Adolescent Development

Adolescent Development


For this 8–10-page assessment, you will explore the shifts in adolescent cognitive and social-emotional development, with an emphasis on identity development and common problems or concerns that emerge during adolescence. You will also explore different theories that will require you to challenge or support a position on the validity of identity crisis.

Note: The assessments in this course follow the successive stages of lifespan development, so you are strongly encouraged to complete them in sequence.

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As children emerge from middle childhood into adolescence, there is a shift in their cognitive development, as well as in their social-emotional development that is reflected in their search for identity. In addition, the onset of adolescence is accompanied by biological and physical changes. Such issues challenge you to analyze and increase your understanding of the adolescent’s world.

This course provides an opportunity to examine your own views on lifespan development and develop your own approach based on your specialization or professional area of interest. As you work through each of the assessments, you are encouraged to use the Lifespan Development Resource Worksheet to organize your thoughts about lifespan development and keep track of the theory and research relevant to each stage of development. In Assessment 5, you will synthesize your knowledge of the various aspects of lifespan development in a comprehensive approach based on your specialization as well as the theory and research you have completed for this course. If you use the Lifespan Development Resource Worksheet consistently throughout each assessment, you will find it to be a helpful resource in completing the Assessment 5.

By successfully completing this assessment, you will demonstrate your proficiency in the following course competencies and assessment criteria:

Competency 1: Assess the various concepts or approaches to lifespan development.

o Analyze the effects of physical changes to the body and brain on adolescent behavior and development.

o Assess the role of culture, including race and ethnicity, and the influences of family, peers, and society on adolescent identify development.

Competency 2: Assess the seminal theories and current scholarly research related to a specific approach of human development across the lifespan.

o Assess the efficacy of theories and research having implications for understanding adolescents’ cognitive and academic approaches to their lives.

o Evaluate the efficacy of theories related to adolescent identity development.

Competency 3: Evaluate how an approach to lifespan development may be applied in different specializations.

o Evaluate the effectiveness of theory- and research-based intervention efforts that support optimal adolescent development.

o Assess the implications of theory and research findings for possible later developmental concerns that may emerge in professional practice with adolescents and young adults.

o Analyze a common problem associated with adolescence that is the focus of professional intervention efforts.

Competency 4: Communicate in a manner that is scholarly, professional, and consistent with expectations for members of the psychological professions.

o Communicate in a manner that is scholarly, professional, and consistent with expectations for members of the psychological professions.

Questions to Consider

To deepen your understanding, you are encouraged to consider the questions below and discuss them with a fellow learner, a work associate, an interested friend, or a member of the business community.

What does the research say about the apparent inevitability of conflict between parents and adolescents?

What qualities will help a family lessen the conflict between parents and adolescents?

What does the research say about possible reasons behind adolescents’ behavior?

How can you use your knowledge of adolescent behavior to work more effectively with adolescents in your professional pursuit?

Should juvenile offenders be treated differently from adults? Why or why not?

What issues are brought about by ethnic and cultural factors, as adolescents try to develop a personal identity?

What parenting practices can enhance adolescent social development?

What are the roles of parents, siblings, and peers during this developmental period?

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Suggested Resources

The following optional resources are provided to support you in completing the assessment or to provide a helpful context. For additional resources, refer to the Research Resources and Supplemental Resources in the left navigation menu of your courseroom.

Capella Resources

Click the links provided to view the following resources:

Assessment 4 Context.

Lifespan Development Resource Worksheet.

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Library Resources

The following e-books or articles from the Capella University Library are linked directly in this course:

Willoughby, T., Chalmers, H., Busseri, M., Bosacki, S., Dupont, D., Marini, Z.,…Woloshyn, V. (2007). Adolescent non-involvement in multiple risk behaviors: An indicator of successful development? Applied Developmental Science, 11(2), 89–103.

Blakemore, S. J., & Choudhury, S. (2006). Development of the adolescent brain: Implications for executive function and social cognition. Journal of Child Psychology & Psychiatry, 47, 296–312.

Arnett, J. J. (2000). Emerging adulthood: A theory of development from the late teens through the twenties. American Psychologist, 55(5), 469–480.

Course Library Guide

A Capella University library guide has been created specifically for your use in this course. You are encouraged to refer to the resources in the PSY-FP7210 – Lifespan Development Library Guide to help direct your research.

