Odisha State Board CHSE Odisha Class 12 Psychology Solutions Unit 1 Long Answer Questions Part-3.
CHSE Odisha 12th Class Psychology Unit 1 Long Answer Questions Part-3
Long Questions With Answers
Notes on Piaget and Education.
Piaget’s theory has had a major impact on education, especially during early childhood. Three educational principles derived from his theory continue to have a widespread influence on teacher training and classroom practices:
In a Piagetian classroom, children are encouraged to discover for themselves through spontaneous interaction with the environment. Instead of presenting ready-made knowledge verbally, teachers provide a rich variety of activities designed to promote exploration-art materials, puzzles, table games, dress-up clothing, building blocks, books, measuring tools, musical instruments and more.
Sensitivity to children’s readiness to learn:
A Piagetian classroom does not try to speed up development. Instead, Piaget believed that appropriate learning experiences build on children’s current thinking. Teachers watch and listen to their students, introducing experiences that enable them to practice newly discovered schemes and that are likely to challenge their incorrect ways of viewing the world. But teachers do not impose new skills before children indicate they are interested and ready.
Acceptance of individual differences:
Piaget’s theory assumes that all children go through the same sequence of development, but at different rates. Therefore, teachers must plan activities for individual children and small groups rather than just for the whole class. In addition, teachers evaluate educational progress by comparing each child to that child’s own previous development. They are less interested in how children measure up to normative standards, dr the average performance of same-age peers.
Discuss the Erikson’s theory: Initiative Versus Guilt.
Erikson described early childhood as a period of‘ ‘vigorous unfolding.” Once children have a sense of autonomy, they become less contrary than they were as toddlers. Their energies are freed for tackling the psychological conflict of the preschool years: initiative versus guilt. As the word initiative suggests, young children have a new sense of purposefulness. They are eager to tackle new tasks, join in activities with peers and discover what they can do with the help of adults. And they also make strides in conscience development.
Erikson’s regarded play as a central means through which young children find out about themselves and their social world. Play permits preschoolers to try out new skills with little risk of criticism and failure. It also creates a small social organization of children who must cooperate to achieve common goals. Around the world, children act out family scenes and highly visible occupations-police officer, doctor and nurse. It is known Erikson’s theory builds on Freud’s psychosexual stages. In Freud’s well-known.
Oedipus and Electra conflicts, to avoid punishment and maintain the affection of parents, children form a superego, or conscience, by identifying with the same-sex parent. That is, they take the parent’s characteristics into their personality and as a result, adopt the moral and gender-role standards of their society. Each time the child disobeys standards of conscience, painful feelings of guilt occur.
For Erikson, the negative outcome of early childhood is an overly strict superego that causes children to feel too much guilt because they have been threatened, criticized, and punished excessively by adults. When this happens, preschoolers’ exuberant play and bold efforts to master new tasks break down. Although Freud’s Oedipus and Electra conflicts are no longer regarded as satisfactory explanations of conscience development.
Erikson’s image of initiative captures the diverse changes in young children’s emotional and social lives. The preschool years are, indeed, a time when children develop a confident self-image, more effective control over their emotions, new social skills, the foundations of morality and a clear sense of themselves as boy or girl.
What Makes Authoritative Child Rearing So Effective?
Authoritative child-rearing seems to create an emotional context for positive parental influence. First, warm, involved parents who are secure in the standards they hold for their children provide models of caring concern as well as confident,’ self-controlled behavior. Second, control that appears fair and reasonable to the child, not arbitrary, is far more likely to be complied with and internalized.
Finally, authoritative parents make demands and engage in autonomy granting that fits with their children’s ability to take responsibility for their own behavior. As a result, these parents let children know that they are competent individuals who can do things successfully for themselves, thereby fostering high self-esteem and cognitive and social maturity.
Characteristics of Adolescence.
Like every important period during the life span, adolescence has certain characteristics that distinguish it from the periods that preceded it and the periods that will follow it. These characteristics are explained briefly below.
Adolescence is an important period:
As all periods in the life span are important, some are more important than others because of their immediate effects on attitudes and behavior, whereas others are significant because of their long-term effects. Adolescence is one of the periods when both the immediate effects and long-term effects are important. Some periods are important for their physical and some for their psychological effects. Adolescence is important for both. Accompanying these rapid and important physical developments, especially during the early adolescent period, rapid mental developments occur. These give rise to the need for mental adjustments and the necessity for establishing new attitudes, values and interests.
Adolescence is a transitional period:
Transition does not mean a break with or a change from what has gone before but rather a passage from one stage of development to another. This means that what has happened before will leave its mark on what happens now and in the future. Children, when they go from childhood to adulthood, must “put away childish things” and they must also learn new patterns of behavior and attitudes to replace those they have abandoned. However, it is important to realize that what happened earlier has left its mark and will influence these new patterns of behavior and attitudes.
The psychic structure of the adolescent has its roots in childhood and many of its characteristics that are generally considered as typical of adolescence appear and are already present during late childhood. The physical changes that take place during the early years of adolescence affect the individual’s behavioral level and lead to reevaluations and a shifting adjustment of values. During any transitional period, the individual’s status is vague and there is confusion about the roles the individual is expected to play.
