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Adolescence, 6/e
Laurence Steinberg, Temple University

The Fundamental Changes of Adolescence
Social Transitions

Web Researcher

Instructions (24.0K)

Web Researcher Question:

Photographs can sometimes startle us by violating our expectations about how people should behave. Find 10 or 20 photographs of adolescents from different historical periods. In what ways does it seem as if adolescents made a faster transition from childhood to adulthood than they do now? In what ways does it seem that their transition was slower? Can you draw any conclusion?

Background Information:

There are many photographic archives available through the web.

  • The Library of Congress has an easily accessible file of historical photographs. To access it:
    • Go the Library of Congress webpage.
    • Click on the American Memory Historical Collections
    • Do a search, limiting your search to photos and prints (although letters, diaries, and historical documents are fascinating reading!)
    • Input key words, such as 'children', 'adolescents', or 'teenagers'
  • Other sections of the Library of Congress webpage, such as America's Story, provide a more historical or topic based way to browse through a range of photographs and text on a particular topic.
  • The Time/Life Photo Gallery provides another way to browse through photographs. Although there are few photographs of children, it provides a rich, topic-based glimpse of the context in which adolescents develop. You may be particularly interested in looking at images of war. How old are the soldiers and civilians pictured?
  • The photography collection of the Denver Public Library provides a wealth of images - from families of prehistoric mummies to modern high schools - while the New York City Public Library Digital Archive Collection has more specialized information on New York City, small town life in America, and African-Americans.

Other sites, such as the Archive Films/Archive Photos website are free, but require you to log in to access their materials. Going to a portal search engine, such as Yahoo, AltaVista, or Lycos and doing a basic search such as 'historical' + 'photo' + 'archive' will yield a wide variety of sites from all over the world. You might even want to do a search to access information from your local, state, or regional historical society.


Why do social inventionists believe that adolescence is not a unique or universal developmental period? Check all that apply
A)what we think of as 'adolescence' is primarily defined by social organization (e.g. exclusion from full-time work, dependence on parents) rather than by biological or cognitive change.
B)the timing of puberty has changed radically over the last several hundred years
C)in many cultures, adolescence is viewed quite differently than it is in our culture
D)they believe that the great variability in cognitive changes makes it impossible to clearly define adolescent status.

Which statement below summarizes the view of the child protectionists during the Industrial Revolution?
A)They felt that adolescents were taking jobs away from adults.
B)They felt that adolescence was a frivolous and lighthearted time when individuals should not concern themselves with work.
C)They felt that adolescents needed to be kept out of the workforce to avoid injury and moral degeneration.

According to Steinberg, why was the word 'teenager' coined and come to be associated with a time of life characterized by frivolity and lack of responsibility?
A)The new industrial economy of the late 1800's required that young workers be moved out of industrialized jobs so that older men would not be displaced and could support their families.
B)Young people were a large demographic group with lots of spending money. Advertisers tried to encourage consumerism in this emerging new market.
C)Researchers wanted to make a distinction between younger adolescents ('teenagers') and college students ('youth') who were often living away from homes and taking on greater adult responsibilities.

Societies differ in both the clarity and continuity of the transition from childhood to adulthood. Because continuous transitions involve less adjustment, they tend to be less stressful. Who is likely to have the least stressful transition into adulthood?
A)A youth growing up in a circus family who has been involved in performing and backstage management since early childhood and is now opening as one of the featured performers.
B)A blue collar adolescent who attended a comprehensive high school and is entering the labor market as a mechanic.
C)A youth growing up in rural poverty who earned a college scholarship and is hoping to become an engineer.

Which of the following is most similar to the traditional practice of 'extrusion'?
A)Going to summer camp
B)Bas mitzvah
C)Ear piercing

What is a behavior that is not seen as problematic for an adult but is illegal for a juvenile?
A)status offense
B)juvenile offense

In the United States, when an individual turns 18 he or she can vote. This is an example of a change in
A)interpersonal status
B)political status
C)legal status
D)economic status

Which of the following are universal parts of the social redefinition at adolescence? Check all that apply.
A)Real or symbolic separation of young people from their parents
B)An initiation ceremony
C)The accentuation of differences between males and females
D)The passing on of cultural, historical, or practical information deemed important for adulthood

Youth who grow up in neighborhoods of concentrated poverty have a much harder time making the transition to adulthood than youth who don't, even if their own families are strong. Why? (Check all that apply)
A)They have few affluent neighbors. These neighbors are important because they provide models for and links to adult success.
B)Adolescents growing up in neighborhoods where lots of other teenagers are getting in trouble are more likely to get into trouble themselves.
C)Parents in neighborhoods of concentrated poverty are often isolated and distrustful of their neighbors. This increases their stress and makes them less effective parents.
D)Adolescents living in concentrated poverty experience a great deal of violence and all of the stress associated with that exposure.

In Marini's study of role transitions during young adulthood, she found that men were more likely than women to combine school with work and family commitments. How does Marini explain this finding?
A)Few women completed any education past high school.
B)Women's greater involvement in domestic duties made it more difficult for them to balance student and nonstudent roles.
C)Women's higher earning power meant that they did not need higher levels of education for a successful career.