Chapter Outline

  1. The transition of adolescence
    1. The nature of adolescence
      1. A transitional period between childhood and adulthood
      2. In our society, begins at around 13 and ends about 22
      3. It is not universal across cultures
    2. Physical changes
      1. Pubescence: the two-year span preceding puberty during which the changes leading to physical and sexual maturity take place
        1. Children grow taller and heavier
        2. Develop secondary sex characteristics: physical features that distinguish one gender from the other but that are not essential for reproduction
          1. Boys: voice changes, develop facial hair, etc.
          2. Girls: experience breast growth, widening of pelvis, etc.
        3. Capacity to reproduce is not attained in pubescence
      2. Puberty: the stage that marks the beginning of adolescence and during which sexual functions reach maturity
        1. Primary sex characteristics (the structures necessary for reproduction) develop fully
        2. Females experience menarche: the first occurrence of menstruation
        3. Males develop capacity to ejaculate sperm
        4. Puberty arrives about two years later in boys than in girls
        5. A change in the timing of puberty has been observed over recent generations
          1. Today's adolescents begin puberty earlier, complete it more rapidly
          2. Apparently reflects improvements in nutrition, medical care
        6. Heart, lungs increase in size; heart rate drops
          1. More pronounced in boys than girls
          2. Responsible, in part, for boys' superior performance in certain physical activities
        7. Variation in onset of pubescence and puberty is normal
          1. Timing can affect psychological adjustment
          2. Girls who mature early and boys who mature late tend to have most problems
    3. Cognitive changes
      1. Adolescents can think abstractly (not just concretely) and more efficiently
        1. Become more self-aware, self-reflective
        2. Can apply logical skills to concepts such as love, justice, truth
      2. Egocentrism: the tendency to view reality in line with one's own idiosyncratic perception
        1. Adolescents wrongly assume they are the center of attention (i.e., the imaginary audience effect)
        2. Another form of egocentrism is personal fable
          1. Adolescents tend to believe they are unique; others can't understand their special experiences
          2. High-risk behavior may be attributable to personal fable
        3. Egocentrism seems to disappear as adolescents mature
    4. Personality changes
      1. The search for identity
        1. According to Erik Erikson, the main challenge of adolescence is developing a clear sense of identity
        2. Marcia's four possible outcomes of psychosocial crisis: foreclosure, moratorium, identity diffusion, identity achievement
        3. Sense of identity evolves gradually
          1. As result of innumerable daily decisions (e.g., whether or not to date a particular person, to become sexually active, etc.)
          2. Adolescents gradually achieve psychological distance from parents
      2. Time of turmoil?
        1. Overall, evidence indicates that majority of teenagers do not experience inordinate amount of turmoil
        2. Differences between those who can cope and those who can't become increasingly obvious
          1. Those who have difficulty coping may develop depression, suicidal behavior, drug problems
          2. Incidence of problems is relatively low
        3. In recent years, there has been an increase in some psychological, social problems
    5. Adolescent suicide
      1. Recent years have seen surge in adolescent suicide
        1. But only small minority of adolescents commit suicide
        2. White males more likely to commit suicide than black males
      2. Ratio of attempted to completed suicides is higher for adolescents than for any other age group
        1. Suicide attempts may be a "cry for help"
        2. Factors in adolescent suicide attempts
          1. Long history of stress, personal problems
          2. Conflicts with parents, girlfriends, boyfriends
  2. The expanse of adulthood
    1. Social clock: a person's notion of a developmental schedule that specifies what he or she should have accomplished by certain points in life
