents exhibit deeper concern for social issues

Neurological growth continues into adolescence
The limbic system plays a key role in behavior and emotions
The prefrontal cortex controls executive function (determining good or bad, future consequences of present behavior, and impulse control)
Hormones affect development of limbic system
Prefrontal cortex grows with age and experience
The limbic system matures faster than the prefrontal cortex resulting in impulsive behavior
Certain chemicals can cause impulsive reactions that lead to risk taking and potential injury

Adolescents experience intense emotions and mood swings
Self-esteem is affected by both peers and parents
Low self-esteem is connected with drug use, disordered eating, and premature sex
These behaviors continued to lower self esteem
Feelings of sadness and anger are common during adolescence
Depression and rebellion can become issues; this is problematic for around 20% of teens
Clinical depression can manifest in adolescents (genetic or situational)
Depression more common in girls
Cognitive explanation for depression: rumination - “playing the tape” over and over can lead to sadness

Suicide attempts, substance abuse, and self-harm are risk factors for depressed teens
Risk of suicide attempt for heterosexual adolescents 8-13%, LGBT adolescents 30-40%
Adolescents have lower rates of suicide than adults, but higher rates of violent criminality
Many adolescents break the law, but for most this criminal behavior is restricted to adolescence
Some teens develop problems with delinquency that persist into adulthood
Adolescents are attracted to psychoactive drugs - many drink alcohol, and try cigarettes or marijuana
Some adolescents turn to harder drugs; using substances at younger age while the brain is still developing increases the chances of addiction
Uneven brain development explains why take irrational risks and enjoy intense sensory experiences

Puberty begins: sexual hormones are released and the body prepares for reproduction
Sexual hormones increase in both males and females, secondary sex characteristics develop
Combination of brain growth, social influences, and hormones leads to greater interest in sexual activity
Young people discover their sexual identities during adolescence; this is a common time for sexual exploration and experimentation to begin
Adolescents may not yet be clear about their sexual orientation or gender identity during their teenage years
Romances and sexual activities often begin in adolescence
Implications: unprotected sex, unplanned pregnancy, sexual abuse
Approximately 50% of US teens become sexually active
Among developed nations, the US has higher rates of teen pregnancy and less comprehensive sex education
Sexual activity has less to do with sex education and more to do with influences from peers, culture, and family
Cultural influences: "Teen Mom", "16 and Pregnant"
Pregnancy and birth during adolescence may lead to role confusion or identity foreclosure - motherhood redefines a woman's identity (loss of autonomy, identity, and independence after becoming a mother)
Teens may believe that early parenthood will help them gain love, acceptance, and independence
"For teen moms, who are naturally self-focused, attention on the baby or toddler can be a source of distress and frustration and can affect their ability to effectively nurture and care for their child" (Musick, 1993).
Instead of focusing on “Who am I?”, a teen mother may focus more on "Who cares about me?” “Whom can I trust?” “On whom can I depend?” or “Where can I feel secure, safe, and important?” (Musick, 1993).
If the adolescent focuses too much energy on resolving unmet dependency needs instead of the social and emotional tasks of adolescence, she may be unprepared for her role in society as an adult and mother

Body changes rapidly during adolescence, teens experience growth spurts
Adequate nutrition required for growth, often unhealthy diets of teens do not provide nutrition
Risk factors for obesity: poverty, poor eating habits, inactivity, genetics
Adolescents often feel discomfort with changes in their bodies until they are able to "grow into" these changes
This can lead to insecurity and distorted body image
Body dysmorphic disorder (characterized by a preoccupation with a nonexistent or slight defect in appearance) usually begins during adolescence
Common for eating disorders such as bulimia and anorexia to develop during this life stage which can impede physical and emotional development

