Chapter 6

The Adolescent in Society.

The Concept of Adolescence

Adolescence is a life stage. Adolescence has factors contributing to the development, they are education, distinguishing young people as a separate group is the exclusion of youth from the labor force and finally is the development of the juvinile-justice system.

Characteristics of Adolescence.

Five characteristics generally apply to all adolescents which are biological growth and development (Puberty) and undefined status(difficult for a adolescent to know their status), increased decision making(Most of their decisions are made up for them by adults), increased pressure(Parents, friendship, school, etc), and the search for self(anticipatory socialization- learning the role, obligations, and rights of ones self).

Courtship and Dating.

Courtship differs from dating, being it means eventually getting married and dating is what most people go through to find their marriage partner. Dating came from courtship and it was usually under the woman's home and under intense supervision.

The Emergence of Dating.

Rise of the industrialization contributed a lot to the development of dating in the United States and the trend of dating accelerated in the years after World War I (Also when we started getting telephones and cars.). A man name Willard Waller conducted one of the earliest sociological analyses of American dating patterns which was during the late 1920's and 1930's.

Why Date?

Dating allows young people to get together to have fun and socialize. Its also a mechanism for socialization and teaches individuals about people of the opposite sex. Waller suggested that the most important functions were entertainment and status attainment.

Dating Patterns.

Like dating relationships, dating patterns could be determined because on one end are traditional dating patterns (similar to the behaviors during the 1960's, and then on the other end you have today's dating patterns.

Traditional Dating Patterns- still be found in small towns and rural areas of the United States. Ritualized because both parties knew what was expected of them because the rules of conduct were well defined by the group they belong in.

Contemporary Dating Patterns- Today there is greater opportunities for young men and women to interact with each other informally. It's acceptable for either partner to pay for the date or for each other to pay for themselves.

Teenage Sexual Behavior.

The norms governing sexual behavior vary widely from society to society. Trobrianders of the South Pacific Ocean, encourage sexual experimentation. In Western countries, traditional sexual values include strict norms against premarital sex.

The Rate of Teenage Sexual Activity- A data survey from the CDC indicated that 29% of unmarried American females between the ages of 15-19 were sexually active in 1970. Teenage childbearing in 1970 was 22 births per 1,000 unmarried teenage females. BY 1996 the birthrate for unmarried teenage females had risen to 43. However during the 1990's the CDC established national health objectives to address the issue of teenage pregnancy.

Influences on Early Sexual Activity- Among the social and economic factors found to influence early sexual activity are family-income level, parents' marital status, and religious participation. Explanations on subcultures suggest that teenage sexual activity is influenced by subgroup norms concerning sexual behavior.

Consequences of Early Sexual Activity- Babies born to teenage mothers have lower birth weight, teenage parents are less likely to graduate high school, teenage parents have lower lifetime earnings than individuals who delay parenthood, children to teenage parents are more likely to experience learning difficulties and teenage mothers face significant emotional stress.

Teenage Drug Use.

Drugs exist in many forms like medicine, alcohol, cigarettes, marijuana, cocaine, and heroin. In the United States the use of heroin and cocaine for nonmedical purposes was common until the early 1900's.

Drug Violence- There has been a dramatic increase in drug-related crime during the time of 1980's and 1990's. During the mid-1990's about 1,000 drug-related murders occurred each year in the US. Children as young as 9 and 10 years old were hired first as lookouts.

The Rate of Teenage Drug Use- The use of new drugs such as MDMA, or ecstasy, has increased in the late 1990's and 2000's. Alcohol use among teenagers had declined in recent years, but remains a widespread problem. Significantly, the survey indicates that 19% of high-school seniors smoke on a daily basis.

Influences on Teenage Drug Use- Having friends who regularly engage in drug use, having social and academic adjustment problems, and living in a hostile and rejecting family setting.

Teenage Attitudes Towards Drug Use- Depending on the drug, disapproval ratings have ranged from 90 percent to 98 percent.

Teenage Suicide.

Studies suggest that the actual number of suicides is higher than official statistics indicates. Some suicides are misreported as accident.

The Sociological View of Suicide- Emile Durkheim's classic study Suicide is still the most comprehensive sociological analysis of suicide to date. In Durkheim's view, high levels of social integration(degree of attachment people have to social groups or to society as a whole.) can lead to increased rates of suicide because group members place the needs of the group above their own personal needs.

Predictors of Teenage Suicide- Alcohol or drug use, triggering events, age, sex population density, family relations, and cluster effect are important social factors according to Brad L. Neiger and Rodney W. Hopkins.