September 29, 2008

Adolescence is a transitional period in the human life span, linking childhood and adulthood. Understanding the meaning of adolescence is important because adolescents are the future of any society.

Course Description

This course examines salient issues concerning adolescent development. The focus will be on adolescent development as influenced by diverse contexts. Particular attention will be given to the challenges and strengths associated with adolescent development in New Orleans and other urban cities.

The course format includes lectures and discussion. Each class meeting I will lecture on specific topic to be covered. Each student is expected to be ready to discuss the assigned readings. In addition to class lectures, student discussions regarding current adolescent themes are scheduled throughout the term.

Course Objectives

  1. One of the major purposes of this class is to heighten students’ awareness of today’s challenges, involve them in defining solutions, and build a basis of writing and critiquing scientific research on adolescents. We will address this purpose in several ways. In the classroom we will focus on typical developmental processes for diverse adolescent groups. Outside of class each student is expected to critique information that addresses specific areas of adolescent development. Additionally, students may add a Service Learning option to the course to examine translational experiences and research on adolescence.
  2. Another objective of the course is for students to learn how to critically evaluate empirical articles about adolescent development. We will address this objective by having in-class discussions about the assigned readings. Additionally, each student is required to complete an empirical article critique.

Course Requirements

  1. Attendance, class participation & discussion topics 5%
  2. Exams (3) 75%
  3. Empirical Article Critique 10%
  4. Adolescent Movie Critique 10%
  5. Cumulative Final Exam (optional if you?re satisfied with the 3 exam average. Students who miss an exam must take the final as their third exam)

Service Learning Journal Requirements

  1. Attendance 10%
  2. Journal (suggested topics are indicated in the schedule of activities) 85%
  3. Site Evaluation 5%

Components of Course

  1. Attendance, Class Participation, and Discussion TopicsAttendance is strongly encouraged because this course is interactive and participatory. If serious reasons keep you from meeting this course requirement, you remain responsible for all work assigned and information communicated in class. Students missing more than one class will see their final grades lowered by a partial grade for each additional absence. Participation is a graded component of this course. Students must regularly show good knowledge of the assigned readings, thoughtful reflection on their meaning, and interest in the contributions of others. Students who are shy or feel uncomfortable speaking in front of groups should consult with me so that I may assist you in developing success strategies.

    Students are required to submit one paged typed responses to the topics outlined in the syllabus. These responses are due the day topic is discussed in class. They must be typewritten, double- spaced, and no more than one-page in length.

  2. Exams
    There are three exams and an optional cumulative final. The exam format will be a combination multiple choice and short answer questions. The final exam will include all multiple choice options.
  3. Empirical Article CritiqueOne 2-3 paged typed article critique is due during the term. The paper must be a critique of a published empirical study. Specific details are included later in the syllabus and are posted on MyTulane.
  4. Adolescent Movie CritiqueAll students must complete a 2-3 paged typed adolescent movie critique. A list of approved movies and critique instructions will be given in class. Students are encouraged to complete the movie critique early in the term. The last day to submit the adolescent movie critique is April 25, 2008. (Note: Early submissions are encouraged).
  5. Service LearningStudents may add a Service Learning component to the course (PSYC 389-03 one credit). The requirement includes 40 hours of a participant-observation experience in a community partner site. The sites for this course are Tulane University?s Upward Bound Program and the New
    Orleans Science and Mathematics High School. Students will also have to complete a journal of their experiences and work with the site to complete a project that will be determined between you and the site. The journal should contain many linkages to class readings and discussions. The journal is submitted in two parts. The Prologue and entries 1-4 are due on March 7, 2008. Entries 5-8 and the Epilogue are due on April 28, 2008.
  6. Pop Quizzes/ Extra Credit OpportunitiesUnannounced quizzes may be given throughout the term. Success on these quizzes will depend on class attendance & completion of the readings. The quiz grades can be added to other course assignments.

    Extra credit opportunities will be announced electronically only. You should check your email for opportunities and deadlines.

Required Reading

Santrock, J. W. (2008). Adolescence 12th edition. Boston: McGraw-Hill/Duskin Publishers.
Additional readings are available on MyTulane under Course Documents.
Recommended Text: American Psychological Association (2001). Publication Manual of the American
Psychological Association, 5th Edition. Washington, D. C.: APA.