The adolescent, at this time, is neither a child nor an adult. If adolescents behave like children, they are told to “act their age.” If they try to act like adults, they are often accused of being “too big for their behaviors” and are reproved for their attempts to act like adults. On the other hand, the ambiguous status of today’s adolescents is advantageous in that it gives them time to try out different lifestyles | and decide what patterns of behavior, values, and attitudes meet their needs best.
Adolescence is a period of change:
The rate of change in attitudes and behavior during adolescence parallels the rate of physical change. Dining early adolescence, when physical changes are rapid, changes in attitudes and behavior are also rapid. As physical changes slow down, so do altitudinal and behavioral changes.
There are five almost universal concomitants of the changes that occur during adolescence.
- The first is heightened emotionality, the intensity of which depends on the rate at which the physical and psychological changes are taking place. Because these changes normally occur more rapidly during early adolescence, heightened emotionality is generally more pronounced in early than in late adolescence.
- Second, the rapid changes that accompany sexual maturing make young adolescents unsure of themselves, of their capacities and of their interests. They have strong feelings of instability which are often intensified by the ambiguous treatment they receive from parents and teachers.
- Third, changes in their bodies, their interests, and in the roles the social group expects them to play create new problems.To young adolescents, these may seem more numerous and less easily solved than any they have had to face before. Until they have solved their problems to their satisfaction, they will be preoccupied with them and with themselves.
- Fourth, as interests and behavior patterns change, so do values. What was important to them as children seems less important to them now that they are near adults. For example, most adolescents no longer think that a large number of friends is a more important indication of popularity than friends of the type that are admired and respected by their peers. They now recognize quality as more important than quantity.
- Fifth, most adolescents are ambivalent about changes. While they want and demand independence, they often dread the responsibilities that go with independence and Q their ability to cope with these responsibilities.
Adolescence is a Problem Age:
While every age has its problems, those of adolescence are often especially difficult for boys and girls to cope with. There are two reasons for this. First, throughout childhood, their problems were met and solved, in part at least, by parents and teachers. As a result, many adolescents are inexperienced in coping with problems alone. Second, because adolescents want to feel that they are independent, they demand the right of coping with their own problems, rebuffing attempts on the part of parents and teachers to help them.
Because of their inability to cope with problems alone as well as they believe they can, many adolescents find that the solutions do not always come up to their expectations. As Anna Freud has explained, “Many failures, often with tragic consequences in these respects, are due not to the individual’s incapacity as such but merely to the fact that such demands are made on him at a time in life when all his energies are engaged otherwise, namely, in trying to solve the major problem created for him by normal sexual growth and development”.
Adolescence is a Time of Search for Identity:
Throughout the gang age of late childhood, conformity to group standards, is far more important to older children than individuality. As was pointed out earlier, in dress, speech, and behavior older children want to be as nearly like their gang-mates as possible. Any deviation from the group standard is likely to be a threat to group belonging. In the early years of adolescence, conformity to the group is still important to boys and girls. Gradually, they begin to crave identity and are no longer satisfied to be like their peers in every respect, as they were earlier.
However, the ambiguous status of the adolescent in the Indian culture of today presents a dilemma that greatly contributes to the adolescent “identity crisis” or the problem of ego identity. The ways adolescents try to establish themselves as individuals is by the use of status symbols in the form of cars, clothes, hand-held music systems, mobile phones, net chat and other readily observable material possessions. They hope, in this way, to attract attention to them and to be recognized as individuals while, at the same time, maintaining their identity with the peer group.
Adolescence is a Dreaded Age:
Many popular beliefs about adolescents have definite evaluative connotations and unfortunately, many of them are negative. Acceptance of the cultural stereotype of teenagers as sloppy, unreliable individuals who are inclined toward destructiveness and antisocial behavior has led many adults who must guide and supervise the lives of young adolescents to dread this responsibility and to be unsympathetic in their attitudes toward, and treatment of, normal adolescent behavior.
Popular stereotypes have also influenced the self-concepts and attitudes of adolescents toward themselves. The cultural stereotypes have also functioned as mirrors held up to the adolescent by society reflecting an image of himself that the adolescent gradually comes to regard as authentic and according to which he shapes his behavior. The acceptance of this stereotype and the belief that adults have poor opinions of them make the transition into adulthood difficult. By so doing, it leads to much friction with their parents and places a barrier between them and their parents which prevents them from turning to their parents for help in solving their problems.
Adolescence is a Time of Unrealism:
Adolescents have a tendency to look at life through rose-tinted glasses. They see themselves and others as they would like them to.be rather than as they are. This is especially true of adolescent aspirations. These unrealistic aspirations, not only for themselves but also for their families and friends, are, in part, responsible for the heightened emotionality characteristic of early adolescence.
The more unrealistic their aspirations are, the more angry, hurt, and disappointed they will be when they feel that others have let them down or that they have not lived up to the goals they set for themselves. With increased personal and social experiences and with increased ability to think rationally, older adolescents see themselves, their families and friends, and life in general in a more realistic way: As a result, they suffer less from disappointment and disillusionment than they did when they were younger.
This is one of the conditions that contribute to the greater happiness of the older adolescent. As adolescence draws to a close, it is not uncommon for both boys and girls to be plagued by over-idealism of the single, carefree life that they will soon give up as they achieve the status of adults. Feeling that this period of their lives is happier than what they will face in adulthood, with its demands and responsibilities, there is a tendency to glamorize adolescence and to feel that a happy, carefree age has been lost forever.
