full version Adolescents In Transition In India Essay

Adolescents In Transition In India

Category: Psychology

Autor: dina 28 July 2010

Words: 1567 | Pages: 7

ADOLESCENTS IN TRANSITION

Ever since Margaret Meed (1928) published her famous study, Coming of Age in Samoa, scholars from different disciplines have disagreed over the extent to which adolescence – as a life stage or as a development period – is biologically programmed.
Biological factors contribute in no less way than other factors in determining the timing of adolescence. Simmons and Blyth (1987) conducted a pioneering study on how biological changes accompanying puberty may have different consequences in different social contexts. Gradually social scientists are beginning to accept the notion that biology matters in a variety way for both individual and interpersonal processes (Rowe & Rodgers, 1997). Transition does not mean a break with or a change from what has gone before but rather a passage from one stage of development to another. During any transition period, the individual's status is vague and there is confusion about the roles the individual is expected to play. Transition refers to a passage from one stage of development to another. The adolescent during transition is neither a child nor on adult.

Adolescents in transition

Adolescence is a period of physical, psychological and social maturity from childhood to adulthood extended from the onset of puberty to attainment of full reproductive maturity. Adolescence has been defined as including those between 10 to 19 years of age (WHO/UNICEF statement 1989).

Transition does not mean a break with or a change from what has gone before but rather a passage from one stage of development to another. During any transition period, the individual's status is vague and there is confusion about the roles the individual is expected to play. Transition refers to a passage from one stage of development to another. The adolescent during transition is neither a child nor on adult.

In India, adolescence is traditionally viewed as an age of learning and strengthening the moral, spiritual and intellectual basis. It is therefore, a period considered for the adolescents to strictly abstain from sexual and reproductive activity. However the changing socio-cultural and technological era witnesses changes in the conceptual, attitudinal and behavioral aspects of society thus creating a need for education on human sexuality for adolescents.

Adolescents have been defined as persons between the ages of 10 and 19 years (WHO/UNICEF STATEMENT 1989). Adolescence is a crossroad in the development of life. India has an estimated 190 million adolescents comprising one fifth of the population. But their health needs, particularly reproductive health needs continue to be ignored and neglected. Adolescents in India are rarely considered as distinct group with special needs apart from those of children and adults. Despite the fact that adolescents represent a large proportion of the population, need for information about them has been recognized only very recently. Such lack of attention to adolescents has led to disturbingly high rates of adolescent marriage and fertility (IIPS 1995). Health Risks of Early Marriage and Childbearing is well documented (Acharya, 1998; Ramachandran, 1989; Jejeebhoy and Rama Rao, 1995). Although data are sparse and largely hospital-based, the available evidence suggests that maternal deaths are considerably higher among adolescents than older women (Pachauri and Jamshedji, 1983; Ascadi and Johnson-Acsadi, 1990; Bhatia, 1988). Studies that report on morbidity among adolescents suggest that levels of anemia and complications of pregnancy are considerably higher in this group than among older women (Pachauri and Jamshedji, 1983; Ramachandran, 1989). A community based study of poor adolescents and adult women in Andhra Pradesh found weight gain among adolescents during pregnancy was 2.7 kg compared to 4.8 kg among adult women. Similarly, weight loss during lactation was higher among adolescents than among adult women (2.9 and 1.9 kg, respectively), and birth weight and subsequent weight gain was substantially lower among infants born to adolescents compared to adult women (Geervani and Jaayashree, 1988). Another community based study in rural Maharashtra identified young maternal age as the leading factor for low birth weight (Hirve and Ganatra, 1994).

Whether or not adolescent is finally recognized as a distant stage of life, virtually all cultures distinguish young people and adults. Furthermore, most cultures institutionalize a period of preparation for adulthood. Despite some uniformities, however, the structure and content of the adolescent period varies markedly from culture to culture in ways that reflect broader social and institutional patterns (Benedict 1937) in other words, the cultural structuring of adolescence differs among societies.

