Adolescence to Adulthood Aboriginal Bushmen test. Aboriginal bushmen in Australia undergo strenuous survival tests; young tribesmen in Borneo have vine ropes tied around their ankles and then fling themselves earthward from tall tree towers – halting mere inches from the ground. - PowerPoint PPT Presentation
Adolescence to Adulthood
Adolescence to AdulthoodAboriginal Bushmen testAboriginal bushmen in Australia undergo strenuous survival tests; young tribesmen in Borneo have vine ropes tied around their ankles and then fling themselves earthward from tall tree towers halting mere inches from the ground. Bungee jumping is not a new thing! The reason for these tests is that adolescence is a period that does not exist for these people. A child reaches puberty and becomes a man or woman. When they pass the tests for maturity, they are given the full rights of an adult. Why? Because often these people marry quickly after puberty and die at a very early age.
Industrialization changed everything!It is the advent of industrialization and its improvements in medicine, quality of life and education that has given adolescence a term with meaning. Before that, children worked hard on farms, reached puberty, married, lived hard and died at the ripe old age of 40. With improved health, longer life expectancy and often having both parents working in the early factory systems, there were many children left to fend for themselves until public education was invented to help keep the young hooligans off of the streets.
What we now have is a group of people ranging in age from 12 to 18 who are undergoing physical changes to their bodies as the maturation process crosses the threshold from child to adult. The physical changes cannot happen without both chemical and hormonal changes, both of which also affect temperament, behavior and personality as well. Now take these individuals and put them as a group into an institution (school) where they are together for the most part of each day and ten months of the year. It should not be surprising that this microcosm of society should begin to develop its own unspoken rules, behaviors, rites and rituals, groups, or its own culture.
Defining AdolescenceThe years between childhood and adulthood make up the period of development called adolescence. This period starts at age 11 or 12 and generally is considered over by 18 or 19. Heredity and environment = How much influence do family, parents and peers have? Is this influence transient (temporary) or lasting? Is each equal in influence or are some more powerful than others or is there a perception of real power that is false? Heres one to get you started when does adolescence end (in todays world)? Consider the various legal drinking ages in North America (18 21), voting ages (18 21), adult criminal charges (18, but some crimes may charge 14 year olds in adult court) and drivers licensing (14 17). Why does one province have one set of ages and a different province a different set? Does that mean that there are physical differences between the adolescents in each province or is there a difference in how adolescents are perceived?
Throughout adolescence, the most startling developments are physical. Sudden changes take place in sexual maturation and physical growth. Changes in height and weight are dramatic and troublesome. The biggest problem, however, is that while these changes in physiology remove from adolescents the label child, they are not yet adults. They may feel for a while that they are nowhere, neither adult nor child.
Physical GrowthDuring adolescence, the body is moving upward and outward rapidly in what is called the growth spurt. When growth spurts occur, development is not orderly. Arms and hands may grow at a different rate from legs, for instance, while other parts of the body develop at yet another rate. Growth spurts come earlier for girls than boys, but for both sexes, early adolescence is the time of maximum physical development. Between the ages of nine and 12, girls may grow as much as three inches taller in one year. For boys, this growth occurs between 11 and 15, when they may gain as much as four inches in height in a year. The exact time when this growth will occur for any individual, male or female, is unpredictable.
Sexual DevelopmentPuberty, or the period of sexual maturation, is a notable feature of adolescence. Hormones, chemicals that control body growth, emotional responses, and physical changes, are responsible for sexual maturation. Several hormones are extremely active in adolescence. The pituitary gland secretes growth hormone and increases the production of other glands of other hormones. Two systems under the pituitarys control are the adrenal glands and the gonads or sex glands. Adrenaline from the adrenal glands and sex hormones from the gonads work with the pituitary to bring about sexual maturation.The impact of hormones on an adolescents emotional state is not clear-cut. It is true that the adolescents generally are moodier than adults, but so are children, and children are not being bombarded with all these chemicals. The many intense changes taking place in adolescence probably have as much to do with emotional response as the hormones themselves. In any case, emotional ups and downs are more evidence early on and largely disappear by late adolescence.Rates of MaturationDifferences between boys and girls in the level of physical maturation are greatest and most obvious in early adolescence. By age 14, most girls have matured fairly completely, while most boys lag behind by two to three years. This difference between the sexes creates problems in relating to one another, especially where dating and dancing are involved. Most males are still shorter than females their own age, making the situation even more awkward. When girls start dating, many go out with older boys, largely because of these differences. By middle adolescence, the maturity gap between the sexes has narrowed considerably, and for most, by late adolescence it has disappeared altogether.
Besides overall gender differences in the rate and timing of physical maturation, individual differences exist as well. Small differences do not have much impact on the individual. When physical development occurs substantially earlier or later than average, however, there are psychological effects as well. The particular kinds of effects that occur depend on two factors: (1) whether the adolescent is an early maturer (one and half years or more ahead of the average) or a late maturer (one and a half years behind the average) and(2) whether the individual is male or female.Early maturation is more of an advantage for boys than girls. Boys who develop ahead of schedule have higher self-esteem and feel better about how they look. Early maturing girls feel awkward about being different from their friends. They are more self-conscious and dissatisfied with their weight and general appearance.
Development that starts later than average is worse for boys than girls. Boys who are late maturers, like early maturing girls, feel awkward about their bodies. They are more self-conscious, less self-confident, and express greater dissatisfaction with their overall appearance than other adolescent males. Late maturing girls, however, do not seem to suffer many negative effects. Generally, they have high self esteem and are satisfied with their physical appearance. They also have the advantage of being similar to boys their own age in height and overall maturation.While pluses or minuses are created when maturation occurs later or earlier than average, their greatest impact is felt during adolescence itself. For most early or late maturers, neither the problems nor the advantages last into adult life.
Weight: Too Much or Too Little?Along with rapid growth and sexual maturation come fluctuations in weight. Concern about weight is a common problem for adolescents. Being underweight or overweight can result from hormonal imbalances, physical changes, psychological difficulties, genetics, or some combination of these factors. For instance, some males try to compensate for a temporary string-bean look by eating too much. In addition, food can act as a sedative to relieve loneliness. Around issues of weight, patience is probably called for, as difficult as that may be. Physical changes are drastic during adolescence, but people in their early 20s are the leanest of all age groups.Weight and body imageWeight and body image are more often problems for females than for males. Society places more importance on physical appearance for women than for men. The ideal beauty, that unrealistic picture of what the perfect woman should look like, has become thinner and thinner over the years. As two psychologists have noted, in the 1950s, a typical winner of Miss Sweden title was give feet seven inches tall and weighed 151 pounds. Many years later, that title-winner was five feet nine inches tall and weighed only 109 pounds. A height-to-weight ratio like that borders on being seriously hazardous to ones health.
Eating DisordersThe damage done by social pressure to conform to such an impossible ideal is hard to overstate. At a minimum, t makes most women dissatisfied with their appearance. As many as three-quarters of North American women think they are fat or at least should lose a few pounds. In reality, no more than one-fourth are even slightly overweight. At a more troublesome level, such social pressure can result in constant unhealthful dieting.The evidence is clear that being somewhat overweight is nowhere as risky as the attempt to become too thin. Also, excessive dieting can lead to eating disorders, conditions in which the person is unable to correctly read the bodys signals about its nutritional needs and eats (or refuses to eat) for the wrong reasons. Whatever the specific disorder may be, the person is obsessed with food.
1. Bulimia nervosaIn the condition known as bulimia nervosa, people go on binges, eating large amounts of rich, calorie-laden foods. They then try to keep the