Note: Chapter = Santrock Text

Week #1

  • Class introduction & overview

1-16-08: Chapter 1

  • The Nature of Adolescent Development (Intro)


  • Younnis, J. (2005). G. Stanley Hall: Neither psychology alone nor basic research is sufficient. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 15, 357-366.
  • Arnett, J. J. (2000). Emergent adulthood: A theory of development from the late teens through the twenties. American Psychologist, 55, 469-480.

Discussion Topic #1

  • Adolescents in the 21st century have more opportunities than previous groups of adolescents. Some researchers argue that the 21st century is both the best and worst of times for today?s and tomorrow?s adolescents. How are today?s teens more advantaged and more challenged than previous cohorts of adolescents?

Week #2
1-21-08 No Class -  University Holiday

  • Chapter 2 Puberty, Health, Biological Foundations


  • Mendle, J., Turkheimer, E., & Emery, R. E. (2007). Detrimental psychological outcomes associated with early pubertal timing in adolescent girls. Developmental Review, 27, 151-171.
  • Taga, K. A., Markey, C. N., & Friedman, H. S. (2006). A longitudinal investigation of the associations between boys? pubertal timing and adult behavioral health and well-being. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 35, 401-411.

Discussion Topic #2

  • Most researchers currently involved in adolescent research agree that development includes a combination of socioemotional, cognitive, and biological processes. However, the balance of how these processes are associated with adolescent development depends on how and when adolescents grow. What are the major advances that have allowed researchers to address questions of adolescent biological development? How are these new technological advances associated with adolescent social processes that simultaneously occur?


  • (NOTE: Service Learning students will go to their site orientation. Service Learning students must submit their discussion topic to my mailbox in Percival Stern Hall, room 2007 by noon.

Week # 3

  • Chapter 3 The Brain and Cognitive Development


  • Walker, E. F. (2002). Adolescent neurodevelopment and psychopathology. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 11, 24-28.


  • Arnett, J. J. (1999). Adolescent storm and stress, reconsidered. American Psychologist, 54, 317-326.

Discussion Topic #3

  • Adolescent cognitive development is heavily influenced by the works of Piaget, Vygotsky, and the information-processing view. How have these perspectives influenced how researchers understand adolescent thinking, adolescent assessments, and adolescent social cognition?

Week #4
2-04-08 - No Class - Carnival Break
2-06-08 - No Class - Independent Work

  • How to write an empirical article critique, how to write an adolescent movie critique and reading below?

Kozhevnikov, M. (2007). Cognitive styles in the context of modern psychology: Toward an integrated framework of cognitive style. Psychological Bulletin, 133, 464-481.

Week #5

  • Chapter 4 The Self, Identity, Emotions, and Personality


  • Sellers, R. M., Smith, M. A., Shelton, J. N., Rowley, S. J., & Chavous, T. M. (1998). Multidimensional model of racial identity: A reconceptualiztion of African American racial identity. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 2, 18-39.


  • Miville, M., Darlington, P., Whitlock, B., & Mulligan, T. (2005). Integrating identity: The relationships of racial, gender, and ego identities among White college students. Journal of College Student Development, 46, 157-175.

Discussion Topic #4

  • Concepts of the self, identity development, and personality vary depending on who is
  • defining the construct and in the context in which the terms are used. How are these
  • processes both similar and different for diverse groups of adolescents?

Week #6

  • Exam #1
  • Chapters 1- 4, readings and info from class lectures & discussions


  • Chapter 5 Gender


  • Crouter, A. C., Whiteman, S. D., McHale, S. M., & Osgood, D. W. (2007). Development of gender attitude traditionally across middle childhood and adolescence. Child Development, 78, 911-926.

Discussion Topic #5

  • Most researchers would agree that gender issues become more salient during the adolescence than during childhood. How is the ?gender? concept influenced by biological, social, and cognitive processes? How do these processes influence gender stereotypes, similarities, and differences? Lastly, how do these processes impact gender-role classification?

Week #7

  • Chapter 6 Sexuality


  • Savin-Williams, R. C. (2006). Who?s gay? Does it matter? Current Directions in Psychological Science, 15, 40-44.


  • Striepe, M. I., & Tolman, D. L. (2003). Mom, dad, I?m straight: The coming out of gender ideologies adolescent sexual identity development. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 32, 523-530.

Discussion Topic #6

  • Adolescents experience sexuality in unique, but similar ways. How do adolescents come to understand themselves sexuality? Is adolescent sexuality easier for males or females?

