There were several variables that were keys to gaining insight during this study. Mainly the aspect of parental substance use and abuse. For example, mothers who were actively using illicit substances during pregnancy had a higher rate of children who exhibited developmental abnormalities.
The adolescent’s psychosocial development has been classified as the dependent variable. The study looked at the effect environmental factors, the independent variable, played in the life of the adolescents studied. Many of the respondents identified varying degrees of negative, as well as positive, responses to the questions contained in the survey.
Defining the independent and dependent variables is essential in locating the cause and effect relationship between the two. The independent variable, which has been stated as the environmental factors, range from parental substance use to peer pressure. These factors have an adverse effect on adolescent development and can cause long term damage if not identified and a course of intervention is not taken.
The dependent variable, which has been listed as the adolescent’s psychosocial development, is a continually influenced by-product of the experiences that the young adult goes through in life. These influences can hinder the cognitive, as well as psychological progression, of the young adult during this period of development. Adequate nurturing and guidance is paramount for the adolescent to achieve full psychosocial development.
Data Collection Methods
Findings were gathered through Survey Monkey using an anonymous survey questionnaire which featured multiple choice answer format (appendix A). Using this form of survey has been found to generate truthful answers from the participants. The focus of the survey is to ascertain the most common factors that negatively affect adolescents as seen through the eyes of those who are directly affected by this phenomenon.
The survey was constructed of questions designed in a manner to gauge what the participants felt were exact factors which were most influential. The findings were in accord with conventional perceptions as to the causes of abhorrent behavior in adolescents, although there were some deviations from status quo perceptions.
The data collected from this survey formulated the groundwork to be able to ascertain the validity of the causes mentioned for the negative impact on an adolescent’s development. In using this survey, it was found that many of the individuals believed there were varying degrees of negative influences which caused visible lapses in adolescent developmental. All questions listed in the survey are directly related to the survey as evidenced by appendix A.
Using the anonymous survey format research found that 61% of respondents felt that environmental factors affect an adolescent’s development, both psychological and emotionally. Looking at this high percentage of positive feedback there can be a reasonable inference that the environment has a profound effect. Taking parental guidance into account 88.9% of those surveyed listed this as the most influential aspect of an adolescence development.
Using this data, it can be surmised that a positive parental influence can bolster the development of the youngster as well as facilitate formation of their identity. Looking at data concerning the interactions between a parent and their adolescent youngster the survey found there is room for improvement. Bolstering this inference was the fact only 56% of respondents stated they engage in conversations with their children about issues that concerned them.
This is a major stumbling block which manifests feelings of isolation and abandonment is some adolescents. 65% of respondents stated peer pressure as the second leading factor negatively effecting adolescent development. Peer pressure may also be a by-product of the lack of parental attention and guidance.
The results from the survey pointed out fundamental issues involved in the development of adolescents. The consensus was that there are many different factors which lead adolescents to abhorrent behavior, starting early in childhood then progressing into adolescence.
The survey also suggested there were areas that could be improved upon such as parental interaction, as well as activities where the adolescent could learn life skills. Research has suggested there is a wholesale need for engagement with the entire family in instances of adolescent development. The data from the research conducted follows a very predictable pattern of behavior directly related to the interference of negative outside influences.
Stagnated psychosocial development of adolescents can be a very damaging experience and, as research shows, leads to difficulties moving into adult life. Many of the individuals studied have been involved in criminal activity, teen pregnancy as well as delayed cognitive activity. Earlier intervention has been shown to be one solidifying factor to combat these factors. One distinct limitation of the research was that a clear majority conducted was of the 17-24 age group.
In focusing on this subset, a plethora of useful data was lost and essential elements were missed. In looking at the data, the specifics of high risk behaviors in adolescents who were in the 13-15 age group were not represented totally. In doing independent research it was found that a large section of troubled adolescents in this subset have a unique set of external factors which manifest themselves at this earlier age.
Those issues were addressed once the data was collected and incorporated into the above research. Having social workers who are acclimated in adolescent development can bridge the gap between the clients and their families. There is also a great deal of data to be gathered and disseminated throughout the social work field that would assist those social workers who work with this population.
Revamping the educational format concerned working with adolescents there needs to be more earlier engagement with interventions such as peer support, mentorship, and educational track management. It is also imperative to work with the parents of these youngsters so there may be a framework developed to find the root causes of lapses in parental guidance, as well as assistive the parents locating other resources which would help them to better understand what their children may be going through.
One of the biggest hurdles to the parental/child relationship is communication and this is where the crux of assistance is needed. Social work practice can be enhanced through using this data as well, by allowing a more detailed and hands on approach when it comes to the handling of adolescents and their issues. Policy can be changed to better suit the needs of adolescents while considering their personal beliefs and perspectives.
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