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Adolescence

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Eleventh Edition

Adolescence
Laurence Steinberg
Temple University


ADOLESCENCE, ELEVENTH EDITION
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Identifiers: LCCN 2015040572 | ISBN 9781259567827 (alk. paper)
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mheducation.com/highered


For Wendy and Ben


About the Author

© Axel Griesch

LAURENCE STEINBERG,  Ph.D., is the Distinguished University

vi

Professor and Laura H. Carnell Professor of Psychology at Temple
University. He graduated from Vassar College in 1974 and from Cornell
University in 1977, where he received his Ph.D. in human development and
family studies. He is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association,
the Association for Psychological Science, and the American Academy
of Arts and Sciences and former President of the Society for Research
on Adolescence and the Division of Developmental Psychology of the
American Psychological Association. Dr. Steinberg has been on the editorial boards of many major journals, including Developmental Psychology
and Child Development, where he served as Associate Editor. He chaired
the National Academies’ Committee on the Science of Adolescence and has
been a frequent consultant to state and federal agencies and lawmakers on
child labor, secondary education, and juvenile justice policy. His work was
cited numerous times by the U.S. Supreme Court in its landmark decisions
that abolished the juvenile death penalty and mandatory sentences of life
without parole for juveniles.
Dr. Steinberg is one of the most highly cited scholars in the field of
developmental psychology. His own research has focused on a range of topics in the study of contemporary adolescence, including parent–adolescent
relationships, risk taking and decision making, mental health, adolescent
brain development, school-year employment, academic achievement, and
juvenile crime and justice. He has been the recipient of numerous honors,
including the John P. Hill Award for Outstanding Contributions to the
Study of Adolescence, given by the Society for Research on Adolescence;
the Society for Adolescent Medicine’s Gallagher Lectureship; and, from
the American Psychological Association, the Urie Bronfenbrenner Award
for Lifetime Contribution to Developmental Psychology in the Service
of Science and Society, the Award for Distinguished Contributions to
Research in Public Policy, and the APA Presidential Citation. In 2009, he
was named as the first recipient of the Klaus J. Jacobs Research Prize for
Productive Youth Development.
Dr. Steinberg also has been recognized for excellence in research and
teaching by the University of California, the University of Wisconsin, and
Temple University, where he was honored in 1994 as one of that university’s Great Teachers. He has taught undergraduate and graduate courses
in adolescence for nearly 40 years and has served as the doctoral advisor to
more than 35 students, many of whom have gone on to become influential
scholars in their own right in the field of adolescence. In 2013, he received
the Elizabeth Hurlock Beckman Award, a national prize given to college
professors who have “inspired their former students to achieve greatness.”


www.mhhe.com/steinberg11e



In addition to Adolescence, Dr. Steinberg is the author or co-author
of approximately 400 scholarly articles on growth and development during the teenage years, as well as the books You and Your Adolescent;
When Teenagers Work: The Psychological and Social Costs of Adolescent
Employment (with Ellen Greenberger); Crossing Paths: How Your Child’s
Adolescence Triggers Your Own Crisis (with Wendy Steinberg); Beyond
the Classroom: Why School Reform Has Failed and What Parents Need
to Do (with B. Bradford Brown and Sanford Dornbusch); The 10 Basic
Principles of Good Parenting (which has been published in 10 languages);
Rethinking Juvenile Justice (with Elizabeth Scott); and Age of Opportunity:
Lessons From the New Science of Adolescence. He is co-editor of Studying
Minority Adolescents: Conceptual, Methodological, and Theoretical Issues
(with Vonnie McLoyd) and the Handbook of Adolescent Psychology (with
Richard Lerner).

About the Author

vii


Brief Contents
About the Author  vi
A Note from the Author  xiv
Preface  xv

Introduction  The Study of Adolescent Development  1

PART 1
The Fundamental Changes of Adolescence  13
1 Biological Transitions  13
2 Cognitive Transitions  42
3 Social Transitions  69
PART 2
The Contexts of Adolescence  95
4Families 95
5 Peer Groups  122
6Schools 152
7 Work, Leisure, and Media  181
PART 3
Psychosocial Development During Adolescence  208
8Identity 208
9Autonomy 235
10Intimacy 260
11Sexuality 290
12Achievement 320
13 Psychosocial Problems in Adolescence  347

McGraw-Hill Education Psychology’s APA Documentation Style Guide
Glossary  G1
References  R1
Name Index  I1
Subject Index  I24

viii


Contents

About the Author  vi
A Note from the Author  xiv
Preface  xv

Introduction
The Study of Adolescent Development  1
The Boundaries of Adolescence  3
Early, Middle, and Late Adolescence  4

A Framework for Studying Adolescent
Development 4
The Fundamental Changes of Adolescence  4
The Contexts of Adolescence  5
Psychosocial Development in Adolescence  7

Theoretical Perspectives on Adolescence  8
Biosocial Theories  8
Organismic Theories  9
Learning Theories  9
Sociological Theories  10
Historical and Anthropological Theories  11

Stereotypes Versus Scientific Study  11

PART 1
The Fundamental Changes
of Adolescence 13
Chapter 1
Biological Transitions  13
Puberty: An Overview  14
The Endocrine System  14
What Triggers Puberty?  16
How Hormones Influence Adolescent
Development 17

