Chapter 6 Sociology

The Adolescent in Society

The Concept of Adolescence

Adolescence did not exist until after the Civil War

  1. Mandatory education until the age of 16
  2. Removal of children under the age of 16 from the work force.
  3. Juvenile-Justice System

Characteristics of Adolescence

  • Biological Growth and Development
  • Undefined Status
  • Increased Decision Making
  • Increased Pressure
  • The Search for Self

Courtship and Dating

Courtship is different from dating. When courting, one intends to eventually marry.

Courtship is not casual, and is done in the parlor of them female's home.

Couples were rarely left alone.

The man, in order to court the young lady had to first meet her parents and ask their permission.

Emergence of Dating

Rise of industrialization created dating habits. Young people would go to public schools which were, in fact, co-ed. They interacted on a daily basis with eachother. Waller conducted a study on dating in which he learned that teens would date based on looks, social status, and popularity.

Why Date?

  1. Form of entertainment. Dating is meant to be fun.
  2. Mechanism for socialism. Teaches individuals about the habits of both sexes. And allows them to learn how to behave in certain social situations.
  3. Dating fulfills basic psychological needs. Such as: communication, companionship, and understanding
  4. One attains status. People are judged based on who they date.

Dating patterns

Dating patterns include both traditional and contemporary. Traditional dating habits include the men choosing, planning, and paying for the date. Nowadays the women are just as likely to choose and plan a date, yet, men still, for the most part, pay.

Teen Sexual Behavior

During the "sexual revolution" norms governing sexual behaviors began to change. Though still not widely accepted is it well known that most teens and young adults engage in sexual activity before marriage.

Many things influence teen sexual activity such as:

  • Family-income levels
  • Parent's marital status
  • and Religious Participation.

Teenage Drug Use

Drug Violence has increased in many different places. In the US it is very alarming. Many gangs that revolve around drugs hire children around the ages 9 and 10 to be a lookout. By the time the child becomes a teenager, they typically move up to runners and, eventually, drug dealers.

Teen Drug Use (cont)


  • Most young people, at some point in their teenage years do experiment with drugs, alcohol or tobacco.
  • Peer pressure contributes to that number significantly


  • Peer pressure
  • Social or academic adjustment problems
  • Living in a hostile, or rejecting family situation

Teen Suicide

  • When you think of the causes and consequences of suicide you think of individuals
  • Think of it as personal act.
  • Emile Durkheim classic study of suicide.
  • Levels of social integration explain why certain groups have higher rates of suicide.

Predictors of suicide

  • Alcohol or drug used increases risks of suicide
  • Triggering events cause suicide attempts
  • Age most kids 13+ commit suicide
  • Sex Females are 3 times more likely to commit suicide
  • Population density underpopulated places have higher teen suicide rates
  • Family relations weakening of social bonds
  • Cluster effect sometimes one suicide triggers multiple attempts