Bio-psycho-social Development
Family can be described as immediate or extended relatives, but can also include other individuals who have an influence on the adolescent
Family history of the adolescent has a significant influence on how they behave, function, and relate to other people
Attachment experiences, family structure, relationship patterns, and genetic factors all have an impact on the health and well-being of teens
Family dynamics are interactions or patterns of relating between family members; this includes family alignments, hierarchies, roles, ascribed characteristics and patterns of interaction
Each family system and its dynamics are unique, although there are common patterns; all families have both positive and negative dynamics
Even if there is little or no current contact with family teenagers will continue to be influenced by previous dynamics
Family dynamics have a tremendous influence on adolescents’ worldview, as well as how they view themselves and others; they also influence their behaviors, relationships, and overall well-being
It is important to understand the impact of family dynamics on adolescents self-perception to better understand their needs
Some of the many influences on family dynamics include:
relationship between the parents or an absent parent
parenting styles (permissive, strict)
family attachments (secure or insecure)
number of children in the family
individual personalities
influence from extended family or others
events that have affected family members (affairs, divorce, unemployment, homelessness, trauma, death)
sexual abuse, domestic violence, substance abuse, mental health issues, physical or mental disabilities
family values, culture, ethnicity, beliefs about gender roles
family dynamics of previous generations (parents and grandparents)
social, economic, and political systems (including poverty and racism)

Adolescents attempt to establish their own identities and see themselves as separate from their parents
Despite rebellion, families continue to be influential
Adolescents seek autonomy but rely on parental support
Parents have effect on self-esteem and self-worth
Parent-child relationships affect adolescent substance abuse, depression, and the likelihood of sexual initiation
Culture can play a complex role in family dynamics and adolescent development
Some cultures do not recognize adolescence as a stage of development and believe that once puberty begins the child is ready to assume adult responsibilities (includes working, marriage/arranged marriage, starting a family)
This can put more pressure on teens whose peers may not have the same level of responsibility
Amish - Rumspringa
When assessing adolescents it is imperative to take into consideration the environment they reside in as well as their cultures and religious beliefs
It will be helpful to obtain a biopsychosocial assessment in order to take the proper procedures for assessment and engagement
Assessment of ADOLESCENTS:
Strengths and Risk factors
Adolescents are said to have mastered skills that are necessary for survival economically, acquire social tasks deemed for adults, and develop emotional independence from their parents/adults
Teens also learn to comprehend their culture’s values and ethical systems in-depth and gain knowledge of how to behave in a socially responsible matter based on their culture (Haight, 2013).
Some adolescents may not acquire the same skills because of poverty or victimization and those adolescents may have challenges trying to gain those skills to take part in a “mainstream society.”

"Adolescents are better able to think about hypothetical situations an abstract concepts such as: friendship, democracy and morality…. Furthermore, these changes have far-reaching effects on the adolescent’s ability to plan ahead, reason scientifically and consider moral dilemmas” (Haight, 2013).
Risk factors are any negative characteristics or behaviors that can be harmful to themselves or others
Risk factors can lead to role confusion and upheaval
Scholars that study adolescent behaviors refer to this as risk behaviors or problem behaviors; there is a distinction between behaviors which can be either due to internalizing problems or externalizing problems (Arnett, 2007).
Internalizing problems are problems that primarily affect a person’s internal world where and externalizing problems create difficulties in a person’s external world (Arnett, 2007).
Adolescent Risk Factors Include:

Substance use & abuse (drugs and/or alcohol), binge drinking, smoking
Delinquency/criminal behavior
Eating disorders (obesity, bulimia, anorexia nervosa and binge eating)
Driving recklessly and drunk driving
Suicide and self-harm
Running away from home
Impulsive behavior
Emotional/mood swings
Anger/Aggressive behavior
Tends to repeat their errors (Slomski, 2010)
Defiance towards authority (Mike Brown’s case)
Risky sexual behaviors and unprotected sex resulting pregnancies and STDs
Child abuse and neglect
Friends influence
Social media trends (salt and ice challenge, rubbing alcohol challenge etc)
Some adolescent strengths include:
Technology savvy
Devotion to friends
They are stronger and quicker in their reflexes; they can sometimes make faster, more efficient decisions than adults can (Slomski, 2010)
Detect and immediately correct errors (Slomski, 2010)
Assertive and adventurous (Santrock, 2005)
Not all teenagers experience these risk factors
“Not all teens have a huge appetite for taking risks or exploring novel situations” (Slomski, 2010).
“Teens attending a small-town high school where everyone knows one another may not feel the need to take the same risks to establish their reputation in the way that kids do if their social group are constantly changing” (Slomski, 2010).
Teens with developmental, mental and physical disabilities do not always experience these types of issues
“Jessor’s problem behavior theory presents a complex model including background factors such as family income, personality factors, such as self-esteem, and social factors such as parental controls and friends’ involvement in problem behaviors" (Arnett, 2007).
“An African-American child growing up in a middle-class family and suburb will have different opportunity and obstacles then her cousin growing up in an impoverished inner-city neighborhood" (Haight, 2013).