Somatic Development  18
Changes in Stature and the Dimensions
of the Body 18
Sexual Maturation  19

The Timing and Tempo of Puberty  21

Variations in the Timing and Tempo
of Puberty 22
Genetic and Environmental Influences
on Pubertal Timing  23

The Psychological and Social Impact
of Puberty 26
The Immediate Impact of Puberty  26
The Impact of Specific Pubertal Events  30
The Impact of Early or Late Maturation  30

Obesity and Eating Disorders  34
Obesity 34
Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia, and Binge Eating
Disorder 36

Physical Health and Health Care
in Adolescence 40
The Paradox of Adolescent Health  40
Causes of Mortality in Adolescence  40
Promoting Adolescent Health  41

Chapter 2
Cognitive Transitions  42
Changes in Cognition  43
Thinking About Possibilities  43
Thinking About Abstract Concepts  45
Thinking About Thinking  45
Thinking in Multiple Dimensions  46
Adolescent Relativism  47

Theoretical Perspectives on Adolescent
Thinking 47
The Piagetian View of Adolescent
Thinking 47
The Information-Processing View of Adolescent
Thinking 48

The Adolescent Brain  51
How Your Brain Works  52
The Age of Opportunity  54
What Changes in Adolescence?  55
Implications for Adolescent Behavior  60
ix


x

Contents

Individual Differences in Intelligence
in Adolescence 60
The Measurement of IQ  60
Types of Intelligence  61
Culture and Intelligence  61

Adolescent Thinking in Context  62
Social Cognition in Adolescence  62
Adolescent Risk Taking  64

Chapter 3
Social Transitions  69
Social Redefinition and Psychosocial
Development 70
The Elongation of Adolescence  71
Adolescence as a Social Invention  72
The “Invention” of Adolescence  73
Emerging Adulthood: A New Stage
of Life or a Luxury of the Middle
Class? 74

Changes in Status During
Adolescence 77
Drawing a Legal Boundary  77
Inconsistencies in Adolescents’ Legal
Status 78

The Process of Social Redefinition  79
Common Practices in the Process of
Social Redefinition  79

Variations in Social Transitions  80
Variations in Clarity  81
Variations in Continuity  84

The Transition into Adulthood in
Contemporary Society  87
Special Transitional Problems of Poor
and Minority Youth  88
The Effects of Poverty on the Transition
into Adulthood 89
What Can Be Done to Ease the
Transition? 89

The Influence of Neighborhood
Conditions on Adolescent
Development 90
Processes of Neighborhood
Influences 92

PART 2
The Contexts of Adolescence  95
Chapter 4
Families 95
Is Conflict Between Teenagers and Parents
Inevitable? 96
The Generation Gap: Fact and Fiction  96
What Do Adolescents and Parents
Usually Fight About?  97

Family Relationships at Adolescence  98
A Time of Reorganization and Change  98
The Adolescent’s Parents at Midlife  99
Changes in Family Needs and Functions  100
Transformations in Family Relations  101
Sex Differences in Family Relationships  103

Family Relationships and Adolescent
Development 104
Parenting Styles and Their Effects  105
Ethnic Differences in Parenting
Practices 108
Autonomy and Attachment in the
Adolescent’s Family  109
Adolescents’ Relationships with Siblings  109

Behavioral Genetics and Adolescent
Development 110
Genetic and Environmental Influences on
Adolescent Development  111
Why Are Siblings Often So Different?  111

The Adolescent’s Family in a Changing
Society 112
The Changed and Changing Nature of
Family Life  112
Adolescents and Divorce  114
The Specific Impact of Marital Conflict  115
The Longer-Term Effects of Divorce  116
Custody, Contact, and Conflict following
Divorce 116
Remarriage 117
Economic Stress and Poverty  118
Special Family Forms  120

The Importance of the Family in Adolescent
Development 121


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Chapter 5
Peer Groups  122
The Origins of Adolescent Peer Groups in
Contemporary Society  124
Changes in the Size of the Youth Population  124
Is There a Separate Youth Culture?  125

The Nature of Adolescent Peer Groups  127
Changes in Peer Groups during
Adolescence 127
Cliques and Crowds  128
Changes in Clique and Crowd Structure Over
Time 130

Adolescents and Their Crowds  133
The Social Map of Adolescence  133
Crowds as Reference Groups  133

Adolescents and Their Cliques  135
Similarity among Clique Members  135
Common Interests among Friends  137
Similarity between Friends: Selection or
Socialization? 140

Popularity and Rejection in Adolescent Peer
Groups 142
Determinants of Popularity and Rejection  142
Relational Aggression  145
Victimization and Harassment  147

The Peer Group and Psychosocial
Development 151

Chapter 6
Schools 152
The Broader Context of U.S. Secondary
Education 154
The Origins of Secondary Education  154
School Reform: Past and Present  155
What Should Schools Teach?  157
Education in the Inner Cities  158

The Social Organization of Schools  158
School Size and Class Size  158
Age Grouping and School Transitions  160
Tracking 163
Ethnic Composition  167
Alternatives to Public Schools  167