      1. Can exert considerable influence over important decisions
      2. Important life events that occur too early or too late can produce stress
    2. Erikson's view of adulthood
      1. Stage six: intimacy versus isolation
        1. Corresponds to young adulthood
        2. Focuses on learning to open up to others, to commit to others
        3. Jacob Orlofsky's five intimacy statuses: intimate, preintimate, stereotyped, pseudointimate, isolated
        4. Some research support for Erikson's notion that identity precedes intimacy
    3. Early adulthood (from about age 20 to 40)
      1. Adjusting to the world of work
        1. Individuals need to complete schooling, secure first job
        2. Many people still only tentatively committed to chosen occupation
      2. Adjusting to marriage and family life
        1. First few years of married life tend to be very happy
        2. Arrival of first child represents major transition
        3. After arrival of children, marital satisfaction tends to decline (until middle adulthood)
    4. Middle adulthood (from about age 40 to 65)
      1. Stage seven: generativity versus stagnation
        1. Challenge is to acquire concern for future generations
        2. Can meet challenge by providing guidance to younger people
      2. Confronting the aging process
        1. A number of physical transformations occur
        2. People forced to acknowledge mortality
      3. Transitions in the parenting role
        1. Parental influence over children declines
        2. Parents rate adolescent stage (of children) as most difficult
        3. Although "emptying of nest" is widely believed to be traumatic, few seem to experience it as such
      4. Transitions in the work role
        1. Those in stable career pattern are at peak of careers
        2. Those in changing careers pattern a more varied group
      5. Is there a midlife crisis?
        1. Two studies conducted in 1970s concluded that midlife crisis is a normal transition
        2. More recent studies have found evidence of midlife crisis in only small minority
    5. Late adulthood (after age 65)
      1. Stage eight: integrity versus despair
        1. Challenge is to achieve (ego) integrity
        2. Researchers have demonstrated support for several of Erikson's propositions
        3. Erikson's theory is useful, relatively accurate
      2. Retirement
        1. Today individuals tend to retire earlier than 65
        2. Individuals approach retirement with highly variable attitudes
      3. Changes in support networks
        1. Couples' relationship satisfaction tends to increase later in life
        2. Siblings may become more important than they were earlier
        3. Friends seem to play more significant role in life satisfaction
        4. For African Americans, fictive kin become an important component of social support networks
  3. Aging: a gradual process
    1. Physical changes
      1. Changes in appearance
        1. Height tends to decrease slightly
        2. Weight tends to increase
        3. Hair thins out, becomes gray
        4. Older people tend to view themselves as less attractive
          1. Particularly problematic for women
          2. May be a "double standard" of aging
      2. Changes in vision and hearing
        1. Most people become increasingly far-sighted until mid-60s, then trend is toward greater nearsightedness
        2. Changes in vision may be responsible for accidents
        3. Typically, noticeable hearing losses do not show up until people reach their 50s
        4. Vision, hearing loss often make interpersonal interaction more difficult
        5. Small sensory losses in touch, taste, and smell have been detected, usually after age 50
      3. Neurological changes
        1. Neurons: individual cells that receive, integrate, and transmit information
        2. Dementia: an abnormal condition marked by multiple cognitive deficits including memory impairment
          1. Can be caused by variety of disorders, including Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, AIDS
          2. Dementia, "senility" not part of normal aging process
        3. Alzheimer's disease can strike during middle age or later
          1. Precise causes still unknown, but associated with changes in brain chemistry and structure
          2. Characterized by progressive deterioration, ending in death
          3. Beginnings are subtle, difficult to detect
          4. Eventually, profound memory loss develops
      4. Hormonal changes
        1. Do not appear to be cause of declining sexual activity
          1. Such changes are more likely related to social norms and negative stereotypes
          2. Older women may have lack of opportunity for sex
        2. Menopause: the time when menstruation ceases
          1. Reactions vary greatly
          2. Episodes of moderate physical discomfort during transitional phase are fairly common
      5. Changes in health status
        1. Quality of health tends to diminish
        2. Lifestyle differences, access to health care play important role in maintaining health
        3. Relatively few elderly Americans live in nursing homes, although numbers increase with age
        4. Things to do to increase likelihood of good health
          1. Exercise regularly
          2. Eat healthy diet
    2. Cognitive changes
      1. Intelligence
        1. IQ fairly stable throughout adult years
        2. Small decline often begins after age 60
        3. IQ drops precipitously in few years before death
      2. Memory
        1. Some evidence for moderate loss in long-term memory, although most studies have been based on artificial laboratory tasks
        2. Age-related memory losses moderate, not universal
        3. Cultural attitudes may affect memory in elderly
        4. No evidence to support notion that older people have vivid recollections of events in distant past while being forgetful about recent events
      3. Learning and problem solving
        1. Ability to focus attention, handle multiple inputs seems to decline
        2. Speed of processing most likely to be affected
          1. Problem-solving ability generally unimpaired when people are given enough time
