Adolescence & Adulthood 

Puberty & Sexual Behavior

     Puberty is a developmental period ( approximately from 9 to 17 years ) of significant biological 
changes resulting in secondary sexual characteristics. 

Signposts of Puberty 

    The first sign of puberty in girls , which occurs at an average age of 10 1/2 years, is breast development 
(thelarche). This begins with breast budding, or the formation of small lumps or nodules under one or 
both nipples. These lumps may be tender and they may be different sizes at first. This is usually also 
the beginning of their growth spurt. Next, in about six months, pubic hair develops (adrenarche), although 
in some children, pubic hair is the first sign of puberty, and then axillary hair begins to grow. Over the 
next few years, breast size will continue to increase and there will be a progressive increase in development 
of pubic hair and the external genitalia, leading to the first period or menarche (occurring at an average age 
of 12 1/2 to 13 years), which usually occurs about two years after puberty begins and coincides with their peak 
in height velocity. Development continues and the whole process is completed in 3-4 years, eventually reaching 
adult breast and areolar size and an adult pattern of pubic hair. A child will have also reached her final adult 
height about two years after menarche.

    Puberty generally begins later in boys, at an average age of 11 1/2 to 12 years. The first sign of puberty in boys 
is an increase in size of the testicles. This is followed a few months later by the growth of pubic hair. Puberty 
continues with an increase in size of the testicles and penis and continued growth of pubic and axillary hair. 
Boys undergo their peak growth spurt about 2-3 years later than girls. Also, this usually begins with an 
enlargement of the hands and feet and is later followed by growth in the arms, legs, trunk and chest. Other 
changes include a deepening of the voice, an increase in muscle mass, the ability to get erections and ejaculate 
(especially spontaneous nocturnal emissions or 'wet dreams'), and in some boys, breast development 
(gynecomastia). Development continues and the whole process is completed in 3-4 years, eventually 
reaching adult testicle and penis size and an adult pattern of pubic hair. This is followed by the development 
of chest and facial hair.

    Puberty is also associated with adolescents beginning to have axillary perspiration and body odor, & acne.

Hormones & Puberty - The HPA axis (Hypothalamus/Pituitary/Adrenal)

From the Hypothalamus via hormones to the Pituitary

via GH hormones	                  via GnRH hormones
to the adrenal glands	          to the gonads (ovaries & testicles)

Causes an increase in many hormones including Testosterone & Estrogen
Growth spurt - Primary sex characteristics - Secondary sex characteristics

To some extent hormonal changes cause emotional change, in that

•	rapidly increasing hormone levels, especially testosterone, cause more rapid arousal 
        of emotions. 
•	Hormones affect the quick shifts in the extremes of emotions. 
•	For boys, hormonal increases lead to more thoughts about sex, etc. 
•	For many girls, the menstrual cycle produces mood changes. 

The age of puberty is highly variable, factors that affect its onset are

•	stress - causes early puberty. 
•	genes - mother daughter correlation. 
•	body type - stocky individuals earlier. 
•	gender - see chart. 

Cognitive & Emotional Changes

     One of the most significant changes in cognitive development during adolescence is the ability 
to think in the abstract.

     Piaget's cognitive Stage 4: formal operations, is achieved during adolescence. Children who attain 
the formal operation stage are capable of thinking logically and abstractly. They can also reason 
theoretically. Piaget considered this the ultimate stage of development, and stated that although the 
children would still have to revise their knowledge base, their way of thinking was as powerful as 
it would get.

Brain development: reason & emotion

     The adolescent's brain has an underdeveloped prefrontal cortex, or executive officer, but a well 
developed limbic system, or producer of emotion. This combination of weak control & strong emotion 
appears to result in many unthinking behaviors during adolescence.
Kohlberg's levels & stages of moral development:

Level 1. Preconventional (Self-Interest)

    * Stage 1: The Stage of Punishment and Obedience "Might makes right"
    * Stage 2: The Stage of Individual Instrumental Purpose & Exchange 
                    "Look out for number one"

Level 2. Conventional (Social Approval)

    * Stage 3: The Stage of Mutual Interpersonal Expectations, Relationships & Conformity 
                     "good girl" & "nice boy"
    * Stage 4: The Stage of Social System & Conscience Maintenance "Law & Order" 

Level 3. Postconventional (Abstract Ideas)

    * Stage 5: The Stage of Prior Rights & "Social Contract" or Utility
    * Stage 6: The Stage of Universal Ethical Principles "Principled Conscience"

In more detail:
   The first level of moral thinking is that generally found at the elementary school level. In the first 
stage of this level, people behave according to socially acceptable norms because they are told to 
do so by some authority figure (e.g., parent or teacher). This obedience is compelled by the threat 
or application of punishment. The second stage of this level is characterized by a view that right 
behavior means acting in one's own best interests.

