Description: It has been theorized that the ancient historic wholesale movements of people out of Africa, into Europe and over land bridges to North America were initiated not by group elders but by adolescents who decided that their futures were better pursued in places other than where they were. The thought is that others followed, and humankind moved around on the plant. If adolescents look towards and, perhaps move towards, their and our futures what are we to make of the current state of adolescents in North America and world-wide? There has been a 54% increase in adolescent suicides between 2007 and 2020. Something is going on and it may well be much harder for adolescents these days to see where they might go. Research has been, and needs to continue, looking at the contributions of social media, smart phones and the pandemic to this current state of adolescent wellbeing affairs but what else should we be looking at? Consider that question for a moment and then read the article linked below, written by a clinical psychologist who works with adolescents to see what he suggests.
Source: Teenagers Are Telling Us That Something Is Wrong With America, Jamieson Webster, The New York Times.
Date: October 11, 2022
Image by Alexandra_Koch from Pixabay
Article Link: https://www.nytimes.com/2022/10/11/opinion/teenagers-mental-health-america.html
Adolescence and identity development in particular is generally considered to involve serious consideration of the future (of one’s own future). Instead of focusing on what is wrong with the adolescent and emerging adult individuals who currently seem to be struggling with this life transition moment it may be productive to also consider the currently available views of the future they are considering. It may be that adolescence is more challenging these days because the future is, at least, more complicated than it was even in the recent past.
Questions for Discussion:
- How has the adolescent suicide rate changes over the past 14 years?
- What sorts of factors (socio-historical factors) may be making adolescent developmental transitions more challenging these days?
- Beyond individual therapy, what other sorts of interventions might be worth considering in order to help current adolescents developmentally navigate into their futures?
References (Read Further):
Kay, A. (2018). Erikson online: Identity and pseudospeciation in the internet age. Identity, 18(4), 264-273. Link
Schachter, E. P. (2005). Erikson meets the postmodern: Can classic identity theory rise to the challenge?. Identity, 5(2), 137-160. Link
Crocetti, E. (2017). Identity formation in adolescence: The dynamic of forming and consolidating identity commitments. Child Development Perspectives, 11(2), 145-150. Link
Cha, C. B., Franz, P. J., M. Guzmán, E., Glenn, C. R., Kleiman, E. M., & Nock, M. K. (2018). Annual Research Review: Suicide among youth–epidemiology,(potential) etiology, and treatment. Journal of Child Psychology and psychiatry, 59(4), 460-482. Link
Sedgwick, R., Epstein, S., Dutta, R., & Ougrin, D. (2019). Social media, internet use and suicide attempts in adolescents. Current opinion in psychiatry, 32(6), 534. Link
Luby, J., & Kertz, S. (2019). Increasing suicide rates in early adolescent girls in the United States and the equalization of sex disparity in suicide: the need to investigate the role of social media. JAMA network open, 2(5), e193916-e193916. Link