Adolescence, Social development situation and leading activity - Psychology


Social development situation and leading activity

Adolescence - the period from 10-11 to 14-15 years - is often called transitional, critical, critical, thereby emphasizing the difficulties of the personal development of adolescents themselves in these years and the difficulties of adults interacting with them.

The social situation, at first glance, remains the same: the teenager continues to live in the same family, goes to the same school, he is surrounded by the same peers, i.e. the external circumstances of life can not differ in any way from the conditions of life in the preceding period. However, the inner position of the adolescent is changing: a turn is made from the orientation toward the world towards the orientation toward oneself, new value orientations are formed, the teenager begins to relate to himself in a new way, and consequently his attitudes toward the family, school, and peers change. All this causes a new social situation. Such treatment of the child to himself, in particular, is associated with his physical development.

The period of acceleration of the physical development and puberty of a teenager is called pubertate (from the Latin pubertas, pubertatis - maturity, adulthood, or puberty period


There is a noticeable increase in the growth rate, an increase in the amount of fatty deposits and muscle mass, the rapid development of reproductive organs and the appearance of secondary sexual characteristics, cardinal changes are noted in all organs and systems of the body. Average

in girls, the growth jump and other biological changes of the pubertal period occur about two years earlier than in boys. As a rule, in boys the peak of physical development falls on 14 years, for girls - for 11 years 8 months. It must be remembered that there are very large individual differences in the rate of physical development and sexual maturation of adolescents.

The physical development of adolescents has a marked effect on their behavior and psychological characteristics. In adolescence, IV Dubrovin notes, there is often an alternation of periods of increased activity, a significant increase in energy (hence the increased excitability, noisiness, restlessness) and periods of increased fatigue, reduced efficiency and productivity (the number of erroneous actions increases, the adolescent continues to grow wants to lie, can not stand upright - constantly striving for something to lean on, complaining of lack of energy). The changes in psychomotorics lead to temporary disruptions in the coordination of movements in adolescents, as a result, they often break something, destroy something; handwriting worsens, speech becomes tongue-tied. Teenagers have a hard time experiencing similar metamorphosis, they are sensitive to ridicule about this.

It should be remembered that adolescence is a sensible period for mastering many of the most complex movements, motor skills important for sports, choreography, and work. If this period is not involved in the development of gross and fine motor skills, then, as Dubrovin points out, this is not compensated or compensated with great difficulty.

Rapid changes in the body of adolescents cause their increased interest in their appearance. They are forced to adapt to their changing body, to build and adopt a new physical "I-image". Teenagers constantly compare themselves with others and with the ideal; the observed differences lead to increased concern about their appearance, cause anxiety and self-doubt. Boys are usually concerned about low growth and insufficient development of muscles, and girls are overweight and tall. Too fast or too slow development, sharp contrast from peers, mismatch of its physical "I" with the standards of beauty is of great importance for the self-esteem of adolescents.


Early ripening boys, according to the studies of IS Kon, have certain advantages over late maturing: they often become leaders, feel more confident with their peers, have a more favorable "I-image", a high level of claims. Late ripening boys, as G. Kreig notes, are often characterized by dependence and immature behavior; they have low social status among their peers, and adults are perceived as less competent.

For girls, early maturation has both positive and negative sides. An early ripe girl may be unpopular among her peers: she is tallest, ripens four or six years earlier than the boys of her class, she has no one to discuss the physiological and emotional changes taking place with her. At the same time, she can be more confident and calm, especially if she attracts the attention of older boys.

Morphofunctional changes in the body of adolescents evoke in them an interest in representatives of the opposite sex, the desire to please, new interests, needs, inclinations; there is development of sexual attitudes and sexual behavior. Teenagers talk a lot and think about sex, this issue becomes particularly acute for girls at the age of 12-13, for boys at 14-15.

The pubertal and accompanying changes in its appearance can lead to a violation of adolescent behavior, including neurotic reactions. It is not by chance that adolescents become much more likely than people of other ages to become victims of the dysmorphophobia syndrome.

Syndrome of dysmorphophobia - the belief in the presence of a specific physical defect, when some imperfections or features of appearance turn into a delusion of imaginary ugliness.

Teenagers may, for example, seem to have too narrow a forehead ("this can only be the case with a gorilla", "smart people always have a big forehead", etc.), the nose is twisted ("like Baba Yagi ), wrong face shape, etc. And it is interesting that the delusion of imaginary ugliness concerns only well-formed parts of the body and is usually localized in the face area. Adolescents spend hours at the mirror for hours, trying to conceal their apparent lack of all sorts of tricks.

Adolescent girls, becoming victims of the modern cult of harmony, tend to exaggerate their completeness by resorting to weight loss for harmful diets, which can sometimes lead to symptoms of anorexia nervosa.

Anorexia nervosa is an emotional disorder characterized by obsessive ideas about its own weight, leading to a refusal to eat and a sustained loss of appetite.

Even being on the verge of exhaustion, the girls still refuse food, literally starve themselves, afraid to grow fat and lose their attractiveness. Anorexia nervosa is a serious disease requiring hospitalization.

It is necessary to help a teenager to accept his new image of the physical "I", so that adults need understanding, tolerance, tactfulness; a teenager must feel that he is loved, that he is good, beautiful.

Morphofunctional changes in the body of a teenager, undoubtedly, have a great influence on his behavior. But biological factors are not fateful for teenagers, and it is impossible to explain all the features of this age step by them. The behavior of adolescents is also influenced by the social and economic age, the social or cultural expectations that they cause, the situation in the family and at school, the media, internal factors and individual characteristics of development.

According to psychologists, it is special that first appears in the personality of the adolescent; then the main thing that distinguishes his internal position is the emergence of his feeling of his own adulthood.

Feeling of adulthood is the desire to be and be considered an adult, the desire to show your adulthood, the need for adult adulthood to be recognized by others. The feeling of adulthood is the central neoplasm of adolescence.

Meanwhile, a teenager is still far from a true adulthood: physically, psychologically, and socially, he can still be completely independent, really adult, and he himself feels that his adulthood is still quite "genuine", feels insecure about his new position, which he himself defends.

There is a peculiar situation: the discrepancy between the awareness of an adult and the objective situation of an adult-dependent child, the inability to engage in adulthood "on an equal footing". It is this contradiction, attempts to overcome it, the desire to build its relations with others in a new way, according to its own image, and determine the peculiar social situation of the development of adolescents.

Concerning leading activities teenagers, the views of domestic psychologists diverge. Some believe that the leading activity is still the teaching (LI Bozhovich), while others believe that the leading activity in this period is intimate personal communication (DB Elkonin) or socially useful activity (DI Feldstein) . Apparently, we should agree with the well-known United States psychologist A. G. Asmolov, who says that the leaders of the activity are "not given" teenager, and given a specific social development situation. Under the influence of significant peers and adults, the adolescent chooses either the activity of intimate personal communication or socially useful activity as a leading activity. Nevertheless, most psychologists rather agree that it is the well-being in relationships with peers that is very important for the mental development of the adolescent, therefore the leading activity of the adolescent period is "intimate-personal communication."

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