Adolescence is the Threshold of Adulthood:
As adolescents approach legal maturity, they are anxious to shed the stereotype of teenagers and to create the impression that they are near adults. Dressing and acting like adults, are hot always enough. So, they begin to concentrate on behavior that is associated with the adult status-smoking, drinking, using drugs and engaging in sex, for example. They believe that this behavior will create the image they desire.
Developmental tasks of adolescence.
All the developmental tasks of adolescence are focused on overcoming childish attitudes and behavior patterns and preparing for adulthood. The developmental tasks of adolescence require a major change in the child’s habitual attitudes and patterns of behavior. Consequently, few boys and girls can be expected to master them during the years of early adolescence. This is especially true of late maturers.
The most that can be hoped is that the young adolescent will lay the foundations on which to build adult attitudes and behavior patterns. A brief survey of the important developmental tasks of adolescence will serve to illustrate the extent of the changes that must be made and the problems that arise from these changes.
Fundamentally, the necessity for mastering the developmental tasks in the relatively short time that adolescents have, as a result of lowering the age of legal maturity to eighteen, is the reason for much of the stress that plagues many adolescents.
It may be difficult for adolescents to accept their physiques if, from earliest childhood, they have a glamorized concept of what they wanted to look like when they are grown up. It takes time to revise this concept and to learn ways to improve their appearance so that it will conform more to their earlier ideals. Acceptance of the adult-approved sex role is not too difficult for boys; they have been encouraged in this direction since early childhood.
But for girls, who as children were permitted or even encouraged to play an egalitarian role, learning what the adult-approved feminine role is and accepting it is often a major task requiring many years of adjustment. Because of the antagonism toward members of the opposite sex that often develops during late childhood and puberty, learning new relationships with members of the opposite sex actually means starting from scratch to discover what they are like and how to get along with them. Even developing new, more mature relationships with age-mates of the same sex may not be easy.
Achieving emotional independence from parents and other adults would seem, for the independence-conscious adolescent, to be an easy developmental task. However, emotional independence is not the same as independence of behavior. Many adolescents who want to be independent want and need the security that emotional dependence on their parents or some other adults gives. This is especially true for adolescents whose status in the peer group is insecure or who lack a close tie with a member of the peer group.
Economic independence cannot be achieved until adolescents choose an occupation and prepare for it. If they select an occupation that requires a long period, of training, there can be no assurance of economic independence even when they reach legal adulthood. They may have to remain economically dependent for several years until their training for their chosen vocations has been completed.
Schools and colleges put emphasis on developing intellectual skills and concepts necessary for civic competence. However, few adolescents are able to use these skills and concepts in practical situations. Those who are active in the extracurricular affairs of their schools and colleges get such practice, but those who are not active in this way because they must take after-school jobs or because they are not accepted by their peers are deprived of this opportunity.
Schools and colleges also try to build values that are in harmony with those held by adults; parents contribute to this development. When, however, the adult-fostered values clash with peer values, adolescents must choose the latter if they want the peer acceptance on which their social life depends. Closely related to the problem of developing values in harmony with those of the adult world the adolescent is about to enter is the task of developing socially responsible behavior.
Most adolescents want to be accepted by their peers, but they often gain this acceptance at the expense of behavior that adults consider socially irresponsible. If, for example, it is the “thing to do” to cheat or to help a friend during an examination, the adolescent must choose between adult and peer standards of socially responsible behavior. The trend toward earlier marriages has made preparation for marriage one of the most important developmental tasks of the adolescent years.
While the gradual relaxing of social taboos on sexual behavior has gone a long way toward preparing adolescents of today for the sexual aspects of marriage, they receive little preparation-at home, in school, or in college-for the other aspects of marriage and even less preparation for the duties and responsibilities of family life. This lack of preparation is responsible for one of the major pieces of “unfinished business” which the adolescent carries into adulthood.
Physical changes during adolescence.
Growth is not complete when puberty ends,.nor is it entirely complete at the end of early adolescence. However, there is a slowdown of the pace of growth and there is more marked internal than external development. This cannot be so readily observed or identified as growth in height and weight or the development of secondary sex characteristics.
Variations in Physical Changes:
Like all ages, there are individual differences in physical changes. Sex differences are especially apparent. Even though boys start their growth spurt later than girls, their growth continues longer, with the result that, at maturity, they are usually taller than girls. Because boys’ muscles grow larger than girls’ muscles, at all ages after puberty boys surpass girls in strength, and this superiority increases with age.
Individual differences are also influenced by age of maturing. Late maturers tend to have slightly broader shoulders than those who mature early. The legs of early-maturing boys and girls tend to be stocky; those of late maturers tend to be more slender. Early-maturing girls weigh more, are taller, and have greater weight for their height than do late-maturing girls.
Effects of Physical Changes:
As physical changes slow down, the awkwardness of puberty and early adolescence generally disappear. This is because older adolescents have had time to gain control of their enlarged bodies. They are also motivated to use their newly acquired strength and this further helps them to overcome any awkwardness that appeared earlier.
