Society for Research on Adolescence Paper

Executive summary

This paper focuses on young adults who are on the stage of growth between childhood and maturity. This paper is focused on behavior change as one of the major issues and, hence, the reason to this research. Adolescents are young people between the age of childhood and that of adulthood. Behavior change is imminent to all individuals and more specific to those who grow together due to the influence. All the adolescents, with the knowledge of the changes, try to avoid it; however, everything cannot be avoided.

Young adults, as regularly referred, are usually at a stage of growth where they get to know what is good and what is bad for them; this uniqueness validates the necessity for this study’s focus on their behaviors. The paper can be very valuable to researchers, parents, teachers, and other stakeholders who help in the transition of a person from childhood to adulthood. As the paper states, reports indicate that a large number of people relate conspicuous adolescent criminal behaviors to the adolescence stage; however, the behaviors may not continue on into the adulthood. Consequently, adolescent delinquency will be known and termed by many of the studies as a norm rather than an exception behavior for many adolescents.

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People get the notion that an adolescent is a person, who is inherently in a small period of difficult times, and when he is supposed to make great changes and decisions about his/her life. This is so that during this particular period of a person’s life-cycle, it occurs to him/her that a problematic type of development becomes more interesting than a normative way of life development. This, particularly, makes a healthy adolescence stage of development and not more about the issue of avoiding the issues and problems in the individual’s life. In this phase of development, it is to be noted that all the young adults lead a life of defiance rather than that of acceptance. In addition, different individuals do different things to show the behavior changes (Arnett & Arnett, 2002). This leads to the inclusion of the theory of Piaget about life of formal operations and behaviors, about the changes occurring in life of a human being and this made it the chief organizing framework in the formation of the adolescence researches that were done in the years between 1970s and early 1980s; however, this was later abandoned due to the modernized type of researches that have evolved all through this time. This made the study of cognitive development become more dominated by other information-processing models including computational models that were brought out to the field.

Different individuals at this stage bemoan the imminent lack of attention that is paid to the normative adolescent developments that have been imminent in the recent decades. In addition, adolescents have different ways of rebelling against the lack of attention that is shown to them. It is also noted that most of the young adults at this stage of life often get upset quickly due to the lack of love as they term it. Furthermore, all the young adults get a different reaction from what they term as a plan to give them a little attention. Others find it difficult for the lives that they live because they think that their parents are too much protective and that they hinder their exploration. In life of many, there are the things that bring a change to our life and this is what adolescents learn about a typical kind of development that is seen in the adolescent growth which informs their understanding about the larger normal adolescent development stage.

In addition, many different problems that individuals experience at this level of adolescent age are mostly the ones of transitory in nature where they find it difficult to move from one stage to the other and mostly the change of their behaviors where they are aware that their behaviors must change from the childhood acts to those of the adults. These, however, are resolved naturally by the fact that the stage of beginning of a life as an adult and some things and repercussions must befall them. Some of the issues that are found include the most common ones like drug and substance abuse, lack of respect to the parents, rudeness superior complex, unemployment, and delinquency. This stage is noted as a phase that increases the rates of individual drug, substance, and alcohol usage. Another vice is unemployment which become all time higher in the individuals and also within the young and adolescent population than that is found among the adults population. However, most individuals in this stage and those who have been involved in the abuse of drugs and alcohol or have been unemployed at this stage or even commitment any delinquent acts as teenagers, mostly grow up and become a sober and law-abiding adult due to the experience during the period of growth. Unfortunately, however, very little is known of the mechanisms that reduce these issues of the adults though different researchers attach it to the acquiring of full time jobs and more specifically the marriage that ties the individual to the caring of the family and lack of time to get involved in such acts (Crouter & Booth, 2006).

At this phase of life, many individuals see it at the lowest point of one’s mental and physical weakness. It is with one’s reaction to that he/she is leaving and by realizing that he/she cannot help stopping the development. This helps the individuals to see more clearly and focus on their lives as young adults. In this case, to the young adults parent’s protection is a symbol of the futility to trying to protect the children from accessing the adult world. However, their reaction shows that their actions may be bringing a negative impact to the society. In addition, they put their attention at the centre of everything that they focus on in their lives. Consequently, researchers have realized that the act of stopping the growth of children is impossible and, hence, the parents cannot stop children from maturing and that they may act severely in order for them to achieve their set goals. This becomes the stage where an individual understands oneself and at this stage one applies his/her realization to his/her life and also decides how to face his/he own problems even if it means the consequences are going to be difficult to bear (Arnett, 2007).