“Research has shown that teens derive much more pleasure from being with peers than do adults, and social interaction is extremely important to adolescents" (Slomski, 2010).
Societal trends that could affect adolescents include:

Drug and/or alcohol abuse
Sex/sexual orientation
Teen Pregnancy
Social injustice/oppression
Trauma (child abuse and neglect)
Family structure
Social media
Reality TV shows
Explicit Musical lyrics
societal trends
that may affect adolescents
Marcia expanded on Erikson's work and divided the identity crisis into four states, or processes that adolescents go through
All adolescents will experience one or more of these states
Progression through these states is not sequential, and not all adolescents will go through all states
The identity states are based on the adolescents search for or commitment to a true identity

The adolescent has no clear idea of their identity and is not making any attempt to explore or commit to an identity. This state can occur if the individual has struggled to find an identity, but this was never resolved so they are no longer trying. The teenager fails to set goals or aspirations and becomes apathetic about the search for identity

This involves a search for identity. Adolescents are in the midst of an “identity crisis” and are actively exploring alternatives. Commitments are either absent or poorly defined; they may begin to commit to an identity during this state but are still developing it

The adolescent has a well-defined self-concept and has developed personal values and aspirations. They have made a strong commitment to an identity that has developed from internal (as opposed to external) forces. It is thought that in order to reach the state of identity achievement an adolescent must go through an identity moratorium and explore several different identities and has chosen one that is a natural fit

The adolescent accepts the identity and values that were assigned to them during childhood by their families. During foreclosure, a commitment to an identity is made without exploring alternatives

Possible outcome of Foreclosure: Negative Identity

The adolescent assumes an identity that is the opposite of what their family or society wants and expects from them


As a social worker one must intervene in this level by providing immediate, direct interventions. While working with the youth one must recognizing Person in environment (PIE). The worker will utilize the change process for engagement, assessment, intervention and evaluation for improvements.

Strengths- find their strengths and build on it to provide confidence and increase self-esteem
Goals- Assist client to find and work on their aspirations to provide growth
Interpersonal skills- assist and aid in on pursuing communications or friendships with peers
Self-determination- allow client to discover whiten themselves what needs to be worked on
Support- assuring and/or reassuring, maintaining, establishing, empowering, mentoring, advocating and assisting for their needs
Provide therapy: Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) - recognizes depression, the goal is to help recognize the cognitive habits that are promoting depression and work to change
Diathesis-stress model- used for mental disorders, resulting from a combination of a diathesis (biological vulnerability) and environmental stresses.
Family- work with family (parents, siblings or anyone that are in the household and are close with the client friends)
School- work with school and school officials to maintain a communication; also, finding peer groups/after-school activities that may interest the adolescent this will help with the clients interpersonal skills
Church- if client has a worship place and/ or religion. Include their pastor or religious groups to help support
Recreational- suggest the client be involved in recreational sports or volunteer groups also help in interpersonal skills
Race & Ethnicity
According to Erik Erikson’s theory, stage five is identified as “Identity vs. Role Confusion. It is in this stage a teenager is questioning their identity
A teenager is in a stage where race is a may be factor “Am I white, black, Hispanic or Native American”
After I determined my race what is my ethnicity, Am I Russian, Italian, African American, Haitian, Puerto Rican, Dominican, etc.
What is my religion
What are my cultural norms i.e arranged marriage, role of male/woman, food, health and additional expectations

According to Webster's Dictionary, oppression is unjust or cruel exercise of authority or power; something that oppresses especially in being an unjust or excessive exercise of power; a sense of being weighed down in body or mind
Teenagers in the stage of Identity vs. Role Confusion can be affected by the outcome of oppression
Racism and discrimination also effects a teenager’s identity- Teenagers may have low self-esteem due to not be accepted by the majority or dominating race
Teenagers may have limited opportunity due to oppression, racism and discrimination
Labeling that is associated with specific race and ethnic origin can affect one’s identity
What is my parents income
Where do I live (home, rental property, low-income housing)
Does my family receive food stamps, welfare, TANF and Medicaid benefits


