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'Adolescence is traditionally seen as a time of turmoil and stress. Is this inevitable? Using psychological research evidence, discuss the concept of adolescence as a transition and also consider the quote "Why must I be a teenager at all?"'

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Introduction

'Adolescence is traditionally seen as a time of turmoil and stress. Is this inevitable? Using psychological research evidence, discuss the concept of adolescence as a transition and also consider the quote "Why must I be a teenager at all?"' The word 'adolescence' comes from a Latin word and means 'to grow into maturity'. It is known that adolescence is a time of enormous physical and mental change that results in changes in behaviour, personality, relationships and expectations. It is seen as a difficult transition into adulthood from childhood. Over the years, the time a person is in adolescence has increased. This is thought of being due to extended education, people marrying later in life and approaching a working career much later than say 20 years ago. Children have also started to develop mentally and physically at a much younger age than in past years. This means that the period in which a person is an adolescent has greatly increased and so therefore the time in which they have to identify themselves in terms of 'who they are' and 'who they want to be' is not just one short, smooth transition into adulthood. ...read more.

Middle

However, Erikson (1963) believed that it is human nature to pass through a sequence of psychosocial stages. He believed that the purpose of adolescence was to develop a strong sense of identity and finding their own person place in the adult society. In Western societies adolescence is moratorium (negative personality outcomes) with a delay of adulthood. Although this is meant to make the transition easier, it can have the opposite effect. Without a clearly defined procedure to follow, this process can be difficult for both adolescents and their parents and can bring about a 'generation gap'. Erikson stated that failure to achieve identity may remain in a state of 'identity diffusion'. This has 4 stages: * Fear of Intimacy: Afraid that intimacy with another person will not allow them to achieve an identity. * Failure to organise time: Fear of the future may lead to an inability to plan realistically and build for the future. * Failure of Industry: Anxiety can result in a failure to engage with with productive work or study, by failure to concentrate or by obsessive concern with minor details. * Formation of Negative Identity: The adolescent may simply reject the values of others (especially those of their parents). ...read more.

Conclusion

In Western countries teenagers seem to have to face more problems and debates with family and themselves than in non-Western countries. This is due to the fact that in non-Western countries, as soon as sexual maturity has taken place you automatically become an adult. This is good on one hand as you are not faced with all the stress and turmoil of adolescence, but on the other hand you are not able to experiment with personalities to find out who you want to be in the future. Therefore in conclusion to the question asked, depending on where you live in the world depends on the amount of stress and turmoil encountered as an adolescent. Adolescents in Western countries experience a lot more stress and turmoil due to changing societies and norms and the prolonged experience of being an adolescent. However, overall this is not a bad thing. As, in answer to the question 'Must I be a Teenager at all?', during adolescence, although it is a very stressful time, in Western countries, it is a very important time in life where you can experiment with different personalities and future options so that when you have finally found the right lifestyle for you, you will be able to concentrate on making the best out of your future, career and relationships. ...read more.

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