    The second level of moral thinking is that generally found in society, hence the name "conventional." 
The first stage of this level (stage 3) is characterized by an attitude which seeks to do what will gain the 
approval of others. The second stage is one oriented to abiding by the law and responding to the 
obligations of duty.

    The third level of moral thinking is one that Kohlberg felt is not reached by the majority of adults. Its 
first stage (stage 5) is an understanding of social mutuality and a genuine interest in the welfare of others. 
The last stage (stage 6) is based on respect for universal principles & the demands of individual conscience.

Criticism of Kohlberg's Stages

    • The philosophical emphasis on justice & psychological emphasis on reasoning are too 
narrow & restrictive.
    • The level 3 stages reflect only liberal, western intellectual values.
    • Kohlberg's conception of moral development is based on thinking and logic, not on feelings for others. 
Surely feelings can not be neglected.
    • Kohlberg believed that morals were based on age and "wisdom," rather than real life experience and 
empathic identification with others. The truth is that children of 3 or 4 can and do empathize with others 
and try to help.
    • Gilligan feels that Kohlberg's theory has gender bias & does not consider the "morality of care" only 
the "morality of justice." 

Parenting Styles
Diana Baumrind a researcher on parenting patterns found that parents differed on four important dimensions.

        1. warmth or nurturance 
          2. communication 
             2. maturity 
                4. discipline
    On the basis of these dimensions, Baumrind found 3 basic styles of parenting, they are:

Authoritarian parenting: warmth = low, discipline = strict, often physical, expectations of maturity = high, 
Communication = parent to child - high & child to parent - low 
     A very restrictive pattern of parenting in which adults impose many rules, expect strict obedience, rarely 
if ever explain to the child why it is necessary to comply with all these regulations, and often rely on punitive, 
forceful tactics (that is, power assertion or love withdrawal) to gain compliance. Authoritarian parents are 
not sensitive to a child’s conflicting viewpoints, expecting instead for the child to accept their word as law 
and to respect their authority. 
Permissive parenting: warmth = high, discipline = rare, expectations of maturity = low, 
Communication = parent to child - low & child to parent - high 
    An accepting but lax pattern of parenting in which adults take relatively few demands, permit their 
children to freely express their feelings & impulses, do not closely monitor their children’s activities, & 
rarely exert firm control over their behavior. 
Authoritative parenting: warmth = high, discipline = moderate, with much talk, 
expectations of maturity = moderate, Communication = parent to child - high & child to parent - high 
     A controlling but flexible style in which involved parents make many reasonable demands of their children. 
They are careful to provide rationales for complying with the limits they set, and ensure that their children 
follow those guidelines. However, they are much more accepting of and responsive to their children’s points 
of view than authoritarian parents are and often seek their children’s participation in family decision making. 
So authoritative parents exercise control in a rational, democratic (rather than a domineering) way that 
recognizes and respects their children’s perspectives.

Punishment - an integral part of parenting style.

Varies between families & cultures 

•	Japanese mothers use reasoning, empathy, and expressions of disappointment more than 
        North American mothers 
•	U.S. mothers are more likely to encourage emotional expressions including anger

Physical punishment?

•	popular - seems to work sometimes 
•	spanking - boomerang effect - sometimes more aggressive effect results

Beyond Adolescence

     Changes in cognitive speed: beginning in the late 50's; processing speed, perceptual speed & reaction 
time all slow.

     Changes in memory: detail memory declines as we get older & is part of the normal aging process.

 Adulthood - Erikson's psychosocial stages:

- Stage 5: identity versus role confusion (adolescence, 12- 20)

      The Self & Identity
          "Who Am I?"

     During adolescence, the goal of many teens is to establish an identity.

         Identity: A consistent definition of one’s self as a unique individual, in terms of roles, attitudes, 
     beliefs & aspirations.
        The 1st step in the identity process is to establish the integrity of personality - that is, to align
     emotions, thinking, &   behavior be consistent no matter what the place, time, circumstances or 
     social relationship.

        As they try to establish identities, adolescents encounter Identity vs Role Confusion: Erickson’s 5th 
     stage of development  in which the person tries to figure out "Who am I" but is confused as to which 
     of the many roles to adopt.

