Ch 6. The Adolescent in Society

Sociology, Period 2, Jacob Chavis

The Concept of Adolescence

  • Adolescence can be defined as the period between the normal onset of puberty and the beginning of adulthood.
  • Adolescence as a life stage is a relatively recent phenomenon. In the United States, this stage did not exist prior to the Civil War. Before that time, young people were treated simply as small adults.

Characteristics of Adolescence

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

Courtship and Dating

  • Courtship is interaction between young unmarried men and women.
  • Dating is the meeting of people as a romantic engagement.
  • Prior to the industrial revolution, the economy of the United States was based primarily on agriculture. The timing of marriage was determined by the age at which a man acquired the property necessary to support a family.

Teenage Sexual Behavior

  • Some small preindustrial societies permit adolescences to engage in sexual behavior before marriage.
  • In some of these societies, such as the Trobrianders of the South Pacific Ocean, sexual experimentation is even encouraged.
  • In western countries on the other hand, tradition sexual values include strict norms against premarital sexuality.

Teenage Drug Use

  • Marijuana also remains the most widely used illegal drug among high school students.
  • Any downward trend in drug use, however slight is encouraging.
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