In most societies, marriage marks the end of adolescence and the beginning of adulthood (Schlegel and Barry 1991). In Industrialized societies, the completion of formal schooling, entry into fulltime employment, moving out of the parental household and becoming financially independent also may serve as marker of entry into adulthood (Elliott and Feldman, 1990). Adolescence is a period of physical psychological and social maturity from childhood to adulthood extended from the onset of puberty to attainment of full reproductive maturity. Adolescence has been defined as including those between 10 to 19 years of age (WHO/UNICEF statement, 1989). Adolescence can be further divided into early and late adolescence depending on their age i.e. 10-14 and 15-19 respectively.

In addition to shaping the adolescent social roles, societal changes in the 20th century have directly affected the health risks to which young people are exposed. On the opposite side, the present century has seen dramatic improvement in nutrition, public health practices, and medical technology. These advances have significantly reduced mortality among adolescents.

It is also important to recognize that changes in key contexts may enhance growth as well as risk and may have different implications for adolescent health, depending on other circumstances. In particular, persisting characteristics of the adolescent may influence both the response to new or changed social contexts and subsequent health and well-being. Given that most adolescent health risks are linked to behavioral choices (e.g., Sex and Substance use or to violence), inadequate adult guidance and supervision might be expected to increase the likelihood of negative health outcomes particularly for younger adolescents (Crockett 1996).

Historical Foundations of Contemporary adolescence

The critical role of social conditions in molding contemporary adolescence is best understood in historical perspective. In western society, the relation of youth to adult society changed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries as a function of three interrelated trends: a decline in the demand for child labor, an increased emphasis on education, and a transformation in the cultural view of children. Similar change is noticed in Indian society in late 20th century.

The reduction in employment among youth was offset, in part, by an increased emphasis on schooling. In addition, schooling came to be seen as a route to occupational success. As opportunities in forming decreased, many families encouraged their sons to pursue formal education in order to prepare for alternative careers in business or the professions. The sentimental view of children made their use for economic gain morally suspect. Children and young adolescents wee recast as emotionally priceless but economically useless.

The link between the adolescent years and the transition to adulthood is an area in which developmentalists have not yet began to play a major role.

The topic of the transition to adulthood has been the subject of considerable investigation by economists and social demographers because of its policy significance.

Adolescence only emerged as a discrete life stage in the middle decade of the 20th century, when the transition from childhood to adulthood became more predictable, rapidly accomplished, and socially organized (Feldman & Elliot, 1990).As a rule adolescence became culturally defined as a life stage when full time education replaces full-time employment as the primary activity of young people. This transformation typically happens in societies with advanced economics, in which a greater premium is placed on education and training. This phase of the life course establishes a youth based social world that is age segregated, partially buffered from adult control, and relatively turned in on itself. This transformation encourages the development of a youth culture that is impelled to distinguish itself from adulthood and can establish its own system of rewards. (Berger, 1972; Coleman, 1974; Ecredkt, 1989; Flacks, 1971).

The Demography of Adolescence

By all accounts, adolescents become a more distinctive and culturally marked life stage during the second third of this century. Marriage is the central event that orchestrates many aspects of the passage to adult hood, including school departure, entrance to the labor force; the onset of sexual relations and departure from the natal household. Closely intervened and interdependent, these events typically occur in the late teens and early 20's for a large portion of the population. The NFHS II data indicates that the close interrelationship of these events began to unravel at the century's end, extending the transition to adulthood well in to the third decade of life.

These events that make up the transition to adulthood have generally been studied separately rather than in conjunction with one another. Needless to say, these changes carry profound implications for the timing of marriage and the formation of families. Similarly, departure from natal household now occurs well before marriage for many young people, who leave home to pursue schooling or after they enter the labor force.

These demographic patterns suggest that the transition to adulthood is now occurring over a longer span of years than was the case during the middle of the 20th century.
In India there are no longitudinal studies that follow children through adolescence into early adulthood. Neither is there any systematic qualitative study that shows how adolescents and their parents, teachers and mentors construct the world and negotiate the process that lead to success and failure.