     Throughout adolescence, a teen may experience more than one Identity Status:

         Identity Achievement: Erickson’s term for attainment of identity-ideally established by reconsidering 
     the goals and values set by the parents and culture, then accepting some and rejecting others.

         Foreclosure: When adolescents accept their parents or society’s roles and values without questioning 
     them or exploring alternatives.

         Negative Identity: When adolescents adopt an identity that is opposite what is expected of them. 
     Usually occurs when adolescents feel that the roles their parents and society expect them to fulfill are 
     unattainable or unappealing, yet they cannot find any alternatives that are truly their own.

          Identity Diffusion: When an adolescent does not seem to know or care what his identity is. Typically, 
     these teens have few commitments to the goals or values of their parents, peers, or larger society.

         Identity Moratorium: Erickson’s term for a pause in identity formation that allows young people to explore 
     alternatives without making final identity choices.

      Institutions that permit a moratorium on finding identity:

        * College
        * Military
        * Peace Corp
        * Religious Missions
        * Internships 

         Society & Identity

         Finding an identity is affected by forces outside the individual. The surrounding culture can aid identity 
    formation in two major ways:

         *     By providing values that have stood the test of time and that continue to serve their function.
         *     By providing social structures and customs that ease the transition from childhood to adulthood. 

- Stage 6: intimacy versus isolation (early adulthood, 20 - 40)
- Stage 7: generativity versus stagnation (middle adulthood, 40 - 65)
- Stage 8: integrity versus despair (late adulthood, 65 +) 

Gender Roles, Love & Relationship - Two theories of male-female differences:

       Social Role Theory: This is the principle that men & women behave differently in social situations & take
different roles, due to the expectations that society puts upon them (including gender stereotyping). 
This includes women taking positions of lower power, meeting ‘glass ceilings’, having home-making 
roles, etc.
 Three common patterns are:
 •  Women take on more domestic tasks
   •  In occupations, women often have lower status
     •  Women & men often have different occupational roles.

       Evolutionary theory: uses reproductive goals as well as genetic & biological factors to explain the behavior. 
Sociobiology says that the double standard for male promiscuity has a biological basis — it is not moral or 
immoral; it simply is a strategy that produces more children.

Love & Relationship

Triangular Theory Of Love (Robert Sternberg) - Love's components:

Love's triangle - three sides:
Passion - a feeling of strong sexual desire.
Intimacy - a feeling of being intimate and belonging together.
Commitment - the act of binding yourself to someone (intellectually & emotionally).

According to Sternberg;

Passion only produces Infatuated love.
 Passion & commitment without intimacy produces Hollywood love.
  Intimacy & commitment without passion produces Companionate love.
   Intimacy & passion without commitment produces Romantic love.

* When choosing a partner a schema (shopping list) can be helpful.

Physical Changes: Aging

    Normal Aging - the uninterrupted process of normal development that leads to a progressive decline in 
physiological function and ultimately to death.

     Pathological aging - may be caused by genetic defects, physiological problems, or diseases, which 
accelerate the aging process.

Reasons for aging:

1. Aging by chance theory - wear & tear
2. Aging by design theory - preset biological clocks

Sexual changes with aging:

Sexual changes in women: menopause - the time of life when a woman's menstrual periods stop permanently. 
Also called "change of life."

Men may experience decreased sexual responsiveness in late adulthood. 

Adolescent Suicide

Ψ  Adolescents think about suicide often - a sign that depression is prevalent during these years. Among adolescents 
& young adults (ages 15 - 24), the suicide rate is 10.4 per 100.000 making it the third leading cause of death.    

Suicidal Ideation: Thinking about suicide, usually with some serious emotional & intellectual overtones.     

Parasuicide:  A deliberate act of self-destruction that does not end in death. Parasuicide can be fleeting, 
such as a small knife mark on the wrist, or potentially lethal, such as swallowing an entire bottle of pills. Usually carried out 
in a state of extreme emotional agitation & confusion.Ψ  A number of factors have been found to be related to adolescent 
suicide. Adolescents may have psychological problems such as depression, drug related problems, or feeling of 
helplessness. They may show behavioral symptoms , such as antisocial behavior, social isolation & withdrawal, and 
difficulties with family & peers.    

Ψ  Usually suicide is preceded by events or feelings ( precipitators ) that may include problems with relationships, bouts of 
depression, or drinking ( drug usage ).

Ψ  Among the risk factors for suicide (13 per 100,000) in the old are depression & loneliness, but the major cause factor 
is health ( medical ).
                 Topics in Psychology
                      Robert C. Gates