Because strength follows growth in’ muscle size, boys generally show their greatest increase in strength after age fourteen, while girls show improvement up to this age and then lag, owing more to changes in interests than to lack of capacity. Girls generally attain their maximum strength at about seventeen, while boys do not attain their maximum strength until they are twenty-one or twenty-two.
Concerns about Physical Changes:
Few adolescents experience body-cathexis or satisfaction with their bodies. However, they do experience more dissatisfaction with some parts of their bodies than with other parts. This failure to experience body-cathexis is one of the causes of unfavorable self¬concepts and lack of self-esteem during the adolescent years. Some of the concerns adolescents have about their bodies are carry-overs of concerns they experienced during puberty and which, in the early years of adolescence, are based on conditions that still prevail.
Concern about normalcy, for example, will persist until the physical changes on the surface of the body have been completed and adolescents can be sure that their bodies conform to the norms for their sex groups. Similarly, concern about sex appropriateness, so all-pervading in puberty, continues until the primary and secondary sex characteristics have completed their growth and development and, thus, give adolescents an opportunity to. see if their bodies conform to the cultural standard of sex-appropriateness.
Awareness of social reactions to different body builds leads to concern in adolescents whose changing bodies fail to conform to the culturally approved standards. Knowing that social reactions to endomorphic builds in both boys and girls are less favorable than they are to ectomorphic and mesomorphic -builds leads to concern on the part of adolescents whose body builds tend toward endomorphy. For many girls, menstruation is a serious concern. This is because they suffer physical discomforts such as cramps, weight gain, headaches, backaches, swollen ankles and breast tenderness and experience emotional changes, such as mood swings, depression, restlessness, depression, and a tendency to cry without apparent reason.
Because menstruation is commonly referred to as “the curse,” it is not surprising that this unfavorable social reaction will color girls’ attitudes. Furthermore, knowing that boys do not experience any such form of physical discomfort also colors girls’ attitudes – unfavorably and encourages them to believe that they are martyrs.
Acne and other skin eruptions are a source of concern to both boys and girls. With the increase in the severity of acne, there is an increase in concern.
This concern is often as great for boys, as for girls because they realize that acne mars their chances for physical attractiveness and because they cannot use cosmetics to cover it up as girls can. The tendency toward obesity that plagues most pubescent boys and girls continues to be a source of concern during the early adolescent years. In most cases, however, with increase in height and with efforts to control their appetites and the eating of “junk food,” older adolescents start to slim down and look less obese than they did during the puberty fat period.
In addition, careful selection of clothing helps to create tb; illusion that they are more slender than they actually are. It is unusual for adolescents, boys or girls, not to be concerned about their physical attractiveness. Few are satisfied with their appearance and many are concerned about what they can do to improve it. The reason for concern comes from the realization of the role attractiveness plays in social relationships. Adolescents realize, even more than children do, that people treat those who are attractive more favorably than they do those who are less attractive. They are also aware of the important role attractiveness -plays in the choice for leadership.
Consequently, when they feel that they are less attractive than they had hoped to be when their growth was complete or nearly complete, they are concerned about what they can do to improve their looks. Few adolescents escape being “looks-conscious” to the point where they spend proportionally more time and thought on how to improve their looks than most adults consider justified.
At adolescence, young people first become capable of hypothetico-deductive reasoning; When faced with a problem, they start with a general theory of all possible factors that might affect the outcome and deduce from it specific hypotheses (or predictions) “ about what might happen. Then they test these hypotheses in an orderly fashion to see which ones work in the real World. Notice how this form of problem-solving begins with possibility and proceeds to reality. In contrast, concrete operational children start with reality-with the most obvious predictions about a situation. When these are not confirmed, they cannot think of alternatives and fail to solve the problem.
Adolescents’ performance on Piaget’s famous pendulum problem illustrates this new approach. Suppose we present several school-age children and adolescents with strings of different lengths, objects of different weights to attach to the strings and a bar from which to hang the strings. Then we ask each of them to figure out what influences the speed with which a pendulum swings through its arc.
Formal operational adolescents come up with four hypotheses:
- the length of the string,
- the weight of the object hung on it,
- how high the object is raised before it is released and
- how forcefully the object is pushed.
Then, by varying one factor at a time while holding all the others constant, they try out each possibility. Eventually, they discover that only string length makes a difference.
In contrast, concrete operational children experiment unsystematically. They cannot separate the effects of each variable. They may test for the effect of string length without holding weight constant, comparing, for example, a short, light pendulum with a long, heavy one. Also, school-age children fail to notice variables that are not immediately suggested by the concrete materials of the task-the height at which and forcefulness with which the pendulum is released.
What is Propositional Thought in adolescence?
A second important characteristic of the formal operational stage is propositional thought. Adolescents can evaluate the logic of propositions without referring to real-world circumstances. In contrast, children can evaluate the logic of statements only by considering them against concrete evidence in the real world. In a study of propositional reasoning, a researcher showed children and adolescents a pile of tokens (plastic round coins) and asked whether statements about the tokens were t true, false, or uncertain.
In one condition, the researcher hid a token in her hand and presented the following propositions: “Either the token in my hand is green or it is not green:’ “The token in my hand is green and it is not green.” In another condition, the experimenter held either a red or a green token in full view and made the same statements.
