PSY 104: Child and Adolescent Development

Week 5 - Instructor Guidance


Our "identity" is made up of many parts...much the way separate pieces in a jigsaw puzzle make up a single picture.

Identity is the "big issue" in least according to Erikson.

But how does this develop...well, it has been developing all along...

Learning Outcomes

This week students will:

  • Connect theoretical concepts associated with the "identity crisis" of adolescence to the formation of self-concept.
  • Analyze psychosocial factors contributing to typical adolescent development versus atypical adolescent development.
  • Establish through evidence-based research factors affecting the mental health of children and adolescents.


In this section you will find my own thoughts and teaching on the subject matter. This does not substitute for the assigned and suggested course readings and other materials.

Reporting Findings

One key skill that you are getting out of this course is how to look at peer reviewed journal articles and get statistics or "results" from them. When you are doing active research we do a lot more than just look at the "Results" and "Discussion" sections of journal articles. We analyze if the research was conducted appropriately, we look at the sampling, we determine how we can generalize the results, etc.

This week you are going to expose yourself to at least two research articles which report research findings or statistics from the US and one other country. The practical use of this skill is that when you are in your career you may need to get this type of information for a presentation or some other purpose.

For example:

In the example post that I gave below I acted as if I was a teacher in Jr. High and that I was asked to do a presentation to a group of parents. Because of my audience I chose to do a presentation on parenting styles and their impact on the kids. My research led me to some interesting findings related to parenting styles and both learning achievement and factors such as self-concept, depression, and self-esteem.

Nearly any parent can relate to this...and I can show them how what they do at home can directly impact how their kids turn out.

Put yourself in a similar situation as you approach this first discussion!

Identity Crisis

According to Erikson, adolescence is all about identity...well, in fact, all of Erikson's theory is about IDENTITY! But things get pretty intense during adolescence.

It is one of the times where "Who am I?" is often asked (there are other times we ask this question too)

To really look at the concept of "identity crisis" I urge you to familiarize yourself with the work of James Marcia.

Click HERE to visit a page that does a great job presenting Marcia's theory!

The Importance of Play

Click HERE to read an article published on titled "Why is play important? Cognitive development, language development, Literacy Development"

Consider This

In what ways does PLAY continue to be important across the lifespan? Do we need to continue to play in order to keep our minds active and creative?


Check out Dr. Stuart Brown's TED talk on play!


In this section you will find any specific instructions or ideas I may have for you to support your graded work. Please read the instructions for each task in the course as well as the information I have here.

Discussion - Statistical Information

This is an interesting discussion...this is more about finding reliable resources than it is about analyzing these statistics. Here is what I would like you to do. Find TWO statistics/"results of research" for ONE of the topics listed. One statistic should be from the US and the other should be from another country. The statistics should relate to similar concepts.

You are looking to see the impact of that topic on adolescent development so your search terms should be specific to this quest.


Statistic 1

According to Nyarko (2011) authoritative parenting on the part of fathers and mothers was found to be significantly correlated to student achievement in school among seniors in three high schools located in central Ghana.

Statistic 2

According to Milevsky, Schlechter, Netter, and Keehn (2007), parenting styles are related to adolescent well being. They found that authoritative parenting was related to higher self-esteem, lower rates of depression, and greater life satisfaction. The impact of specific other kinds of parenting is also examined.

Mark K.


Milevsky, A., Schlechter, M., Netter, S., & Keehn, D. (2007). Maternal and paternal parenting styles in adolescents: Associations with self-esteem, depression, and life satisfaction. Journal of Child and Family Studies. 16. 39-47.

Nyarko, N. (2011). The influence of authoritative parenting styles on adolescent academic achievement. American Journal of Social and Management Sciences. 2(3). 278-282.

Notice that I simply stated the results that were found from the study. In your reply post comment on the two results reported and how they might relate to each other through cultural similarities and/or differences.

Discussion - Play and Self Concept

This question poses two very interesting concepts in the context of play behavior. We have already discussed that play is an important socializing tool...however, we also realize that it is critical for the development of a sense of self and, relatedly, self-esteem.

Consider the concept of "Looking Glass Self" when thinking of your response to this discussion. Look up the concept on the web to familiarize yourself with it and then apply it to an understanding of the interaction between play, peer perspectives, and cognitive/social/physical development.


According to the National Center on Health, Physical Activity, and Disability ( play has an important role in the development of children.

According to this site, play has emotional benefits (including increased self-confidence and self-esteem), provides kids a way to learn to express emotions in socially acceptable ways, and provides a real opportunity to experience happiness and joy (

Play provides children the opportunity to learn new physical, emotional, and psychological skills along with their peers. Mainella, Agate, and Clark (2005), examine both the prevalent neglect of play in our society and its impact on development, and reviews a number of specific outdoor programs including Jr. Ranger Programs, "Let's Move Outside", "America's Great Outdoors", "Natural Playground and Play Space Design", "Children and Nature Network", and the "US Play Coalition" which have attempted to incorporate programs of outdoor play to counteract the negative aspect of play deprivation.

Mark K.


Mainella, F.P., Agate, J.R., & Clark, B.S. (2011). Outdoor-based play and reconnection to nature: A neglected pathway to positive youth development. New Directions for Youth Development. 130. 89-104


Final Paper

Here it is...your final paper in the class!

I would recommend that you approach your paper using the Final Paper instructions. In a very structured way you should construct your paper as follows:

  • Title page (including all the elements listed in the instructions
  • Introductory paragraph
    • This paragraph starts with some general statements about theory itself and then clearly identifies the thesis (purpose of the paper) with a single thesis statement.
    • Essentially you tell your reader what you are about to write about.
  • Identify 3 Theories
    • Note: Remember that theories usually have names associated with Piaget, Erikson, Skinner...etc. Concepts such as Nature/Nurture and Continuity are NOT theories. Neither are concepts like "physical development", "genetics", or "psychological stages"...these are NOT theories.
    • For each theory:
      • Provide the name and a summary of the theory.
      • Provide an example of the use of the theory in mental health treatment of children or adolescents.
    • Theory Summary - related to all three theories...
      • Compare and contrast each one in terms of how they relate to physical, cognitive, and psychosocial development
      • Compare and contrast each one in terms of how they explain normal and abnormal development.
    • Make sure you support your statements with PEER REVIEWED articles or very authoritative websites.
  • Conclusions
    • Restate why you have written this paper.
    • Provide a brief review of all you have covered in the paper.
    • Draw conclusions as to why this information may be important for your reader to know.
  • References Page
    • This page should be the last page in your paper.
    • Cite all your sources in APA format (look it up).
    • All the citations should be double spaced in hanging-indent paragraph extra spaces in-between sources.

If you follow this outline you will do very well in this paper!