Contents

Classroom Climate  169
The Best Classroom Climate for Adolescents  169
Teacher Expectations and Student
Performance 170
The Importance of Student Engagement  171
School Violence  174

Beyond High School  176
The College-Bound  176
The Non-College-Bound  178

Schools and Adolescent Development  179
Characteristics of Good Schools  179
The Effects of School on Adolescent
Development 179

Chapter 7
Work, Leisure, and Media  181
Adolescents’ Free Time in Contemporary
Society 182
Patterns of Time Use in Contemporary
America 182
Patterns of Time Use in Other Countries  183

Adolescents and Work  184
The Rise and Fall of the Student Worker  184
Teenage Employment in Other Nations  185
The Adolescent Workplace Today  186
Employment and Adolescent Development  186
Youth Unemployment  189

Adolescents and Leisure  190
Adolescents’ Free Time and Their Moods  190
Structured Leisure Activities  191
Unstructured Leisure Time  193
Promoting Positive Youth Development  195

Adolescents, Media, and the Internet  196
Patterns of Media Use  196
Theories of Media Influence and Use  198
Adolescents’ Exposure to Controversial
Media Content  200
Electronic Media and Adolescent
Development 203
Mass Media and Adolescent Girls’
Body Image  206
The Adolescent Consumer  206

Free Time and Adolescent Development  207

xi


xii

Contents

PART 3
Psychosocial Development During
Adolescence 208
Chapter 8
Identity 208
Identity as an Adolescent Issue  209
Changes in Self-Conceptions  210
Changes in the Content and Structure
of Self-Conceptions 210
Dimensions of Personality in Adolescence  212

Changes in Self-Esteem  213
Stability and Changes in Self-Esteem  213
Group Differences in Self-Esteem  215
Antecedents and Consequences of High
Self-Esteem 218

The Adolescent Identity Crisis  219
Erikson’s Theoretical Framework  219
Identity Versus Identity Diffusion  219
The Social Context of Identity
Development 220
Resolving the Identity Crisis  221
Problems in Identity Development  221

Research on Identity Development  223
Determining an Adolescent’s Identity
Status 223
Studying Identity Development Over Time  224

Identity and Ethnicity  225
The Development of Ethnic Identity  226
Discrimination and Its Effects  228
Multiethnic Adolescents  230

Identity and Gender  231
Gender-Role Development  232
Gender-Role Socialization
During Adolescence  232
Masculinity and Femininity  233

Chapter 9
Autonomy 235
Autonomy as an Adolescent Issue  237
The Development of Emotional Autonomy  238
Emotional Autonomy and Detachment  238
Emotional Autonomy and Individuation  239

Research on Emotional Autonomy  239
Emotional Autonomy and Parenting
Practices 241

The Development of Behavioral
Autonomy 243
Changes in Decision-Making Abilities  243
When Do Adolescents Make Decisions
as Well as Adults?  244
Changes in Susceptibility to Influence  245
Ethnic and Cultural Differences in
Expectations for Autonomy  248

The Development of Cognitive
Autonomy 249
Moral Development During Adolescence  249
Prosocial Reasoning, Prosocial Behavior, and
Volunteerism 252
Political Thinking During Adolescence  255
Religious Beliefs During Adolescence  256

Chapter 10
Intimacy 260
Intimacy as an Adolescent Issue  262
Theoretical Perspectives on Adolescent
Intimacy 262
Sullivan’s Theory of Interpersonal
Development 263
Interpersonal Development during
Adolescence 263
Attachment in Adolescence  264

The Development of Intimacy in
Adolescence 268
Changes in the Nature of Friendship  268
Changes in the Display of Intimacy  269
Sex Differences in Intimacy  271
Changes in the Targets of Intimacy  273
Friendships with the Other Sex  277

Dating and Romantic Relationships  279
Dating and the Development of
Intimacy 280
The Development of Dating
Relationships 282
The Impact of Dating on Adolescent
Development 284

Intimacy and Psychosocial
Development 288


www.mhhe.com/steinberg11e



Chapter 11
Sexuality 290
Sexuality as an Adolescent Issue  291

Contents

Occupational Achievement  342
The Development of Occupational Plans  342
Influences on Occupational Choices  343

Sexual Activity During Adolescence  292
Stages of Sexual Activity  293
Sexual Intercourse During Adolescence  293
Changes in Sexual Activity Over Time  296

The Sexually Active Adolescent  297
Psychological and Social Characteristics of
Sexually Active Adolescents  297
Hormonal and Contextual Influences on Sexual
Activity 299
Parental and Peer Influences on Sexual
Activity 300
Sex Differences in the Meaning of Sex  304
Sexual Orientation  305
Sexual Harassment, Rape, and Sexual Abuse
During Adolescence  306

Risky Sex and its Prevention  309
Contraceptive Use  309
AIDS and Other Sexually Transmitted
Diseases 311
Teen Pregnancy  312
Adolescent Parenthood  315
Sex Education  318

Chapter 12
Achievement 320
Achievement as an Adolescent Issue  321
The Importance of Noncognitive
Factors 323
Achievement Motivation  323
Beliefs About Success and Failure  324

Environmental Influences on
Achievement 328
The Influence of the Home Environment  329
The Influence of Friends  331