          2. Quantity rather than quality of intellectual activity seems most affected
    3. Personality changes
      1. Research findings appear contradictory
      2. Some traits tend to remain stable (e.g., emotional stability, extraversion)
      3. Other traits more likely to change (e.g., masculinity, femininity)
  4. Death and dying
    1. Attitudes about death
      1. Death system: the collection of rituals and procedures used by a culture to handle death
        1. Vary from culture to culture
        2. Most common strategy in our culture is avoidance
        3. Avoidance, negativism not universal features of all death systems
      2. Well-formulated personal philosophy of death may reduce anxiety
    2. The process of dying
      1. Pioneering researcher Elisabeth Kubler-Ross proposed five stages of dying
        1. Denial
        2. Anger
        3. Bargaining
        4. Depression
        5. Acceptance
      2. Views of Kubler-Ross have been heavily criticized
        1. Researchers have not always found support for five stages
        2. Dying people seem to show variety of conflicting or alternating reactions
    3. Bereavement and grieving
      1. Bereavement: the painful loss of a loved one through death
      2. Mourning: formal practices of an individual and a community in response to a death
      3. Cultural variations
        1. In America, bereaved are encouraged to break emotional ties with deceased relatively quickly and return to regular routines
        2. In Japan, bereaved are encouraged to maintain emotional ties to deceased
      4. The grieving process
        1. John Bowlby suggests four stages in grieving process
          1. Numbness
          2. Yearning
          3. Disorganization and despair
          4. Reorganization
        2. Research findings suggest grief does not follow straightforward path
          1. Camille Wortmann, Roxane Silver found four distinct patterns of grieving: normal, chronic, delayed, and absent
          2. Reactions seem to differ as a function of person's relationship to deceased (e.g., spouse, parent)
      5. Coping with bereavement
        1. People need sympathy, support of family, friends
        2. Particularly difficult situation occurs when child loses a parent to death
  5. Application: becoming an effective parent
    1. Maternal behavior and infant-mother attachment
      1. Infants' attachment to mother is not automatic
      2. Mary Ainsworth and colleagues concluded that infants can be grouped into three attachment styles
        1. Avoidant: babies tend to ignore mothers
        2. Anxious-ambivalent: babies seem to desire contact, but actively resist mother
        3. Securely attached: babies welcome contact with mother
      3. Recent research suggests fourth attachment style--disorganized/disoriented (babies drawn to caregivers, yet fear them because of past, negative experiences)
    2. Day care and attachment
      1. A hotly debated topic
      2. Jay Belsky's research suggests non-maternal care for more than 20 hours per week can negatively affect maternal attachment
      3. Other research indicates that day care can have beneficial effects on children's intellectual, social development
      4. Effects of day care generally depend on quality of care provided
    3. Dimensions of child-rearing
      1. Two major dimensions underlie parenting behavior
        1. Parental acceptance
        2. Parental control
      2. Diana Baumrind's "parenting styles"
        1. Authoritative parents
          1. Characterized by high acceptance, high control
          2. Parents maintain firm control, but take into account child's unique, changing needs
        2. Authoritarian parents
          1. Characterized by low acceptance, high control
          2. Parents highly demanding, use physical punishment
        3. Permissive parents
          1. Characterized by high acceptance, low control
          2. Parents allow children free expression of impulses, set few limits
        4. Neglectful parents
          1. Characterized by low acceptance, low control
          2. Parents not particularly involved with or supportive of their children
    4. Effects of parenting styles
      1. Children of authoritative parents tend to do well in school; are self-reliant, cooperative, friendly
      2. Children of authoritarian parents tend to do less well in school; have lower self-esteem, poorer social skills
      3. Children of permissive parents tend to have lower grades; are undisciplined, impulsive, easily frustrated
      4. Children of neglectful parents tend to have low self-esteem; are moody, impulsive, aggressive
      5. Correlational nature of data limit ability to establish causal link
    5. Rearing adolescents
      1. Increasing autonomy of adolescents requires more equal parent-child relationship
      2. Negotiating shifts in power can be difficult
        1. Authoritative parents who are willing to respond to their children's input are most likely to avoid turmoil
        2. Authoritarian parents may promote hostility, rebellion in their adolescent children
        3. Permissive and neglectful parents may be faced with adolescents whose behavior is completely out of hand
    6. Toward effective parenting (i.e., "basic rules")
      1. Set high, but reasonable standards
      2. Stay alert for "good" behavior and reward it
      3. Explain your reasons when you ask your child to do something
      4. Encourage children to take perspective of others
      5. Enforce rules consistently
    7. Using punishment effectively
      1. Punishment often has unintended, negative side effects
        1. May trigger strong, negative, emotional responses
        2. Heavy punishment can result in general suppression of behavioral activity
        3. Harsh physical punishment can lead to increase in aggressive behavior
      2. Guidelines for using punishment effectively
        1. Punishment should not damage child's self-esteem
        2. Punishment should be swift
        3. Punishment should be consistent
        4. Punishment should be explained
        5. Parent should point out alternative, positive ways for child to behave and reinforce those actions