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PSYC 3480 (233)
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CH 4.docx

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Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSYC 3480
Professor
Noreen Stuckless

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2/3/2013 11:25:00 AM Puberty: experience physical changes that lead to sexual maturity Adolescence: psychological changes that occur during puberty (transition b.w childhood and adulthood) Menarche: beginning of menstruation: female milestone during puberty PUBERTY AND MENSTRUATION Puberty  Girls enter this stage ~9-13 (avg age is 12); blacks/Latinas reach this earlier than whites  Body weight is typically correlated with the age that female reaches puberty  There are individual differences in girls rxns to menarche  ~10-11: transformation of 2 ary sex characteristics – features of the body related to reproduction, but not directly involved in it o Boobs, pubic hair, body fat on hips and thighs Biological Aspects of the Menstrual Cycle  Hypothalamus monitors estrogen levels through the month; when low, signals the pituitary to secrete FSH and LH  Pituitary is important because it produces the hormones critical in menstrual cycle  Hormones regulate the development of the endometrium and the follicles  FSH: acts on follicles in the ovaries to make estro/progrestrone  LH: necessary to develop ovum (eggs)  Est: stimulates the dev of the lining in the uterus (endometrium)  Pro: uses –ve feedback to regulate the amount of LH secreted o Est and pro are both produced by the ovaries  Ovaries: size of walnuts – contain follicles that hold ova th  Ovulation: 14 day of cycle: one egg breaks from the follicle, then moves to the fall tube, then to the uterus o If fertilized then the ovum gets placed in the endometrium and grows o If not, the ovum disintegrates on its way out of the uterus, and the endometrium is shed as blood (then w. a low level of est, the hypothalamus starts a new cycle)  Brain structures, hormones and reproductive organs coordinate to regulate the menstrual cycle. They operate according to a feedback loop: when a particular hormone is too low, a chain of events occurs to increase that hormone. Menstrual Pain (aka dysmenorrhea); different than PMS  Refers to painful cramps in the abdomen; also includes headaches, nausea, dizziness, fatigue and pain in the lower back  50-75% of women experience pain, but this decreases with age  Caused by prostaglandins: substances produced in high [] before menstruation and cause severe cramps  More anxious women are also more likely to experience menst pain The Controversial Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)  PMS: name given to the cyclical set of symptoms that may occur a few days before mestr: headaches, boob soreness, swelling, nausea, increased sensitivity to pain, allergies, acne & psyc rxns o Psyc rxns: depression, irritability, anxiety, dizziness, low E  Controversial bc researchers don’t agree w. the definition; around 200 different symptoms are associated w. it  Secondly, some ppl claim all women experience PMS even though this might not be true: encourages the ST that women are irrational and overly emotional bc of their “raging hormones”  No blood/chem test can assess if a women's experiencing pms  Women in India/China report different symptoms than Western women (known as the psyc-cultural explaination)  Some women get PMS but some don’t Mood Swings  Study showed that even women who thought that they were PMSing, ie being depressed and irritable, they actually weren’t.  Women will use PMS as an excuse. IE if I’m irritable a week before my period, its probably PMS.  Relatively few women seem to have severe symptoms of PMS – although many more report that they do o Could be bc pop media often discusses PMS w. –ve moods  2 factors are more important than the hormonal factors that cause PMS o Psyc factors: anxiety or a strong endorsement of traditionally feminine gender roles o Cultural factors: cultures belief that PMS is a well established fact and has a bio explanation  There is no clear cut operational definition for PMS  No reliable evidence for mood swings Coping w. the PMS  Women should monitor if their tension or anxiety is just consistent throughout the month – if so, it shouldn’t be blamed on PMS and they should seek therapy  Exercise is therapy for PMS; also avoid sugar, salt and caffeine (not well researched tho) +ve Rxns to the Menstrual Cycle  Menstrual Joy Questionnaire: measures ppls +ve rxns to their period  Some women report feelings of well being, excitement & bursts of E; also includes increased creativity and psychological strength  Many women have joy bc it means they aren’t pregnant Cultural Attitudes Towards Menstruation  Some cultures have a taboo against contact w. someone menstruating – Creek Indians in OKC cant use the same plates/utensils as other tribe members  Study: Euro women are rated as less competent and likeable if her handbag contained a tampon, rather than a hairclip  North America, term “menstruation” is rarely used: kind of invisible SELF-CONCEPT AND IDENTITY DURING ADOLESCENCE  Identity: persons self-rating of personal characteristics in the physical, psyc and social dimensions (5 parts to identity): 1. Self Esteem  Measure of how much you like and value yourself  Meta analysis studies: avg male scores are slightly (and significantly) higher in self-esteem than avg female scores o Somewhat larger differences are found in late adolescence than other ages  Gender differences for self-esteem are large for Whites but small for Blacks  Differences are also large for low/middle class, but very small for upper class  Black females generally higher in self-esteem than females from other ethnic groups.  Gender differences in self-esteem are inconsistent, the differences depend on age, ethnicity and social class. 2. Body Image and Physical Attractiveness  Emphasis on female attractiveness is exaggerated during adolescence  Especially likely to get the msg that they must be slender/beautiful  Young women's self-concepts are often shaped by whether they believe their attractive – physical appearance is the strongest predictor of self-worth in adolescent females  Black women less likely to emphasize thinness o Self-worth is measured by athletic performance for males  Women who participate in sports can often escape from dominant images presented to teen females. o They also have higher self-esteem than non-athletes.  Girls are now more involved with sport and media has also begun to show this 3. Feminist Identity  Recall, feminism: principal that values women’s experiences and ideas – emphasis on equality socially, economically and politically  Many ppl support feminist ideas, but less likely to say they have a feminist social identity (FSI) (that they are a feminist)  Ppl w. a FSI are more k.l on feminism & have a +ve evaluation of feminists  Females are more likely to say they are feminist 4. Cultural Identity  Def: ideas and customs associated w. a social grouping, such as country of origin, ethnic group, religion  Whites are not concerned abt their ethnic identity (since its considered standard, they don’t believe they have a race)  Some young women of colour try to reject their ethnicity  Viet women in America who compete in beauty contests: normally the winners are someone who has undergone surgeries to look more “American/white”  Miss India: women take part i
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