Educational Achievement  333
The Importance of Socioeconomic Status  334
Ethnic Differences in Educational
Achievement 335
Changes in Educational Achievement
Over Time  338
Dropping Out of High School  340

Chapter 13
Psychosocial Problems
in Adolescence 347
Some General Principles about Problems
in Adolescence 348
Psychosocial Problems: Their Nature and
Covariation 350
Comorbidity of Externalizing Problems  350
Comorbidity of Internalizing Problems  352

Substance Use and Abuse  352
Prevalence of Substance Use and Abuse  353
Causes and Consequences of Substance Use
and Abuse  357
Drugs and the Adolescent Brain  360
Prevention and Treatment of Substance Use
and Abuse  361

Externalizing Problems  362
Categories of Externalizing Problems  362
Developmental Progression of Antisocial
Behavior 364
Changes in Juvenile Offending Over Time  365
Causes of Antisocial Behavior  367
Prevention and Treatment of Externalizing
Problems 371

Internalizing Problems  371
The Nature and Prevalence of Depression  372
Sex Differences in Depression  373
Suicide and Non-Suicidal Self-Injury  375
Causes of Depression and Internalizing
Disorders 377
Treatment and Prevention of Internalizing
Problems 378

Stress and Coping  378
McGraw-Hill Education
Psychology’s APA Documentation Style Guide
Glossary  G1
References  R1
Name Index  I1
Subject Index  I24

xiii


A Note from the Author

Two psychopathic killers persuaded me to abandon my
dreams to someday become a comedy writer and study
psychology instead. I did not enter college intending to
become either a psychologist or a professor. I majored in
English, hoping to study creative writing. I became interested in psychology during the second semester of my
freshman year, because of an introductory course in personality theory. My professor had assigned the book In
Cold Blood, and our task was to analyze the personalities
of Dick and Perry, the two murderers. I was hooked. I followed this interest in personality development to graduate school in developmental psychology, where I learned
that if you really wanted to understand how we develop
into the people we ultimately become, you have got to
know something about adolescence. That was more than
40 years ago, and I’m still as passionate about studying
this period of life as I was then.
I hope that this book gets you more excited about adolescence, too.
One reason I like teaching and writing about adolescence is that most students find it inherently interesting,
in part because pretty much everyone has such vivid
recollections of what it was like to be a teenager. In fact,
researchers have discovered that people actually remember events from adolescence more intensely than events
from other times, something that has been referred to as
the “reminiscence bump.”

xiv

The reminiscence bump makes teaching adolescence
both fun and frustrating. Fun, because it isn’t hard to
get students interested in the topic. Frustrating, though,
because it’s a challenge to get students to look at adolescence from a scientific, as well as personal, perspective.
That, above all, is my goal for this book. I don’t want you to
forget or set aside your own experience as an adolescent.
(I couldn’t make that happen, anyway.) But what I hope
I can do is to help you understand adolescence—your own
adolescence as well as the adolescence that is experienced by others around the world—more deeply and more
intelligently, by introducing you to the latest science on the
subject. I still maintain a very active program of research of
my own, and that necessitates staying on top of the field’s
most recent and important developments. There is a lot
of exciting work being done on adolescence these days
(one of my interests is the adolescent brain), and I want to
share this excitement with you. Who knows, maybe you’ll
become hooked, too.
I’ve tried to do my best at covering the most important
topics and writing about them in a way that is not only
informative, but fun and interesting to read. If there’s something I could have done better, please let me know.
Laurence Steinberg
Temple University
laurence.steinberg@temple.edu


Preface

Steinberg . . . Cutting-edge science, personalized
for today’s students
As a well-respected researcher, Laurence Steinberg connects current research with realworld application, helping students see the similarities and differences in adolescent development across different social, economic, and cultural backgrounds.
Through an integrated, personalized digital learning pro­gram, students gain the insight
they need to study smarter, stay focused, and improve their performance.

Personalized Study, Better Data,
Improved Results
SmartBook is now available for Adolescence!
McGraw-Hill Education’s SmartBook® is an adaptive learning
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study time. Based on metacognition, and powered by McGraw-Hill
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McGraw-Hill Education’s Milestones is a powerful video-based
learning tool that allows students to experience life as it unfolds, from infancy through emerging adulthood. A limited number of Milestones videos are now available for viewing within the
McGraw-Hill Connect Media Bank for Steinberg’s Adolescence, 11e.

xv


xvi

Preface

Studying Adolescence in Context
The primary goal of Adolescence is to help students understand how the context in which
adolescents come of age shapes the way in which they develop. Adolescent development
­cannot be understood apart from the context in which young people live and grow up—­
families, peer groups, schools, neighborhoods, and work and leisure settings. Perhaps the
greatest expansion of knowledge during the past two decades has been about adolescents
from ethnic minority groups, from families that have recently immigrated to a new culture
from parts of the world other than North America, and from studies conducted by scholars
outside the United States. The eleventh edition of Adolescence integrates discussions of ethnicity and culture throughout every chapter, focusing not only on ethnic differences in development but also on similarities that cut across adolescents from different social, economic,
and cultural backgrounds.