School-age children focused on the concrete properties of the tokens. When the token was hidden from view, they replied that they were uncertain about both statements. When it was visible, they judged both statements to be true if the token was green and false if it was red.
In contrast, adolescents analyzed the logic of the statements. They understood that the “either-or” statement is always true and the “and” statement is always false, regardless of the poker token’s color. Although Piaget did not view language as playing a central role in children’s cognitive development, he acknowledged it is more important in adolescence. Abstract thought requires language-based systems of representation that do not stand for real things, such as those in higher mathematics. Secondary school students use these systems in algebra and geometry.
Social changes during adolescence.
The most difficult developmental tasks of adolescence relates to social adjustments. These adjustments must be made to members of the opposite sex in a relationship that never existed before and to adults outside the family and school environments. To achieve the goal of adult patterns of socialization, the adolescent must make many new adjustments* the most important and, in many respects, the most difficult of which are those to the increased influence of the peer group, changes in social behavior, new social groupings, new values in friendship selection, new values in social acceptance and rejection and new values in the selection of leaders.
Increased Peer-Group Influence:
Because adolescents spend most of their time outside the home with members of the peer group, it is understandable that peers would have a greater influence on adolescent attitudes, speech, interests, appearance and behavior than the family has. Most adolescents, for example, discover that if they wear the same type of clothes as popular group members wear, their chances of acceptance are enhanced. Similarly, if members of the peer group experiment with alcohol, drugs, or tobacco, adolescents are likely to do the same, regardless of how they feel about these matters.
As adolescence progresses, peer-group influence begins to wane. There are two reasons for this. First, most adolescents want to become individuals in their own right and to be recognized as such. The search for identity discussed earlier in this chapter, weakens the influence of the peer group on the adolescent. The second reason for waning of peer-group influence is the result of the adolescent’s choice of peers as companions.
No longer are adolescents interested in large group activities, as was true during their childhood days. In adolescence, there is a tendency to narrow down friendships to smaller numbers though most adolescents want to belong to larger social groups for social activities. Because these social activities are less meaningful to adolescents than close, personal friendships, the influence of the larger social group becomes less pronounced than the influence of friends.
Changes in Social Behavior:
Of all the changes that take place in social attitudes and behavior, the most pronounced is in the area of heterosexual relationships. In a short period of time, adolescents make the radical shift from disliking members of the opposite sex to preferring their companionship to that of members of their own sex. Social activities, whether with members of the same sex or with the Opposite sex, usually reach their peak during the high-school years. As a result of broader opportunities for social participation, social insight improves among older adolescents. They are now able to judge members of the opposite sex as well as members of their own sex better than they could when they were younger. As a result, they make better adjustments in social situations and they quarrel less.
The greater the social participation of adolescents, the greater their social competency, as seen in their ability to dance, to canyon conversations, to play sports and games that are popular with agemates and to behave correctly in different social situations. As a result, they gain self-confidence which is expressed in poise and ease in social situations. Whether prejudice and discrimination will increase or decrease during adolescence will be greatly influenced by the environment in which adolescents find themselves and by the attitudes and behavior of their friends and associates.
Because adolescents, as a group, tend to be more “choosey” in the selection of associates and friends than they were as children, they find adolescents of different racial, religious, or socioeconomic backgrounds less congenial than those with similar backgrounds. However, they are more likely to ignore those they find uncongenial than to treat them in a way that expresses their feelings of superiority, as older children do.
New Social Groupings:
The gangs of childhood gradually break up at puberty and during early adolescence as the individual’s interests shift from the strenuous play activities of childhood tb the less strenuous and more formal social activities of adolescence. In their place come new social groupings. The social groupings Of boys as a rule are larger and more loosely knit while those of girls are smaller and more sharply defined.
The most common social groupings during adolescence are described below:
- Close Friends:
The adolescent usually has two or three close friends, or confidants. They are of the same sex and have similar interests and abilities. Close friends have a marked influence on one another, though they may quarrel occasionally.
Cliques are usually made up of groups Of close friends. At first they consist of members of the same sex, but later include both boys and girls.
Crowds made up of cliques and groups of close friends, develop as interest in parties and dating grows. Because crowds are large, there is less congeniality of interest among the members and thus a greater social distance between them.
- Organized Groups:
Adult-directed youth groups are established by schools and community organizations to meet the social needs of adolescents who belong to no cliques or crowds. Many adolescents who join such groups feel regimented and lose interest in them by the time they are sixteen or seventeen.
Adolescents who belong to no cliques or crowds and who gain little satisfaction from organized groups may join a gang. Gang members are usually of the same sex and their main interest is to compensate for peer rejection through antisocial behavior. There are changes in some of these social groupings as adolescence progresses. Interest in organized groups, whose activities are planned and to a large extent controlled by adults, wanes rapidly as independence-conscious adolescents present being told what to do. Only if the control of the activities of these groups is turned over to them, with minimum of adult advice and interference, will interest continue. Crowds tend to disintegrate in late adolescence and are replaced by loosely associated groups of couples. This is especially true of adolescents who go to work at the completion of high school.
At work they are in contact with people, of all ages, most of whom have friends and families of their own outside their jobs. Unless noncollege older adolescents have friends from their school days who live and work near enough to make contacts possible they may find themselves limited to a few friends connected with their work and out of touch with any group large enough to form a crowd. By contrast, the influence of the gang tends to increase as adolescence progresses. This influence is often expressed in violent behavior committed by gang members.
