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Cross Cultural Analysis Of Adolescence Values

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Title: Cross Cultural Analysis of Adolescence Values


From the conference themes of Asian Association of Social Psychology (AASP, 2005) and emerging mounting literature on cross cultural researches made by social psychologists and others it seems paradigm shift is necessary with regard to constructs, methodology, procedures and interpretations. Asian values differ from Western values contextually and culturally. A holistic approach with scientific analysis may be focussed on global perspectives of cross cultural variations/similarities and assumptions to create a scientific data base for meaningful interaction and intervention.

Impact of globalization on young children has been reported in a political journal as follows:

“The culture of the young in metropolitan cities everywhere-north or south, east or west is globalized; jeans, T-shirts, sneakers, jogging, fast foods, pop music, Hollywood, movies, satellite TV and so on” (Nayyar, 2000),

Impacts of fast food, inactive and sedentary life style are alarming. In a recent study by department of medicine of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (Delhi) conducted on 2000 adolescents of Delhi (14-24 years) reports one in 10 adolescents is clinically obese and five per cent have high blood pressure. The reason is cited as over 80 per cent are inactive. “The study confirms that current dietary trends combined with inactivity will expose this generation to hypertension, heart disease and diabetes by middle age” (Misra 2004).

Adolescence is the most critical age for development of moral values because of certain biological changes and increased influence on emotion, aspiration, rationality and judgement that are found during adolescence. It is critical because adolescence is a transitional period, a period of change, a dreaded age and a time of unrealism (Hurlock, 1975). There are four characteristics found universally. It is a transitional period, the adolescent is neither a child nor an adult. This ambiguous status contributes greatly to the adolescent “identity crisis” or the problem of ego-identity (Erikson, 1968).

With rapid biological changes in adolescence changes in attitudes and behaviour are also rapid which develop instability. This may be intensified by the ambiguous treatment he receives from both parents and teachers.

Adolescents characteristics

There are four universally found characteristics develop during adolescence:

1. The heightened emotionality.

2. Rapid biological changes.

3. Changes in the role expectation.

4. Changes in interest, behaviour patterns and values.

Cultural stereotypes of adolescence period puts a barrier in transition to adulthood. It is believed that adolescents are sloppy, irresponsible and unrealistic. This stereotype may lead to strict discipline, and vigilance of parents toward their children. Children on the other hand perceive this as lack of trust, respect and poor opinion of the parents. This conflicting attitudes lead to a barrier in communication between child and parents leading to emotional disturbance and lack of mutual confidence. Such situation prevents him to seek help from parents for solving his problems.

Unrealism in adolescence is due to heightened emotion. It is generally observed that the more unrealistic his aspiration, the more angry, hurt and disappointed he will be. With increased social and personal experiences and with increased ability to think rationally, the older adolescent sees himself, his family and friends in a more realistic way. As a result he is happier and suffers less from disillusionment or disappointment than he did when he was younger. This transition period from young adolescence to maturity or adulthood is crucial.


The main objectives of this study are to understand factors that enhance positive development and those factors that inhibit positive development in adolescents.

Ð'* To create opportunities that will foster positive growth in young people across the world.

Ð'* To explore all that multiple ecological influences and social and cultural interactions that are critical to the overall development of adolescents.

There are extensive literature on development of personality in young people. We review some of the research studies from global perspectives, cross cultural perspectives, social and contextual influence on values.

Review of literature

Sex difference

Boys and girls mature at different ages. It is found that boys mature later than girls. As a result they frequently seem more immature for their age than girls when they reach eighteen. Recent research on neuro sciences reveals link between personality characteristics between males and females. Another findings suggest females are less likely to be involved in behaviour problems in school (Barnes and Farrel, 1994). Gurian (2004) found gender difference in thought process and emotion reported in a leading daily newspaper: The Times of India, September 2, 2004. He said male brain is biologically wired to seek competition, quest to prove self worth and identity. Women are found to be emotionally sensitive due to more chemical secretion of oxytocin and serotonin than the male brain.

Increased peer-Group Influence

The adolescent spends most of his time outside the home with members of the peer groups, and they have a greater influence on his attitudes, interests, values and behaviour than his family has. Children experiment with alcohol or drugs with their peer groups (Horrocks and Benimoff (1966). Influences of individual and contextual characteristics refer as risk factor associated with a decreased likelihood of healthy psychological and physical development. Outcome behaviours may be dropping out of high school, delinquency, violence and crime. He found four distinct categories of risk behaviour during adolescence; delinquency, crime and violence; substance use; teenage pregnancy and school failure as well as dropout. Irwin and Millstein (1991) support the findings of Dryfoos’s research regarding



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