Thinking Critically to Make Connections
Four sets of questions interspersed throughout the text ask students to think more deeply
about particular research findings. “Making the Cultural Connection” asks students to contemplate how particular findings might (or might not) change if the research were carried out
in a different cultural context. “Making the Personal Connection” asks students to think
about their own adolescent experience in the context of the research. “Making the Scientific
Connection” asks students to consider a finding’s scientific implications. “Making the
Practical Connection” challenges students to think about how a finding might inform policy
or practice. Many instructors may want to use these questions as a launching pad for class
discussions or as essay questions on examinations.




Analyzing the Latest Research
Adolescence strives to provide students with the most current, most thorough coverage of
the scientific literature on adolescent development. The material in each chapter has been
thoroughly updated. The eleventh edition includes more than 1,000 new studies from over
60 scientific journals from the fields of psychology, education, neuroscience, sociology,
psychiatry, criminology, economics, law, medicine, and public health. I’ve tried to emphasize studies that break new ground (like studies of brain development), change the way the
field thinks (like studies of why aggressive adolescents are often popular), or update existing findings with more recent samples or newer methods (like studies of Internet use) in
order to give students the opportunity to review and analyze the latest information the field
has to offer.

Content Changes
The overall organization of Adolescence has not changed since the previous edition.
Specifically, the chapters about psychosocial development during adolescence are separate
from those about the contexts of adolescence. In this way, the psychosocial concerns of
­adolescence—identity, autonomy, intimacy, sexuality, and achievement—are presented as
central developmental concerns that surface across, and are affected by, different settings.
In response to feedback from some instructors that the text had become wordy, I devoted
special attention in this edition to the quality of the writing. Each chapter has been shortened
somewhat without dropping coverage of any major areas of research. I did this by doing what
I teach my students about good writing: To follow Strunk and White’s famous dictum, from
The Elements of Style, to “Omit needless words.”
This book contains an Introduction and 13 chapters, which are grouped into three parts:
the fundamental biological, cognitive, and social changes of the period (Part 1); the contexts of adolescence (Part 2); and psychosocial development during the adolescent years
(Part 3). The Introduction presents a model for studying adolescence that serves as both
the organizational framework for the text and an overview of some of the basic disciplinary
perspectives on the period. I have found the framework to be extremely helpful in teaching
adolescent development, and I highly recommend using it. However, if the model does not
fit with your course outline or your own perspective on adolescence, it is possible to use the
text without using the framework. Each chapter is self-contained, and so it is not necessary
to assign chapters in the sequence in which they are ordered in the text. Most users assign
the chapters in the order in which they appear, but some assign the chapters in a sequence
that pairs an aspect of psychosocial development with the context that most influences it (for
example, “Schools” with “Achievement,” or “Peer Groups” with “Intimacy”), and that has
worked well for them.

Theory and Methods
Although the Introduction reviews how different disciplines (such as psychology, neuroscience, sociology, anthropology, and history) approach the study of adolescence, it does not
provide detailed examinations of particular theories or research methods. My preference is
to integrate material on theory and methods when it is most relevant, in a way that shows
students how research and theory are related. At the beginning of the chapter on intimacy,
for instance, several perspectives on close relationships (for example, attachment theory and
Sullivan’s perspective on psychosocial development) are presented, and then the relevant
research is examined. Similarly, the research methods and tools employed in the study of
adolescence are discussed in the context of specific studies that illustrate the powers—or
pitfalls—of certain strategies.

Preface

xvii


xviii

Preface

Chapter-By-Chapter Changes
The eleventh edition of Adolescence features updated and expanded coverage of key issues
in development in every chapter. Below is a complete list of changes in each chapter:
Chapter 1
∙ Thorough update of all content (more than 80 new citations)
∙ Expanded discussion of causes of the decline in the age of puberty
∙ Expanded discussion of adolescent sleep
∙ Expanded discussion of adolescent obesity
∙ Expanded discussion of eating disorders
∙ Expanded discussion of the impact of puberty on brain development
Chapter 2
∙ Thorough update of all content (more than 90 new citations)
∙ Expanded discussion of memory during adolescence and the “reminiscence bump”
∙ Expanded material on the basics of brain development
∙ Greatly expanded discussion of structural and functional changes in the
adolescent brain
∙ Added discussion of brain plasticity in adolescence
∙ Expansion of material on “the social brain”
∙ Expanded discussion of risk taking in adolescence
Chapter 3
∙ Thorough update of all content (more than 50 new citations)
∙ Addition of discussion of the elongation of adolescence
∙ Expanded discussion of mental health problems among emerging adults
∙ Added discussion of the adverse consequences of growing up in affluent communities
∙ Expanded discussion of impact of neighborhood poverty
Chapter 4
∙ Thorough update of all content (more than 70 new citations)
∙ Added discussion of dangers of parental overcontrol
∙ Expanded discussion of closeness between adolescents and parents
∙ Revised discussion of sibling relationships
∙ Updated statistics on household composition
Chapter 5
∙ Thorough update of all content (more than 100 new citations)
∙ Expanded discussion of unsupervised time with peers
∙ Dropped dated material on study of “nerds to normals”
∙ Added discussion of parental role in managing cross-ethnic friendships
∙ Expanded discussion of relationship between popularity and deviance
∙ Expanded discussion of bullying and victimization
∙ Expanded discussion of cyberbullying
Chapter 6
∙ Thorough update of all content (more than 50 new citations)
∙ Updated discussion of big fish-little pond effect
∙ Added material on homeschooling
∙ Expanded discussion of student engagement and its measurement
∙ Expanded discussion of differential treatment of minority adolescents in schools
∙ Updated material on ADHD and medication for the condition