Adolescents want as friends those whose interests and values are similar to theirs, who understand them and make them feel secure and in whom they can confide problems and discuss matters they feel they cannot share with parents or teachers. Most adolescents claim they want “someone to be trusted, someone to talk to and someone who is dependable”. Because of these changed values, childhood friends will not necessarily be friends in adolescence. Nor are adolescents interested only in friends of their own sex. Interest in the opposite sex becomes increasingly stronger as adolescence progresses. As a result, by the end of adolescence, there is often a preference for friends of the opposite sex, though both boys and girls continue to have a few intimate friends of their own sex with whom they associate constantly.
What is Erikson’s theory: Identity versus Identity confusion?
Erikson was the first to recognize identity as the major or personality achievement of adolescence and as a crucial step toward becoming a productive, happy adult. Constructing an identity involves defining who you are, what you value and the directions you choose to pursue in life. One expert described it as an explicit theory of oneself as a rational agent-one who acts on the basis of reason, takes responsibility for those actions, and can explain them.
This search for what is true and real about the self is the driving force behind many new commitments to sexual orientation; a vocation; interpersonal relationships; community involvement; ethnic group membership and moral, political, religious and cultural ideals. Erikson called the psychological conflict of adolescence identity versus identity confusion. Successful outcomes of earlier stages paves the way to its positive resolution.
Young people who reach adolescence with a weak sense of trust have trouble finding ideals to have faith in. Those with little autonomy or initiative do not engage in the active exploration required to choose among alternatives. And those who lack a sense of industry fail to select a vocation that matches their interests and skills.
Although the seeds of identity formation are planted early, not until adolescence do young people become absorbed in this task.
According to Erikson, in complex societies, teenagers experience an identity crisis—a temporary period of confusion and distress as they experiment with alternatives before settling on values and goals. Adolescents who go through a process of inner soul-searching eventually arrive at a mature identity. They sift through characteristics that defined the self in childhood and combine them with new commitments.
Then they mold these into a solid inner core that provides a sense of stability as they move through different roles in daily life. Once formed, identity continues to be refined in adulthood as people reevaluate earlier commitments and choices. Current theorists agree with Erikson that Qing of values, plans and priorities is necessary for a mature identity, but they no longer refer to this process as a “crisis”. For some young people, identity development is traumatic and disturbing, but for most it is not.
Exploration better describes the typical adolescent’s gradual, uneventful approach to identity formation. By trying out various life possibilities and moving toward making enduring decisions, young people forge an organized self-structure. Erikson described the negative outcome of adolescence as identity confusion. Some young people appear shallow and directionless, either because earlier conflicts have been resolved negatively or because society restricts their choices to ones that do not match their abilities and desires.
As a result, they are unprepared for the psychological challenges of adulthood. For example, individuals find it difficult to risk the self-sharing involved in
Erikson’s young adult stage-intimacy-if they do not have a firm sense of self (an identity) to which they can return.
What is adulthood?
The word adult comes from the same Latin verb as the term adolescence-adolescere which means “to grow to maturity!” However, the word adult is derived from the past participle of the verb-adults -which means “grown, to full size and strength” or “matured.” Adults are, therefore, individuals who have completed their growth and are ready to assume their status in society along with other adults.
Various cultures have different ages at which children reach the adult status or the age of legal maturity, in most of the older cultures, they reached this status when their puberty growth was complete or nearly complete and when their sex organs had developed to the point where they were capable of procreation. Until recently, children were not considered legally adults until they reached the age of twenty-one years.
Characteristics of early adulthood.
Early adulthood is a period of adjustments to new patterns of life and new social expectations. The young adult is expected to play new roles, such as that of spouse, parent, and breadwinner, and to develop new attitudes, interests and values in keeping with these new roles. These adjustments make early adulthood a distinctive period in the life span and also a difficult one.
It is especially difficult because, until now, most boys and girls have had someone’s parents, teachers, friends or others to help them make the adjustments they are faced with. Now, as adults, they are expected to make these adjustments for themselves. To avoid being considered “immature,” they hesitate to turn to others for advice and help when they find the adjustments too difficult to cope with successfully alone.
Early Adulthood is the “Settling-down Age”:
Childhood and adolescence are the periods of “growing up” and adulthood is the time for “settling down:” In past generations, it was assumed that when boys and girls reached the age of legal maturity, their days of carefree freedom were over and the time had come to settle down and assume the responsibilities of adult life. That meant settling into a line of work that would be the man’s career for the rest of his life, while the young woman was expected to assume the responsibilities of homemaker and mother- responsibilities that would be hers for the remainder of her life.
Today, it is recognized that “settling down” too early is often laying the foundations for discontent because of too early choices of careers or life-mates. Consequently, many young men try out different lines of work to see which meets their needs best and which will bring them lifelong satisfaction. While trying out different lines of work, many young men also try out different women to find out if they have the qualities they want for a lifelong spouse.
This trying out of different life patterns and different individuals to share their life patterns takes time. Consequently, young adults today usually start to settle down late than their parents did and much later than their grandparents did. The average adult of today has chosen a lifestyle and an individual to share that lifestyle by the early thirties, though many do so before then.