The US Constitution is set up to provide protection and justice
Human rights and social justice were designed to provide people with freedom and safety
In the most recent case, Michael Brown an unarmed, African American teenager was gunned down by a police officer. His assassin was not indicted on any charges

Cady Heron
16 year old caucasian female
Junior in High School
Recently moved to America after growing up in Africa
Previously homeschooled and depended on parents for support and validation
Friendly, polite, shy, naive, eager to make friends, easily manipulated
Sheltered, lacks appropriate social skills

Identity foreclosure - Commitment without exploration:
In Africa she had friends but adopted the values, beliefs, and lifestyle of her parents.

Mainstreamed into public school system
Bombarded with new culture, cliques, and adults who act hostile towards her
Cady was not accepted and nobody respected or paid any attention to her

Identity diffusion - Uncertainty
Cady experiences loss of identity when she is not accepted for who she is

progression through states of identity
Becomes friends with Janice and Damien, referred to as “Outcasts” and “Art Freaks”, Janice’s archrival is Regina, “Queen Bee” of the “Plastics”: an elite social clique at their school
Regina appears friendly to Cady until Cady expresses interest in Regina’s ex boyfriend Aaron and Regina targets Cady by winning him back
Janice convinces Cady to pretend to be “Plastic” to exact revenge on Regina
Cady begins to change her behavior and appearance to “fit in” with the plastics and gain social acceptance; Cady secretly likes being part of the Plastics and refers to it as “Girl World”
The plastics keep a “Burn Book” full of rumors and insults about classmates and Cady participates
Cady likes math because “its the same in every country”, and wants to join the “Mathletes” team; both the Outcasts and the Plastics inform her that joining the Mathletes was “social suicide”; Cady is unsure about wanting to identify herself as academic
Cady dumbs herself down to get the attention of a Regina’s boyfriend Aaron, failing math tests and asking him to tutor her in private
Cady works to expose Regina’s true nature to the other Plastics and was able to turn her friends against her; Cady assumes her new social status as “Queen Bee”
Cady throws a party to gain social acceptance and get Aaron alone, however her plan backfires
Cady misses Janices art show and Janice and Damien find out about her party; Cady tells Janice she had to “pretend to be Plastic”, but Janice accuses her of actually being plastic. Cady has lost her “real friends”
Regina makes the content of the Burn Book public and this causes an uproar within the Junior Class; Cady gains reputation as a “Mean Girl”

Identity Moratorium - Identity crisis, gradual exploration
Cady switches her identity many times to gain social acceptance and “fit in”
She experiences changes in her social role throughout the course of the film
Cady is rewarded with validation for adhering to social norms
Cady changes identity so much she begins to lose sense of self (example: believes she is pretending to be Plastic, while friends point out that she is Plastic)
Cady attempts to answer the question “Who am I?” Jungle Freak? Outcast? Plastic? Mathlete? Queen Bee?

Cady takes responsibility for what was written in the “Burn Book”
When Regina is hit by a bus, it was rumored that Cady had pushed her and she gained popularity
In the end, she participates in the Mathletes tournament and wins, and discovers that making fun of other people and ruining Regina’s life had not made her life any better
She is elected queen of the “Spring Fling”, and during her speech she earned the respect of her peers by giving away the crown
Cady encouraged everyone to look beyond “labels”
In the end, Cady is able to assume her identity as simply herself, with her true group of friends and embracing her popularity and academic achievement

Identity achievement - Commitment after exploration
Cady was able to try on many different identities until she was able to find one that suited her
Cady posessed the “ideal” qualities from several different groups
In the end, she realized who her true friends were and who she really was
Cady stopped trying to change her personality to “fit in” and gain social acceptance
As her identity developed, she embraced her role as someone “different”
Goes against social norms by being part of many groups
In the end, Cady refers to herself as "actual human being"