www.mhhe.com/steinberg11e



Chapter 7
∙ Thorough update of all content (more than 90 new citations)
∙ Condensed discussion of part-time employment
∙ Added discussion of stress associated with organized sports participation
∙ Updating of statistics on Internet use
∙ Updated discussion of the impact of the Internet on adolescent development
∙ Updated discussion of the impact of social networking sites
Chapter 8
∙ Thorough update of all content (more than 80 new citations)
∙ Integrated new information on brain science and self-conceptions
∙ Updated material on ethnic identity development and discrimination
∙ Added discussion of differences among sexual identity, sexual orientation, and ­
gender roles
∙ Added discussion of the development of sexual identity, including transgender youth
Chapter 9
∙ Thorough update of all content (more than 80 new citations)
∙ Revised discussion of emotional autonomy
∙ Replaced discussion of self-reliance with discussion of self-regulation
∙ Updated discussion of the brain science of peer influence
∙ Added discussion of adolescents’ beliefs about the causes of poverty and affluence
∙ Added material on cohort differences in civic engagement
Chapter 10
∙ Thorough update of all content (more than 70 new citations)
∙ Added material on the development of the social brain and implications for adolescent
relationships
Chapter 11
∙ Thorough update of all content (more than 90 new citations)
∙ Expanded discussion of sex differences in emotional reactions to sexual debut
∙ Expanded discussion of sexual harassment, especially of LGBTQ youth
∙ Moved material on sexual identity to chapter 8 (Identity)
∙ Added discussion of long-acting reversible contraceptive use among adolescents
Chapter 12
∙ Thorough update of all content (more than 70 new citations)
∙ New discussion of noncognitive contributors to academic success
∙ Expanded discussion of importance of parental expectations
∙ Updated statistics on U.S. high school achievement
Chapter 13
∙ Thorough update of all content (more than 130 new citations)
∙ Expanded discussion of comorbidity of internalizing and externalizing problems
∙ Expanded discussion of mental health problems in adolescence and young adulthood
∙ New discussion of suicide contagion among adolescents
∙ Expanded discussion of the relationship between experimentation with substances and adolescent adjustment
∙ Updated discussion of drugs and the adolescent brain
∙ Updated all statistics on prevalence and demographic differences in substance abuse,
crime, and depression
∙ Rewritten all diagnostic criteria tables to be consistent with the DSM-5
∙ Added discussion of abuse of prescription drugs

Preface

xix


xx

Preface

Supplements
For the Instructor
The supplements for the eleventh edition have been carefully revised and updated. The instructor resources for the new edition include an Instructor’s Manual, Test Bank, and PowerPoint
presentations for each chapter.

Acknowledgments
Revising Adolescence at a time when so much new information is available is a challenge
that requires much assistance. Over the years, my students (as well as many who have written to me from other institutions) have suggested numerous ways in which the text might be
improved, and I have learned a great deal from listening to them. I am especially grateful to
Karol Silva, who ably tracked down and organized much of the new research published in the
three years between editions.
I also wish to thank my colleagues at McGraw-Hill Education, including William Glass,
Managing Director; Krista Bettino, Brand Manager; Dawn Groundwater, Lead Product
Developer; Carly Britton, Editorial Coordinator; Sheila Frank, Content Project Manager;
Christina Yu, Marketing Manager; and Bruce Cantley, Product Developer.
In addition, I am grateful to the many colleagues and students across the country who
took the time during the past 30 years to send me comments and suggestions based on their
firsthand experiences using Adolescence in the classroom. They have improved the text with
each edition.
Laurence Steinberg


The Study of Adolescent
Development
The Boundaries of Adolescence
Early, Middle, and Late Adolescence

Theoretical Perspectives on Adolescence
Biosocial Theories
Organismic Theories
Learning Theories
Sociological Theories
Historical and Anthropological Theories
Stereotypes Versus Scientific Study

© Eric Audras/PhotoAlto/Getty Images RF

A Framework for Studying Adolescent
Development
The Fundamental Changes of Adolescence
The Contexts of Adolescence
Psychosocial Development of Adolescence

INTRODUCTION

1


2

Introduction

In the spring of 2015, the world watched closely as
a young man named Dzhokhar Tsarnaev went on trial for
the Boston Marathon bombing. The question before the
jury was not whether Tsarnaev had committed this horrific
crime—he had admitted as much—but whether he should
receive a sentence of life in prison or the death penalty.
Tsarnaev was 19 when the bombing took place. Among
the witnesses called by Tsarnaev’s defense team was Jay
Giedd, a prominent expert in adolescent brain development. Giedd testified that recent studies showed that the
brain was still maturing during the late teens and early 20s.
Building on Giedd’s testimony, Tsarnaev’s attorneys argued
that people this age lacked the ability to stand up to a more
powerful peer, like an older brother, and that this immaturity
made Tsarnaev less than fully responsible for his behavior
and, accordingly, less deserving of capital punishment.