There are different ways and methods of measuring and adult growth and the reliability of the adolescent in this stage this is done in the following ways:

Validity and Reliability

Validity of behaviors is a tool that denotes the extent by which a test is related to the content required. Validity in terms of behaviors of a person is used to measure something that is extremely valuable. This is obtained through the assessment on whether an individual behavior that a person does in the context of the test included in the individual’s life represents what is necessary to be assessed. Validity of assessment can be affected by various factors such as test related factors, reliability, and intervening events. Each adolescent individual always understands this that his/her live has to be put into test to give a proper individual the necessary skills to life. This is because young adults with exceptional needs require exceptional attention (Laursen & Collins, 2012).

Reliability, on the other hand, is used to measure the consistency of a behavior of the young adult. A reliable assessment produces similar results in all the conditions, situations, and testing environment. Reliability of a test can be affected by the test taker’s temporary psychological condition or his/her physical state. An adolescent requires taking note of this in order to give a proper break-through of the understanding of life and the skills to acquire in life. The researchers who conduct such researches on the development of an individual require knowing both validity and reliability since they are important when dealing with the adolescents. How valid an assessment is to the researchers depends on what is to be tested. An adolescent may be tested in one aspect and not in all the others. A good example is when a student in class is assessed on how to write and improve the handwriting and, hence, validity of the content is meaningless. This also applies to a student with some mental problems; he/she does not need to be extremely reliable. Therefore, it is essential for the researcher to know the terms and the type of the adolescents and not in the class specifically. Another example is that young adults are not especially reliable when it comes to the point of decision making and especially great decisions in life. Researchers should know that different adolescents have a different approach to a problem and, hence, this makes it difficult for them to deal with them as a group but as individuals.

Norm referenced and Criterion Referenced Testing

Norm referenced tests make a comparison of an adolescent’s performances with those of other young adults. The goal of norm referenced tests is to rank the adolescents in the question in the order of their merit and their behaviors. The highest performer compared to a class of many young adults is ranked as the number one. Criterion referenced testing, on the other hand, compares an adolescent’s performance to a given and predetermined set of standards. The objective of this assessment is not only to rank but also to demonstrate the level of a certain subject understanding. This is the most common criteria that is used in the rank of the individuals by the researchers (Toyama-Bialke, 2004).

A good example for norm based and criterion based tests, which is away from individual behaviors in the academic field, is a school situation. A researcher gives a continuous assessment test to rank the students in the class depending on the marks for each paper. This is a norm referenced assessment. The evaluation of students is made because of, probably, college entry or award giving. In the same class, the teacher may decide to set a given score, which every student must gain. This helps the teacher to know how the certain subject has been learned due to the results. Such kinds of results cannot be ranked and are given as pass or fail. These tests can be used to make decisions on job entry licensure or certification (Kerig, Schulz, & Hauser, 2012).

Consumption of alcohol is a vice in the adolescents though it is legal for persons over a certain age referred to as the majority age. This is the age of adulthood according to most states. The laws on alcohol regulate consumption of alcohol by the adolescents. In this regard, the various joints that deal in the sale of alcohol have restrictions to sell their products only to adults. Learning institutions like colleges have restrictions that provide guidelines on the consumption of alcohol within the institutions’ premises. There are states that prohibit hosting of underage parties that involve drinking alcohol beverages. However, there are states that create an exception to the alcoholic laws. They allow underage drinking of alcoholic beverages by adolescents when it is furnished by parents or guardians. The laws on alcohol consumption by adolescents vary from state to state with some states having certain exceptions.

Ethical issues in consumption of alcohol are vital in guiding the adolescents towards alcohol consumption when they get of age. Responsible drinking is necessary in eliminating misconduct upon consuming. Parents should also teach their children to avoid consumption and the consequences of alcohol. This guidance is necessary since most adolescents when they get to colleges often engage in this kind of behavior. Bar and restaurant attendants should be barred from selling alcohol to adolescents. They should uphold the responsibility by ensuring they follow the law regarding the prohibition of alcohol to adolescents. Advertisement of alcoholic products should put emphasis on the illegality of alcohol consumption by adolescents. There should be an emphasis on the damage of alcohol to adolescents.

The joints that engage in the sale of alcohol beverages should undertake constant training for their employees in order to uphold the values of these businesses. Teaching employees to be careful and mindful of adolescents will help in eliminating the outlawed behavior of drinking adolescents. Employees should understand that it is their responsibility to ensure consumption of alcohol is only for the overage (Dallas County Community College District, & Coastline Community College, 1990).