When adults of today start to settle down depends upon two factors. First, how soon they are able to find a lifestyle that meets their needs then and which they believe will meet their needs throughout life. A woman, who, since the days she played with dolls always wanted to be a wife and mother, will not need long after completing her education to choose these occupations as her life roles.
Similarly, a man who never wanted to be anything but a doctor will not have to go through the trial-and-error process to find a career that meets his needs as will his friends who frankly claimed, as Ijoys, that they did not know what they wanted to do when they reached the end of their schooling.
Early Adulthood Is the “Reproductive Age”:
Parenthood is one of the most important roles in the lives of most young adults. Those who were married during the latter years of adolescence concentrate on the role of. parenthood during their twenties and early thirties; some become grandparents before early adulthood ends. Those who do not marry until they have completed their education or have started their life careers do not become parents until they feel they can afford to have a family. This is often not until the early thirties. Also, if women want to pursue careers after marriage, they may put off having children until their thirties. For them, then, only the last decade of early adulthood is the “reproductive age.” For those who begin to have children early in adulthood or even in the closing years of adolescence and have large families, all of early adulthood is likely to be a reproductive age.
Early Adulthood is a “Problem Age”:
The early adult years present many new problems, different in their major aspects, from the problems experienced in the earlier years of life. With the lowering of the age of legal maturity to eighteen years, young adults have been confronted with many problems they are totally unprepared to cope with. While they are now able to vote, to own property, to marry without parental consent, and to do many things young people could not do when the age of legal maturity was twenty-one years, there is no Q about the fact that “this new-found freedom is creating unforeseen problems for the youthful adults and often for their parents, too”.There are many reasons why adjustment to the problems of adulthood is so difficult.
Three are especially common. First, very few young people have had any preparation for meeting the types of problems they are expected to cope with as adults. Education in high school and college provides only limited training for jobs, and few schools or colleges give courses in the common problems of marriage and parenthood. Even those who have had babysitting experience have limited preparation for parenthood because most babysitters are hired only for short times when parents are out of the home and their major responsibility is to keep the children safe and happy until the parents return. Second, just as trying to learn two or more skills simultaneously usually results in not learning any one of them well, so trying to adjust to two or more new roles simultaneously usually results in a poor adjustment to all of them.
It is difficult for a young adult to deal with the choice of a career and the choice of a mate simultaneously. Similarly, adjustment to marriage and parenthood makes it difficult for young adults to adjust to work if they marry while they are still students. Third and perhaps most serious of all, young adults do not have help in meeting and solving the problems that they had when they were younger. This is partly their own fault and partly that of their parents and teachers. Most young adults are too proud of their new status to admit that they cannot cope with it. So, they do not seek advice and help in meeting the problems this new status gives rise to. Similarly, most parents and teachers, having been rebuffed by adolescents who claimed they were capable of handling their own affairs, hesitate to offer help unless they are specifically asked to do so. That is why, as was stressed earlier, the shortening of adolescence has made the transition to adulthood especially difficult.
Early Adulthood is a Period of Emotional Tension:
When people are trying to get the lay of a new land in which they find themselves, they are likely to be emotionally upset. By the early or mid-thirties, most young adults have solved their problems well enough to become emotionally stable and calm. Should the heightened emotionality characteristic of the early years of adulthood persist into the thirties, it suggests that adjustments to adult life have not been satisfactorily made. When emotional tension persists into the thirties, it is generally expressed in worries. What young adults worry about will depend on what adjustment problems they are facing at the time and how much success or failure they are experiencing in meeting these problems. Their worries may be mainly concentrated on their work, because they feel they are not advancing as rapidly as they had hoped to, or their worries may be concentrated on marital or parenthood problems. When adults feel that they have not been able to cope with the problems in the major areas of their lives, they are often so emotionally disturbed that they contemplate or attempt suicide.
Early Adulthood is a Period of Social Isolation:
With the end of formal education and the entrance into the adult life pattern of work and marriage, associations with the peer groups of adolescents wane and, with them, opportunities for social contacts outside the home. As a result, for the first time since babyhood, even the most popular individual is likely to experience social isolation, or what Erikson has referred to as an “isolation crisis”. Many young adults, having become accustomed throughout childhood and adolescence to depending on peers for companionship, experience loneliness when responsibilities at home or at work isolate them from groups of their peers. Those who were most popular during their school and college days and who devoted much of their time to peer activities, find the adjustment to social isolation in adulthood especially difficult.
Whether the loneliness that comes from this isolation will be temporary or persistent depends on how quickly and how satisfactorily the young adult can establish new social contacts to replace those of school and college days. Isolation is intensified by a competitive spirit and a strong desire, to rise on the vocational ladder. To achieve success, they must compete with others thus replacing the friendliness of adolescence with the competitiveness of the successful adult-and they must also devote most of their energies to their work, which leaves them little time for the socialization that leads to close relationships. As a result, they become self-centered, which contributes to loneliness.
Early Adulthood is a time of commitments:
As young adults change their role from that of student and dependent, Characteristic of adolescence, to that of independent adult, they establish new patterns of living, assume new responsibilities and make new commitments. While these new patterns of living, new responsibilities and new commitments may change later, they form the foundations on which later patterns of living, responsibilities, and commitments will be established.