Identity themes:
Identity is assigned to you
Identity can be defined by personal actions and associations
Many teens adopt identities based on social expectations
Identity is fluid and can develop over time

Other ways that “Mean Girls” relates to adolescence:
Most characters are in the stage of adolescence
Social learning theory - girls observing and imitating other girls (clothing styles, diet, mannerisms, colloquialisms)
Conformity to societal views of beauty and attractiveness - praised for adhering to social norms
Stereotypes: portrayal of teen girls as cliquey, hypersexualized, materialistic, “catty”, gossipy, self-obsessed, seeking popularity
Values: popularity, attractiveness, wealth, social status, loyalty, equality

Some major ecological influences that affect adolescent development are peers, neighborhoods, and media
Other societal (or macro level) influences include gender inequality, religious or cultural beliefs, societal norms, social or economic policies
These influences can contribute to tensions between groups of people
Culture is very important - teens often go out of their way to adhere to social norms
Trends, Instant gratification, excess/abundance
Peers are of utmost importance during this stage
School is critical for adolescents in terms of socialization, developing self-efficacy, and building friendships.
Feeling “different” from peers can create a sense of distress and feelings that they “don’t belong”

Media - news, television, social media, celebrities
Celebrities - Reality TV, musicians
Example: Kendall & Kylie Jenner (oversexualized, drinking/clubbing)
Social Media - a forum for teens to express themselves and get validation from peers: “likes” & “followers” (youtube, instagram, facebook, snapchat)
Internet Celebrities - people (including other children and teens) are becoming “famous” by gaining followers on social media sites
Example: Bethany Mota - began a YouTube channel in 2009 at the age of 15 to deal with stress from bullying, eventually gained over 7 million followers and has now achieved mainstream success and recognition (she has her own clothing line, and was recently a contestant on reality TV series “Dancing with the Stars”)
While some teens seek recognition, other teens have achieved notoriety without seeking it (memes, trending, viral) Example: “Alex from Target”

Social class has a huge impact on development
Class consciousness increases during adolescence, this leads to the formation of cliques
Class can cause advantages or disadvantages
Example: Two teenagers with equal human capital (intelligence and ability)
Low-income urban youth: Attends public school with low funding and poor resources, few school or community extracurricular activities available, little or no support from family, reluctance to assume identity as an academic, may not attend college due to academic or financial reasons, may be forced to work lower paying job to support family, perpetuates cycle of poverty
High-income youth: Attends private school, enjoys extracurricular activity, receives support from family and tutors, explores identity, encouraged by peers to succeed, gains entry and scholarships to competitive colleges to pursue a fulfilling and/or lucrative career
Race and gender variables in education: minorities may be overlooked as scholars, girls may not be encouraged to pursue STEM careers
Affluence: privilege, entitlement
Poverty: delinquency, gang involvement
Community/neighborhood is also important, high crime areas can cause chronic stress and trauma
Issues in urban communities: School-to-prison pipeline

What is my role as a male or female
What if I am a male and would like a career in a female dominated industry
What if I am a female and would like a position in a male dominated industry
Females may experience oppression due to male privilege
Transgender/gender dysphoria

Marilyn DeFalco, Claire Philistin & Aneesah Dawson
Sexual Orientation
Uncertainty - common during adolescence
Will my sexuality be accepted if it’s not within cultural norms

"In no other order of things was adolescence the simple time of life for us. We clothed ourselves in rainbows and went 'brave as the zodiac,' flashing from one end of the world to the other. We tried on one face after another, searching for a face of our own. We wanted our parents to understand us and hoped they would give us the privilege of understanding them. We wanted to fly but found that first we had to stand and walk and climb and dance. In our most pimply and awkward moments we became acquainted with sex. We played furiously at adult games but were confined to a society of our own peers. Our generation was the fragile cable by which the best and the worst of our parents' generation were transmitted to the present. In the end, there were but two lasting bequests our parents could leave us - one being roots, the other wings."
Ways to intervene as a generalist social worker to improve social function:
Major institutions including: hospitals, board of education and possibly government offices
Referral process to different resources such as: agencies, mentoring programs, Out of treatment facilities or outpatient
Judicial/court system- if the adolescent is involved in the juvenile system, work with the lawyer, the judge and any other officials involved in their case
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