Outsourcing of some of the undertakings of the alcoholic beverages will assist in curbing the vice of underage drinking. A business may engage the services of bouncers to ensure there is strict observance of the drinking age. According to management, allowing of the underaged into these joints creates a negative impression of the business among the public. Various states have laws that restrict the sale of alcohol to the under-aged. Failure to observe these laws may lead to the authority taking legal actions against these businesses. This may result in the closure of the business and imposition of fines on the business (Zupancic Colneric, & Horvat, 2011).

Sale of alcohol to adolescents amounts to ruining of morals within the society. The society will highly disregard the sale of alcohol to their children and may prompt legal action to be taken on the business. These businesses also loose trust within the society as they become an impediment towards the establishment of a morally upright society.

The businesses dealing in the sale of alcohol should have responsibility of care to their clients. They should not sell alcohol to adolescents to further their interests of maximizing profits. They should take into considerations the harm they cause to the adolescents by selling them alcohol. These joints should also indulge professional integrity and competence. This will ensure responsible behavior by the attendants while attending to their clients. Advertising of alcohol products contributes to the drinking behavior by adolescents. The advertisers depict the goodness of taking alcohol, but less emphasis is made on the consequences of using alcohol beverages. Proper approach should be established to eliminate this vice.

In adolescents, there is a tendency to defy rules and orders results from an individual’s poor decision making practice. Most of the teens are affected in decision making and are devoid of an ability to make justifiable decisions, which results from impatience in reasoning carefully and deeply through issues; they term them as an impulsive example of inability to defy their friends and exercise autonomy in the right direction.

In addition, most of the teens do not think about their future; this is because they mostly dispense with considerations about the long term consequences of the way they conduct themselves. Moreover, a care free attitude resonates from a majority of adolescents with minimal thought or care of where current decisions will lead them in the future. It is notable that majority of adolescents are known to give in to peer pressure easily; teens are known to be at an identity stage where doing the things that their friends like is equated to identity definition, which overshadows their autonomy. As such, most of the crimes committed by adolescents are due to pressure from friends, the desire to belong and show off to them (Hall, 1899). Some of the characteristics found in the adolescents include:

Poor decision making: adolescents make decisions about their lives that are questionable. This may be due to ignorance or they don not care attitude that is common among the adolescents. In this case, peers’ pressure becomes a common factor and everybody wants to be associated with what the friend is doing. Therefore, they are less able to process data and their future planning thoroughly, quickly, and thoughtfully when put in the real world and life situations. In this situation, the youths become poor decision makers since they don not feel comfortable in consulting on the issues they do not understand. The ability of adolescents to make good decisions in life situations which require a through, quick, great, fast, and well-thought out plan and a response is sometimes not a good decision in a way of planning in their lives such that whether to steal with a friend or not to go due to the pressure given the friend. Every individual gets the point of making the decisions of the life and also the plan in making a good life in the future. This is because adolescents may not have the individual ability in processing the ramifications and the information of the life that requires quick action.

Less thinking of the future: adolescents think less of their lives in terms of what they want to end up in than adults when they want to consider their long term repercussions of the actions that they do. In addition, young adults are likely to think of the present than of the future. Hence, they end up reasoning on the short term other than on the long term of the life of the adolescent. The thinking, made by the adolescents, is less likely to bring a long term solution of the life of a human being and more so to the person making it. In addition, individuals are seen to make decisions that are self centered and this makes it a bad decision. Researchers conclude that different individuals make different decisions depending on the person taking it.

Effect from peer pressure: Young adults become easily influenced by their counterparts and their lives, it is noted that they pay greater attention to, spend great times and enjoy more time with, who become more associated to their friends than the adults are attached with their friends. In addition, they are more likely to make greater decisions in life or even alter the way they behave and conduct themselves in response with the peers’ pressure and the way their close friends behave on the issue of giving their friends a higher rank in their lives. Usage of drugs or initiating a risky behavior becomes easy when done in a group but very difficult when being done individually.


In conclusion, therefore, it can be noted that due to peer pressure and the stage of life of an individual, many young adults find it easy to cooperate with friends than they do with their parents and also with the adults. Adults as seen behave in a more cautious manner than the adolescents even though they had to pass through that stage at one point of their lives. Therefore, behavior change is imminent in the lives of the adolescents as they graduate into the adulthood (Henault, 2006). Issues to do with drug and substance can be well avoided through proper counseling and the guidance given by the parents. In addition, it is noted that choice of friends plays a major role in the behavior and character formation of a person and, hence, it is necessary to make good friends. Adolescents are delicate individuals in terms of life formation and, therefore, they are to be helped in making future plans.


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