Week #8

  • Chapter 7 Moral Development, Values, and Religion


  • Carlo, G., Crockett, L. J., Randall, B. A., & Roesch, S. C. (2007). A latent growth curve analysis of prosocial behavior among rural adolescents. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 17, 301-324.


  • King, P.E., & Boyatzis, C. (2004). Exploring adolescent spirituality and religious development: Current and future theoretical and empirical perspectives. Applied Developmental Science, 8, 2-6.

Discussion Topic #7

  • Most faith-based institutions have rituals associated with the adolescent developmental period. Are these rituals associated with adolescent spirituality? What other factors influence adolescent spirituality and religious development?


  • Prologue and 1st 4 Service Learning Journal Entries Due.
  • Also, no Service Learning will take place at NOLA public school sites between 3/8/08 - 3/23/08.

Week #9

  • Chapter 8 Families


  • Kim, J., McHale, S., Crouter, A. C., & Osgood, D. W. (2007). Longitudinal linkages between sibling relationships and adjustment from middle childhood through adolescence. Developmental Psychology, 43, 960-973.


  • Shanahan, L., McHale, S. M., Osgood, D. W., & Crouter, A. C. (2007). Conflict frequency with mothers and fathers from middle childhood to adolescence: Within- and between family comparisons. Developmental Psychology, 43, 539-550.

Week #10 - Spring Break

Week #11
3-24-08 - Easter Break

Service Learning at public school sites begins again.


  • Wainwright, J. L., Russell, S. T., & Patterson, C. J. (2004). Psychosocial adjustment, school outcomes, and romantic relationships of adolescents with same-sex parents. Child Development, 75, 1886-1898.


  • Pittman, L. D. (2007). Grandmother?s involvement among young adolescents growing up in poverty. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 17, 89-116.

Discussion Topic #8

  • Many researchers describe conflict between parents and adolescents as normative because of the developmental milestones associated with each group. Less clear is how contributions from specific parents (e.g., mother vs. father) as well as siblings contribute to adolescent behaviors. Recognizing the adolescence is embedded in several ecological niches, how do mothers, fathers, siblings, and extended kin interact to influence adolescent behaviors?

Week #12

  • Exam # 2 - Chapters 5-8, readings, and info from class lectures and discussions


  • Chapter 9 Peer and Romantic Relationships


  • Becker, B. E., & Luthar, S. (2007). Peer-perceived admiration and social preference: Contextual correlates of positive peer regard among suburban and urban adolescents. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 17, 117-144.

Discussion Topic #9

  • Peer and romantic relationships increase in meaning and intensity during adolescence. What are some of the strengths and weaknesses in this increase?

Week #13

  • Chapter 10 Schools


  • Benner, A. D., & Graham, S. (2007). Navigating the transition to multi-ethnic urban high schools: Changing ethnic congruence and adolescents? school-related affect. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 17, 207-220.


  • Blackwell, L. S., Trzesniewski, K. H., & Dweck, C. S. (2007). Implicit theories of intelligence predict achievement across and adolescent transition: A longitudinal study and an intervention. Child Development, 78, 246-263.

Discussion Topic #10

  • Adolescents spend a significant amount of time in schools. How do schools influence adolescent achievement? What policy recommendations can you make to support optimal academic development for all adolescents?

Week #14

  • Chapter 11 Achievement, Work, and Careers


  • Darling, N., Bogat, G.A., Cavell, T.A, Murphy, S.E., & Sanchez, B. (2006). Gender, ethnicity, development, and risk: Mentoring and the consideration of individual differences. Journal of Community Psychology, 34, 765-779.


  • Warner, S., & Moore, S. (2004). Excuses, excuses: Self-handicapping in an Australian adolescent sample. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 33, 271-281.

Discussion Topic #11

  • How does working influence adolescent development? In particular, how is achievement motivation associated with adolescents who work?

Week #15

  • Chapter 12 Culture

4-23-08 '

  • Chapter 13 Problems in


  • Last day to do Service Learning

Week #16

  • Exam #3 Chapters 9-13, readings, and info from class lectures and discussions

5-03-08 (Saturday) Final Exam 10:00 am - 12:00 pm

Service Learning Journal - For students enrolled in PSYC 389-03

Students may add a Service Learning component to the course (PSYC 389-03 one credit). The requirement includes 40 hours of a participant-observation experience in a community partner site. The sites for this course are Tulane University?s Upward Bound Program and the New Orleans Science and Mathematics High School. Students will also have to complete a journal of their experiences and work with the site to complete a project that will be determined between you and the site. The journal should contain many linkages to class readings and discussions.