Defense attorneys for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the admitted Boston
Marathon bomber, used adolescent brain science to argue that
he should be spared the death penalty. The jury disagreed.
© FBI/Handout/Getty Images News/Getty Images

making the practical
connection
Studies of adolescent brain development have revealed
that the brain continues to mature well into the mid20s. This research was used in several U.S. Supreme
Court cases, where the Court ruled that adolescents
should not be as punished as severely as adults, even
when they have been convicted of the same crimes.
But some advocates for youth have worried that this
same research can be used to limit what teenagers are

The jury rejected this argument. On May 15, 2015,
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was sentenced to death. It is almost
certain that his defense attorneys will appeal this
decision.
Although advances in adolescent brain science did
not sway the jury in the Boston Marathon bombing case,
the science of adolescent development is changing the
way in which we think about this stage of life (Steinberg,
2014). Historically, and pretty much around the world, we
have drawn a legal boundary between adolescence and
adulthood at age 18 (even though in the United States there
are some things people are permitted to do at an earlier
age, like driving, and others that are prohibited until several
years later, like purchasing alcohol). But what if the brain is
still maturing in the early 20s? What if things like impulse
control or the ability to fully think through the future consequences of one’s decisions are still developing into the
mid-20s? Should this change how we define adulthood
under the law?
This question is one that I have been studying and
writing about for the past 20 years, and I still don’t have a
simple answer. If science is our guide, where should we
draw the line between adolescence and adulthood? It’s
not just an abstract, academic exercise. How we answer
this question has far-reaching ramifications for society
and, of course, for teenagers. At what age should a pregnant adolescent be able to obtain an abortion without
her parents’ permission? How old should individuals
have to be to see a psychologist or have cosmetic surgery without their parents knowing? Have we picked the
right ages in deciding who can drive, see R-rated movies, or buy cigarettes? And how should we respond to
young offenders? “Do the adult crime, do the adult time”
may sound fair from the perspective of crime victims, but
does it make sense in light of what we know about adolescent development? When he committed the Boston
Marathon bombing, was Dzhokhar Tsarnaev an adolescent or an adult?

allowed to do, such as drive or seek an abortion without
their parents’ knowledge. How would you respond to
someone who, on the basis of this research, says that if
adolescents are too young to be punished like adults,
they are too young to be treated like adults in other
ways as well?

What is the nature of adolescents’ identity development in a changing world? How should society deal with
problems of youth unemployment, underage drinking,


www.mhhe.com/steinberg11e

teenage pregnancy, and juvenile crime? What is the best
way to prepare young people for adulthood?
Answering these questions requires a thorough understanding of adolescents’ psychological development, and
in this book we will examine how—and why—­people’s
hopes and plans, fears and anxieties, and questions and concerns change as they develop from childhood to adulthood.
Answering these difficult questions requires more than
an understanding of the ways in which individuals change
psychologically as they move through adolescence,
though. It also requires knowledge of how they develop
physically, how their brain matures, how their relationships with others change, how as a group they are viewed
and treated by society, how adolescence in our society
differs from adolescence in other cultures, and how the
nature of adolescence itself has changed over the years.
In other words, a complete understanding of adolescence
in contemporary society depends on being familiar with
biological, social, sociological, cultural, and historical
perspectives on the period (Dahl & Hariri, 2005).

The Boundaries of Adolescence
The word adolescence is derived from the Latin adolescere, which means “to grow into adulthood” (R. Lerner
& Steinberg, 2009). In all societies, adolescence is a
time of growing up, of moving from the immaturity of
childhood into the maturity of adulthood, of preparation for the future (Larson, Wilson, & Rickman, 2009;
Schlegel, 2009). Adolescence is a period of transitions:
biological, psychological, social, economic. During
adolescence, individuals become interested in sex and
biologically capable of having children. They become
wiser, more sophisticated, and better able to make their

INTRODUCTION  The Study of Adolescent Development

own decisions. They become
adolescence
more self-aware, more indeThe stage of development
that begins with puberty and
pendent, and more concerned
ends when individuals make
about what the future holds.
the transition into adult roles,
Over time, they are permitroughly speaking, from about
ted to work, to get married, to
10 until the early 20s.
drive, and to vote. Think for a
moment about how much you
changed between when you finished elementary school
and when you graduated from high school. I’m sure
you’ll agree that the changes you went through were
remarkable.
As you can see in Table 1, there are a variety of
boundaries we might draw between childhood and
adolescence, and between adolescence and adulthood. Whereas a biologist would place a great deal of
emphasis on the attainment and completion of puberty,
an attorney would look instead at important age breaks
designated by law, and an educator might draw attention to differences between students enrolled in different
grades in school. Is a biologically mature fifth-grader
an adolescent or a child? Is a 20-year-old college student who lives at home an adolescent or an adult? There
are no right or wrong answers to these questions. It all
depends on the boundaries we use to define the period.
Determining the beginning and ending of adolescence is
more a matter of opinion than of absolute fact.
Rather than argue about which boundaries are the
correct ones, it makes more sense to think of development during adolescence as involving a series of
transitions from immaturity into maturity (Howard &
Galambos, 2011; Settersten et al., 2005; Trejos-Castillo
& Vazsonyi, 2011). Some of these passages are long and
some are short; some are smooth and others are rough.