Early Adulthood is often a period of Dependency:
In spite of achieving the status of legal adulthood at age eighteen,- with the independence this status carries, many young adults are partially or totally dependent on others for varying lengths of time. This dependency may be on parents; on the educational institution they attend on part or total scholarship, or on the government for loans to finance their education.
Concepts of Adult Sex Roles Traditional Concepts.
Traditional concepts of sex roles emphasize a prescribed pattern of behavior, regardless of individual interests or abilities. They emphasize masculine supremacy and intolerance toward any trait that hints of femininity or any work that is considered “woman’s work.”
Outside the home, the man holds positions of authority and prestige in the social and business worlds; in the home, he is the wage earner, decision maker, adviser and disciplinarian of the children, and model of masculinity for his sons.
Both in the home and outside, the role of the woman is other-oriented in that she gains fulfillment by serving others. She is not expected to work outside the home except in cases of financial necessity and then she does only work that serves others, such as nursing, teaching, or secretarial work.
Egalitarian concepts of sex roles emphasize the individuality and the egalitarian status of men and women. Roles should lead to personal fulfillment and not be considered appropriate for only one sex.
In the home and outside, the man works with the woman in a companionship relationship; He does not feel “henpecked” if he treats his wife as art equal, nor does he feel ashamed if she has a more prestigious or remunerative job than he does.
Both in the home and outside, the woman is able to actualize her own potential. She does not feel guilty about using her abilities and training to give her satisfaction, even if this requires employing someone else to take care of the home and children.
Erikson’S Theory: Intimacy Versus Isolation:
Erikson’s contributions have energized the study of adult personality development. His vision has influenced all contemporary theories. According to Erikson, adults move through three stages, each bringing both opportunity and risk-”a turning point for better or worse”. The psychological conflict of early adulthood is intimacy versus isolation, reflected in the young person’s thoughts and feelings about making a permanent commitment to an intimate partner.
In his definition of intimacy, Erikson stated that it should include
1. Mutuality of orgasm
2. with a loved partner
3. of the other sex
4. With whom one is able and willing to share a mutual trust
5. and with whom one is able and willing to regulate the cycles of work, procreation, and recreation.
6. so as to secure to the offspring, too, all the stages of satisfactory development Erikson pointed out, that sexual intercourse should not be assumed to be the most important aspect of intimacy between individuals. He was speaking here of far more than sexual intimacy. He was talking about the ability to relate one’s deepest hopes and fears to another person and to accept another’s need for intimacy in turn.
Those who have achieved the stage of intimacy are able to commit themselves to concrete affiliations and partnerships with others and have developed the “ethical strength to abide by such commitments, even though they may call for significant sacrifices and compromises”. This leads to solidarity between partners. Erikson was found quoting Freud’s response when asked what he thought a normal person should be able to do well: “Lieben und arbiten “to love and. to work.” To Freud, then sharing responsibility for mutual achievement and the loving feelings that result from them are the essence of adulthood. Erikson fully agreed with this.
Thus when Freud uses the term genitality to describe this same period he does not merely mean sexual intercourse; he is referring rather to the ability to share one’s deeply held values, needs, and secrets with another through the generosity that is so important in intimacy. The counterpart of intimacy is distantiation. This is the readiness all of us have to distance ourselves from others when we feel threatened by their behavior. Distantiation is the cause of most prejudices and discrimination. Propaganda efforts mounted by countries at war are examples of attempts to increase distantiation. It is what leads to isolation.
Most young adults vacillate between their desires for intimacy and their need for distantiation. They need social distance because they are not sure of their identities. They are always vulnerable to criticism, and since they can’t be sure whether the criticisms are true or not, they protect themselves by a “lone wolf ’ stance. Although intimacy may be difficult for some males today, Erikson believed that it used to be even more difficult for females.
“All this is a little more complicated with women, because women, at least in yesterday’s cultures, had to keep their identities incomplete until they knew their man”. Now that less emphasis occurs in the female gender role on getting married and pleasing one’s husband, and more emphasis is on being true to ones own identity, Erikson believed that both sexes have a better chance of achieving real intimacy.
Erikson believed that successful resolution of intimacy versus isolation prepares the individual for the middle adulthood stage, which focuses on Generativity-caring for the next generation and helping to improve society. In sum, both intimacy and Generativity emerge in early adulthood, with shifts in emphasis that differ among young people.
Middle Adulthood is a Time of Stress.
Radical adjustments to changed roles and patterns of life, especially when accompanied by physical changes, always tend to disrupt the individual’s physical and psychological homeostasis and lead to a period of stress-a time when a number of major adjustments must be made in the home, business, and social aspects of their lives.
Categories of Stress in Middle Adulthood are:
- Somatic stress, which is due to physical evidence of aging.
- Cultural stress, stemming from the high value placed on youth, vigor, and success by the cultural group.
- Economic stress, resulting from the financial burden of educating children and providing status symbols for all family members.
- Psychological stress, which may be the result of the death of a spouse, the departure of children from the home, boredom with marriage, or a sense of lost youth and approaching death.
Most women experience a disruption in homeostasis during their forties, when normally they go through menopause and their last children leave home, thus forcing them to make radical readjustments in the pattern of their entire lives. For men, by contrast, the climacteric comes later-generally in the fifties-as does the imminence of retirement with its necessary role changes.