Jane (a hypothetical person), is an adolescent woman aged 14 years old, and currently in junior high school. She comes from a family of 6, and is the only female child in that family. For this reason, Jane has had challenging experiences in relation to adolescence changes, and the only person to whom she can comfortably go to for advice and assistance is her mum. Over the years, she has had multiple friends both in school and within the neighborhood. There has been a significant shift in the type of friends she keeps over the years, probably due to the realization of her intended path in life and the contributions that her close relations with others has on those plans over time. During her adolescence years, Jane has continuously experienced physical changes, which continue to influence her psychosocial interactions including her relationship with others.
Some of the most pronounced changes experienced by Jane are in accordance with the adolescence physical changes discussed by Berk (2018). First Jane experienced the broadening of her hips, which has made her look like a young women. Additionally, she has grown some breasts, although this appeared to start much later compared to the experiences that her classmates had. Another change experienced is the appearance of hormonal breakouts. Initially, Jane was significantly concerned about the breakouts, but she has learnt to cope with them through better skin-care regimes. She began experiencing her menstrual flow at 12, and was previously concerned about their ability to affect her daily activities since she previously had terrible crams during her periods.
These physical changes have had pronounced effects on how Jane perceives herself, especially on her sexuality. For instance, Jane now considers herself old enough to date and was recently authorized by her parents to begin dating. However, her parents have explained the possible impacts of irresponsible behavior ad she is quite aware of the ramifications that certain negative behaviors would have on her personality and possibly her well being. During the progressing physical changes, one of the most notable experiences was Jane’s concern about being accepted in social groupings. This began when Jane noticed that most of her friends were growing breasts when she still did not have any. With the realization that the development process differs from one person to another as discussed by Beal and Crockett (2010), Jane understood why they had different physical experiences. There is also the constant issue of self-awareness and the tendency to seek approval. The realization that she is now a young adult has made Jane continuously desire to be accepted by peers, so that she can be included in their rendezvous. She has also begun using make-up more actively in a bid to enhance her appearance, particularly due to the hormonal breakouts she has been experiencing. Elkind (1967) asserted that such behavior among teenagers is often considered as egocentrism and can influence the willingness to collaborate with others. Peers tend to desire to be around those with whom they share certain traits, behaviors, or experiences.
Through the changes experienced by Jane, culture has played only a slight role in influencing the interpersonal relationships with others. According to Thomas et al. (2015), cultural expectations influence outcomes such as the choice of friends and activities during adolescence and may cause stress and depression among adolescents. Being an urban American woman, Jane has been significantly affected by the culture, as it is somewhat liberal. Compared to other more conservative cultures, the range of activities in which Jane is allowed to participate is wider. She is thus more at liberty to interact more extensively with her friends and peers than would have been allowed in other cultures.
Beal, S. J., & Crockett, L. J. (2010). Adolescents’ occupational and educational aspirations and expectations: Links to high school activities and adult educational attainment. Developmental Psychology, 46(1), 258–265. Retrieved from digitalcommons.unl.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1490&context=psychfacpub
Berk, L. E. (2018). Development through the lifespan (7th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.
Elkind, D. (1967). Egocentrism in adolescence. Child Development, 38(4), 1025–1034. Retrieved from www.jstor.org/stable/1127100
Thomas, A. A., Monahan, K. M., Lukowski, A. A., & Cauffman, E. C. (2015). Sleep problems across development: A pathway to adolescent risk taking through working memory. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 44(2), 447–464. doi:10.1007/s10964-014-0179-7