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Chapter 3

PSY310H5 Chapter Notes - Chapter 3: Baby Boom, Margaret Mead, Stayley Hall

Course Code
Virginia K Walker

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Chapter 3 (86-115)
Social redefinition: process through which an individual’s status is redefined by society
Social Redefinition and Psychosocial Development
New activities (work, driving) may prompt self-evaluation and introspection (feel older) – identity
Increased responsibility/freedom impacts development of autonomy/independence
Ex. Receiving a driver’s license -> obligation of driving safely
- Status provides chances to exercise autonomy
Social redefinition brings changes in relationship w others, concerns about intimacy (dating,
Ex. Many parents prohibit dating until “appropriate age”
Ex. Need parents’ permission to marry if not age of majority: legal age for adult status
- In some cultures, individuals are required to marry when they become adults (arranged)
Statutory rape: when at least one person is below legal age of consent (age varies)
Laws governing sexual behavior differentiate those who have/not attained adult status
Those who have: confronted w new decisions about sexual activity
Issue: should sexually active individuals wout adult legal status make decisions about adult
matters (abortion, contraception)
Societies/cultures vary in how transition from child->adult is signified – all have some way of
recognizing that their rights/responsibilities change
Redefinition affects development in realms of: identity, autonomy, intimacy, sexuality,

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The Elongation of Adolescence
Longer bc: go through puberty earlier (beginning) and enter workforce/start family later (end)
Above is truer for industrialized, but evidence in developing countries as well
Passage into adulthood especially difficult for those growing up in poverty (lack support) –
challenging even w college degree
- In the past, children lived away from home when they reached puberty (sexual beings)
- Nowadays, continue to live w parents after they become sexually mature -> impact on
parent-child relationship?
- ↑Financial cost of living independently -> economic maturity lags behind psychological
Length of adolescence ↑ dramatically due to onset of puberty + prolongation of formal education
Observers believe this transition is too long and disorderly -> harmful effects on
Adolescence as a Social Invention
Inventionists: theorists who argue that the period of adolescence is mainly a social invention
Image of adolescence – influenced by society who draws lines btwn adol. and child/adulthood
Ex. Elementary vs. Secondary school, voting age, etc.
Inventionists believe behaviours/problems (ex. Delinquency) are a consequence of the way
adolescence is defined/treated – rather than result of bio/cognitive factors
This completely contrasts the view that psychological changes are driven by puberty (biological)
- G. Staley Hall
The “Invention” of Adolescence
According to Inventionists, adolescent did not exist until the Industrial Revolution (mid-19th
Agricultural times – children treated as miniature adults (distinction: whether they own property)

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Impact of Industrialization
- New pattern of work, education, family life – connection btwn child/adulthood ->
- Children encouraged to spend time in school -> more time w peers
- Shortage of jobs (machines replaced workers)
- To protect adults’ jobs -> put adolescents in schools (remove from labour force)
- Began to discriminate who was “ready” for work – view adol as less capable/need of
-Child protectionists: argued that adol needed to be protected from the hazardous
labour force
- Growth of large urban areas -> increase in crime and “moral degeneracy”
The Origins of Adolescence as We Know It Today
- View: lengthy period of preparation for adulthood, economically dependent on elders
-Teenager: popularized 50 yrs ago – frivolous and lighthearted image
oLess serious age, concern for cars clothes cosmetics
oSocial change resulting from increase in affluence/economic freedom
-Youth: today – term used to refer to individuals 18-22
oGrowth of college population/student activism
oChanges in attitudes/values among college students -> “youth moment”
Emerging Adulthood (EA): A New Stage of Life or a Luxury of the Middle Class?
18-25: neither adolescence nor adulthood (Jeffrey Arnett)
1. Exploration of possible identities before making choices
2. Instability in work/romantic relationships/living arrangements
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