Internet Resources

Access the following resources by clicking the links provided. Please note that URLs change frequently. Permissions for the following links have been either granted or deemed appropriate for educational use at the time of course publication.

UNICEF. (2011). Adolescent voices. Retrieved from

VideoJug Corporation Limited (Producer). (2011). High school-age learning [Video]. Retrieved from

o Interview with Louis Pugliese.

o Video Duration: 12:46.

Video Transcript.

VideoJug Corporation Limited (Producer). (2011). High school attention span [Video]. Retrieved from

o Interview with Louis Pugliese.

o Video Duration: 2:35.

Video Transcript.

UNICEF (Producer). (2011). The state of the world’s children 2011 – Adolescence: An age of opportunity [Video]. Retrieved from

o Video Duration: 3:38.

Video Transcript.

The Ontario Educational Communications Authority (TVO) (Producer). (2011). Patricia Churchland: Neuromorality [Video]. Retrieved from

o Video Duration: 25:34.

Video Transcript.

ABC TV Service (Producer). (2005, July 28). Catalyst: Teen brain [Video]. Retrieved from

o Video Duration: 12:23.

o Click the video link for transcript provided by producer.

Bookstore Resources

The resource listed below is relevant to the topics and assessments in this course and is not required. Unless noted otherwise, this resource is available for purchase from the Capella University Bookstore. When searching the bookstore, be sure to look for the Course ID with the specific –FP (FlexPath) course designation.

Broderick, P. C., & Blewitt, P. (2010). The life span: Human development for helping professionals (4th ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.


Assessment Instructions

Write an 8–10-page paper that highlights key theories and research applicable to adolescent development. In each of the following steps, use a minimum of 2–3 recent articles from scholarly, peer-reviewed journals to support your main ideas.

Step 1: Introduction

Briefly describe the physical changes to the body and brain that accompany adolescence.

Analyze the effects of such changes on adolescent behavior and development. Include:

Behavioral changes.

Problems caused by early or late maturation.

Changes in brain development that can affect social cognition.

Step 2: Cognitive Development

Describe Piaget’s formal operations stage of cognitive development, and consider the associated, characteristic shifts in adolescent thinking. Address the following:

What are the characteristics of formal operations?

How does this kind of thinking differ from concrete operational thinking?

How does this new way of thinking affect an adolescent’s academic abilities?

To what extent do Piaget and current research contribute to understanding adolescents’ cognitive and academic approaches to their lives?

Step 3: Identity Development

Evaluate the following theories that address the important construct of adolescent identity development. Include the following:

In Erikson’s theoretical perspective, describe the stage that is key in understanding adolescents’ personality development.

Describe Marcia’s theory on adolescent identity development.

Describe the role that parents can play in this period that will have a positive effect on their adolescent’s identity development.

Using Marcia’s theory, what would a psychology professional in your specialization or area of interest suggest regarding the development of a mature identity?

Describe Seltzer’s theory of adolescent identity formation.

Step 4: Identity Crisis

Present opposing viewpoints on identity crisis. Challenge or support a position on the validity of identity crisis.

Determine the role of ethnicity in adolescent identity development, and explain the influence of family, peers, society, and culture as adolescents try to develop a personal identity.

Step 5: Developmental Problems During Adolescence

Locate and critique two current research articles from recent, scholarly, peer-reviewed journals that address a common problem or concern that emerges in adolescence as a result of changes in physical growth, cognitive abilities, and social contexts. (Examples of common problems or concerns might include risky sexual behavior, teenage pregnancy, suicide, eating disorders, and so on.)

Many large-scale interventions have been designed to reduce problem behaviors or to increase positive behaviors in adolescence. Extend your exploration of the problem by locating recent research or examples in the literature that address some of the typical characteristics of the least effective and the most effective of these intervention or prevention programs.

Evaluate the effectiveness of such intervention efforts.

Explain how a psychology professional in your specialization or area of interest could address the problem.

Assess the implications of theory and research findings for possible later developmental concerns that may emerge in professional practice with adolescents and young adults.

Additional Requirements

Written communication: Communicate in a manner that is scholarly, professional, and consistent with expectations for members of the psychological professions. Your writing should be:

Concise, balanced, and logically organized.

Free of errors in grammar and mechanics.

APA formatting: Comply with APA (sixth edition) style and formatting guidelines.

Length of paper: Your paper should be 8–10 pages in length (double-spaced), not including references.



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