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Adolescent Development

Since psychology is not my area of expertise and I'm not familiar with the literature, I need help with the following tasks to get me started writing a term paper.

1) Pick ANY topic on middle childhood or adolescent development (ages 6-18)
2) Review current/recent literature (peer reviewed publications) to determine what the most important aspects of the topic are
3) Summarizing the author's findings, including questions/criticisms that arise from reading the paper

Solution Preview

1. Since psychology is not my area of expertise and I'm not familiar with the literature, I need help with the following tasks to get me started writing a term paper.

Let's take a closer look.

Identity development in adolescents is an important topic in Psychology. Erikson and Marcia (1966) are the most noted theorists in this area. For example, Erikson, a pioneer in the field of personality development, identified the goal of adolescence as achieving a coherent identity and avoiding identity confusion. According to Erikson, identity is multidimensional and may include physical and sexual identity, occupational goals, religious beliefs, and ethnic background. The model proposes that adolescents explore these dimensions, and usually make commitments to aspects of their identity as they move into early adulthood (Identity Development - Aspects of Identity, http://social.jrank.org/pages/322/Identity-Development.html).

For a review of Erikson's theory and criticisms leading to Marcia's model, please click http://www.aui.ma/VPAA/cads/1204/cad-course-1204-rdg-erikerikson.pdf and http://www.businessballs.com/erik_erikson_psychosocial_theory.htm (attached for convenience).

Adolescence has been characterized by Erikson (1968) as the period in the human life cycle during which the individual must establish a sense of personal identity and avoid the dangers of role diffusion and identity confusion. Identity achievement implies that the individual assesses strengths and weakness and determines how he or she wants to deal with them. The adolescent must find an answer to the identity questions: "Where did 1 come from?" "Who am I?" "What do 1 want to become?"Identity, or a sense of sameness and continuity, must be searched for. Identity is not readily given to the individual by society, nor does it appear as a maturational phenomenon when the time comes, as do secondary sex characteristics. Identity must be acquired through sustained individual effort. Unwillingness to work actively on one's identity formation carries with it the danger of role diffusion, which may result in alienation and a sense of isolation and confusion (Côté, et al, 2002). The crisis is the resolution of the psychosocial crisis of "identity vs role confusion."

Attempts to submit Erikson's theory to empirical tests began with James Marcia's (1966) efforts to refine the identity issue by postulating four distinct identity statuses.

Marcia's identity status model (1966) is held to be the major elaboration of Erikson's views on identity formation in adolescence (Allison, 2001) and is the recent model of choice in researching identity ...

Solution Summary

Through review of current research and discussion, this solution describes adolescent development (ages 6-18) to determine what the most important aspects and summarizes some of the research findings and criticisms. Supplemented with extra research on aspects of adolescents.