Table 1  The boundaries of adolescence. Here are some examples of the ways in which adolescence has been
distinguished from childhood and adulthood that we examine in this book. Which boundaries make the most
sense to you?
Perspective

When Adolescence Begins

When Adolescence Ends

Biological

Onset of puberty

Becoming capable of sexual reproduction

Emotional

Beginning of detachment from parents

Attainment of separate sense identity

Cognitive

Emergence of more advanced reasoning abilities

Consolidation of advanced reasoning abilities

Interpersonal

Beginning of shift in interest from parental to
peer relations

Development of capacity for intimacy
with peers

Social

Beginning of training for adult work, family, and
citizen roles

Full attainment of adult status and privileges

Educational

Entrance into junior high school

Completion of formal schooling

Legal

Attainment of juvenile status

Attainment of majority status

Chronological

Attainment of designated age of adolescence
(e.g., 10 years)

Attainment of designated age of adulthood
(e.g., 21 years)

Cultural

Entrance into period of training for ceremonial
rite of passage

Completion of ceremonial rite of passage

3


4

Introduction

And not all of them occur at
the same time. Consequently, it
is quite possible—and perhaps
even likely—that an individual
will mature in some respects
before he or she matures in
middle adolescence
The period spanning roughly
others. The various aspects
ages 14–17, corresponding to
of adolescence have different
the high school years.
beginnings and different endlate adolescence
ings for every individual. An
The period spanning roughly
individual can be a child in
ages 18–21, corresponding
some ways, an adolescent in
approximately to the college
other ways, and an adult in still
years.
others.
emerging adulthood
For the purposes of this
The period spanning roughly
book,
we’ll define adolescence
ages 18–25, during which indias beginning with puberty and
viduals make the transition from
adolescence to adulthood.
ending when individuals make
the transition into adult roles,
puberty
roughly from age 10 until the
The biological changes of
adolescence.
early 20s. Although at one time
“adolescence” may have been
synonymous with the teenage
years (from 13 to 19), the adolescent period has lengthened considerably in the past 100 years, both because
physical maturation occurs earlier and because so many
individuals delay entering into work and marriage until
their mid-20s (Steinberg, 2014).
early adolescence
The period spanning roughly
ages 10–13, corresponding
roughly to the junior high or
middle school years.

Early, Middle, and Late Adolescence
Because so much psychological and social growth
takes place during adolescence, most social scientists
and practitioners view adolescence as composed of a
series of phases rather than one single stage (SamelaAro, 2011). The 11-year-old whose time and energy
is wrapped up in hip-hop, Facebook, and baseball,
for example, has little in common with the 21-yearold who is involved in a serious romance, worried
about pressures at work, and looking for an affordable
apartment.
Social scientists who study adolescence differentiate
among early adolescence (about ages 10–13), middle
adolescence (about ages 14–17), and late adolescence
(about ages 18–21). In discussing development during adolescence, we’ll need to be sensitive not only
to differences between adolescence and childhood, or
between adolescence and adulthood, but also to differences among the various phases of adolescence itself.
Some writers also have suggested that a new phase
of life, called emerging adulthood (Arnett, 2004),
characterizes the early and mid-20s. However, despite
the popularity of this idea in the mass media, there is
little evidence that “emerging adulthood” is a universal stage or that the majority of young people in their

mid-20s are in some sort of psychological or social
limbo (Côté & Bynner, 2008; Kloep & Hendry, 2014).
Indeed, what is most striking about the transition from
adolescence to adulthood today is just how many different pathways there are. Some individuals spend their
20s single, dependent on their parents, and bouncing
from job to job, while others leave adolescence and go
straight into marriage, full-time employment, and economic independence (Osgood, Ruth, Eccles, Jacobs, &
Barber, 2005).

A Framework for Studying
Adolescent Development
This book uses a framework for studying adolescence
that is based on a model originally suggested by John
Hill (1983). The model has three basic components:
(1) the fundamental changes of adolescence, (2) the contexts of adolescence, and (3) the psychosocial developments of adolescence.

The Fundamental Changes
of Adolescence
What, if anything, is distinctive about adolescence as
a period in development? According to Hill, three features of adolescent development give the period its special flavor and significance: (1) the onset of puberty,
(2) the emergence of more advanced thinking abilities, and
(3) the transition into new roles in society. These three
sets of changes—biological, cognitive, and social—are
the fundamental changes of adolescence. Importantly,
they are universal changes; virtually without exception,
all adolescents in every society go through them.
Biological Transitions  The chief elements of the biological changes of adolescence—which collectively are
referred to as puberty—involve changes in the young
person’s physical appearance (including breast development in girls, the growth of facial hair in boys, and a
dramatic increase in height for both sexes) and the development of the ability to conceive children (Bogin, 2011).
We’ll look at the biological changes that occur in
early adolescence and examine how puberty affects
the adolescent’s psychological development and social
relationships.
Cognitive Transitions  The word cognitive refers to
the processes that underlie how people think. Changes in
thinking abilities make up the second of the three fundamental changes of adolescence. Compared with children,
adolescents are much better able to think about hypothetical situations (that is, things that have not yet happened


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