Chapter 9

How Adolescents Spend their Time

Leisure Time: Adolescents enjoy about the same amount of free time (whether unstructured or organized) each day as the time they spend in school. Most adolescents spend most of their leisure time in unstructured activities such as hanging out with friends or watching TV. Participation in organized voluntary activities promotes healthy development, contributing to self-esteem, confidence, academic achievement, and fewer risky behaviors. Students find organized voluntary activities, in contrast with school work, to both be intrinsically motivating and demand concentration.
Key Terms: organized activities, initiative, flow

Adolescents and the Media: Adolescents also spend almost as much time watching television, listening to music, playing video games, and being on the Internet as they spend in school. The TV shows watched, as well as other media commonly used by adolescents routinely include scenes with sexual content. Although exposure to sexual content has been found to be related to adolescents’ sexual behavior, one cannot assume that this exposure is causally related to their behavior, since it’s equally possible that adolescents who are already sexually active prefer media with sexual content. A similar objection can be made when inferring that viewing violence leads to aggressive behavior.

Global Comparisons: Child Labor: Although teenagers in most industrial societies have almost as many leisure hours per week as those they spend in school, many children and adolescents in developing nations spend most of their waking hours working. Child labor refers to work by children and adolescents who are below the minimum age for work, and which is often harmful, and usually deprives them of education. Successful approaches to combating child labor are multifaceted, and include raising community awareness, tying family subsidies to the child’s school attendance, and flexible school hours—in addition to legislation.
Key Terms: child labor

Adolescents at Work

Attitudes Toward Work over the Lifespan: Attitudes toward work and leisure show much continuity through large segments of the lifespan. Children’s chores and adolescents’ part-time work still anticipate the gender divisions that characterize work among adults.

Part-Time Employment: Many high school students have part-time jobs, and more want to work than can find jobs. Unemployment among minority adolescents is higher than among youth in the dominant culture. Most adolescents spend their money on personal items such as clothes, entertainment, and cars. Smaller numbers save for education or other long-term plans. Students who work part-time spend less time on schoolwork and with families, but often develop a sense of responsibility and feel productive.

Dropping Out and Employment: Students who drop out of high school are about twice as likely to be unemployed as graduates. Programs that are successful in preventing at-risk students from dropping out communicate the importance of having a degree for making money. These programs create an atmosphere of caring and involvement, provide individualized instruction through computerized programs, and involve the community and parents.

Theories of Vocational Development

Social Cognitive Theory: In explaining vocational choices, social-cognitive theory emphasizes the interrelationships among inborn abilities, one’s particular environment and unique learning history, and one’s skills.

Ginzburg: Vocational Stages: Developmental theories trace occupational choices over stages. Ginzburg views vocational development as a progressive narrowing of choices that at first reflect only fantasy, then tentative career choices, and, with increasing age, realistic choices.
Key Terms: fantasy stage, tentative stage, realistic stage

Super: Careers and the Self-Concept: Super assumes that people choose occupations that reflect the way they see themselves. Because the self-concept changes with age, so will occupational plans, starting with the growth stage, where adolescents develop a realistic self-concept, and ending with the decline stage, which involves retirement.
Key Terms: growth stage, exploration stage, establishment stage, maintenance stage, decline stage

Holland: Personality Types and Work: Holland classifies individuals into six personality types, and different work environments either complement or oppose the qualities that make up any type. Realistic personality types, for instance, prefer orderly, structured work—occupations that might include mechanic, farmer, or engineer.
Key Terms: realistic personality types, investigative personality types, artistic personality types, social personality types, enterprising personality types, conventional personality types

Joining the Workforce

Job Availability: Unemployment among young workers in the United States and other industrialized nations is relatively common. The high rate of youth unemployment can be traced both to economic recession and to the greater vulnerability of young workers as, for instance, in less seniority. Among the 10 fastest-growing occupations, over half are related to health care and computers, reflecting an aging population and the growth of technology.

Gender in the Workforce: Though more female adolescents plan to work in professional jobs than in the past, sex segregation still exists in the workforce, and advancement opportunities are limited. Female adolescents also have internal, learned barriers to advancement that take the form of lower expectations for pay and lower valuation of their work.

Minorities in the Workforce: Minority adolescents face problems similar to those of females; in addition, for many, poverty contributes heavily to the problems they face. Minority adolescents’ career aspirations are as high as those of dominant culture adolescents, but their lower expectations reflect social barriers to equal employment opportunities.

Intervention Programs: Strategies for Change

Counselors as Change Agents: Because of inequities in the opportunity structure for minority adolescents and females, counselors may need to become active change agents to prepare these students for the full range of jobs that exists. Effective intervention programs work with local businesses, parents, and teachers as well as the students. Counselors often must first address their own biases.
Key Terms: STEM courses

Irrational Beliefs and Maladaptive Myths: Students frequently approach career decisions with maladaptive beliefs and myths. Intervention programs based on cognitive restructuring and on attributional retraining effectively address these as the first step to vocational counseling.
Key Terms: dualistic thinking, relativistic thinking, commitment in relativism

Adolescents and College

New Solutions to Old Problems: Dialectical Thinking: Structural analytical thinking enables adolescents to find parallels among different views of a problem. Dialectical reasoning is necessary for structural analytical thought, just as propositional reasoning is necessary for formal thought.
Key Terms: personal effectiveness, dialectical thinking

The number of students enrolled in college has more than doubled in a single generation, but with female graduates now outnumbering male graduates. Additionally, the increase in minority students earning bachelor’s degrees was greater than the increase for dominant culture students.

How College Can Change the Way Adolescents Think: William Perry identified important changes during college in the way adolescents think about ideas. These changes reflect their beliefs about the nature of truth as much as their ability to think in general. Perry identified three major forms of thought: dualism, relativism, and commitment in relativism.
Key Terms: dualistic thinking, relativistic thinking, commitment in relativism

Gender Differences in Approaches to Knowledge: Female adolescents think in ways other than those captured by Perry’s neatly categorized intellectual progressions. Those who begin the intellectual journey move from subjective knowledge to procedural knowledge to constructive knowledge. And not all complete the journey.
Key Terms: subjective knowledge, procedural knowledge, constructive knowledge