The journal is submitted in two parts. The Prologue and entries 1-4 are due on March 7, 2008. Entries 5-8 and the Epilogue are due on April 28, 2008.

The best Service Learning journals have many linkages to the course readings and class
discussions. Explicit descriptions are useful as examples of phenomena discussed in class or mentioned in the readings. However, NEVER use the real name of your Service Learning student in your journal. Use a pseudonym or the student?s initials to protect the student's identity. Each journal entry should not be longer than 2 typed and double-spaced pages. The total journal should be between 10-14 pages in length.

Suggested Journal Topics

  • Service Learning Prologue – What do you expect to get from your Service Learning experience? How will it impact your learning and link to class materials? If this is a new Service Learning site, how do think the students and staff of the organization will perceive you? What goals do you have for the semester?s Service Learning experience?
  • Service Learning Journal entry #1: Describe physical attributes of the adolescent(s) who you are working with at the Service Learning site. Is he or she experiencing a noticeable physical change? How would you characterize their pubertal development (e.g., early, middle, or late adolescent)? Explain your response.
  • Service Learning Journal entry #2:  Describe aspects of social cognition that you have observed while working at your Service Learning site. Specifically, you should comment on aspects of abstract thinking, egocentrism, and personal fable.
  • Service Learning Journal entry #3: How are adolescent gender roles exhibited in adolescents at your Service Learning Site? Are gender roles pronounced? Explain your response.
  • Service Learning Journal entry #4: What aspects of identity development are seen in your adolescents. Have they begun to deal with aspects of their racial identity? Explain your response with examples.
  • Service Learning Journal entry #5:  Have you noticed peer influences? If so describe how peers impact the social and academic aspects of your adolescents. What caricatures can be used to describe the adolescents with whom you work.
  • Service Learning Journal entry #6: How has the school (or academic) context influenced the adolescents that you observe? Does the school (or academic context) make a difference in the behaviors exhibited in the adolescents?
  • Service Learning Journal entry #7: What are some of the professional and academic goals and aspirations of adolescents in your Service Learning Site? How were these goals developed? What support networks will be needed to assist the adolescents in meeting their professional and academic goals?
  • Service Learning Journal entry #8: What the adolescent culture in the context of your Service Learning Site? Describe links to larger societal aspects of how the US views adolescents.
  • Service Learning Epilogue: Revisit your prologue. Have your expectations been met? What would change to make the Service Learning experience more beneficial?

Empirical Article Critique

Empirical Article critiques are graded in accordance to the requirements listed below. The critique must include the following things:

  1. APA style article reference
  2. The content of the article critique must contain the following sections:
    • Section 1 - summary of the articl (this is your summary, not the abstract from the article)
    • Section 2 -  How is the article related to a topic covered in class? Make explicit links. Describe how the authors advanced our textbook knowledge.
    • Section 3 – Were there limitations to the authors? findings? What would have to change if the study was replicated on a different ethnic group and a different social economic group?
    • Section 4 - Did the authors? findings advance scientific knowledge? If so, how? If not, why not?
    • Section 5 - State your concluding remarks. Did you enjoy the article? Do you have any personal reactions to the points made?
  3. You must attach the article?s abstract to your critique.

Journals from which you may choose: Adolescence; Child Development; Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology; Developmental Psychology; Development and Psychopathology; Journal of Adolescence; Journal of Adolescent Health; Journal of Adolescence Research; Journal of Black Psychology; Journal of Research on Adolescence; Journal of Youth and Adolescence; Youth and Society

Adolescent Movie Critique Criteria

Total Length – (2-3) typed double spaced pages
At the top of 1st page place your name, the date, and the title of the movie.
The critique must include the following things:

  • Section 1 - Summary of the movie (this is your summary, not the description on the movie
  • case)
  • Section 2 - How is the movie related to a topic or topics covered in class? Make explicit
  • linkages.
  • Section 3 - How are adolescents portrayed in the movie? Consider the movie?s timeframe. Are
  • adolescent portrayals realistic?
  • Section 4 - What research questions can be developed from viewing the movie?
  • Section 5 - Conclusions and personal reactions