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Thompson Rivers University
Thompson Rivers University

PSYC 3451: Adolescent Development

Continuing from PSYC 3151: Developmental Psychology of Children, students examine the adolescent years, In addition to the general theoretical issues and methods of studying development, the course presents the physical, cognitive, personality and social development during adolescence, in the contexts of family, peer group, school, work, and culture. Specific in-depth topics include identity, autonomy, sexuality, and moral development. Although students focus on normal development, there is discussion of behavioural and emotional problems such as delinquency, substance abuse, depression, suicide, and eating disorders. This course has been designed to highlight cross-cultural research.

Learning outcomes

  • Understand the historical emergence of the period of adolescence and how this period has changed over generations.
  • Understand the lifespan view of development and contrast it to other traditional theories.
  • Know the methods by which adolescent development is studied.
  • Understand the ways in which physical, cognitive, social, emotional, and personality development interact in producing whole, complex individuals.
  • Understand the roles of various contexts (family, peers, schools, and culture) in influencing adolescent development, and have some ideas about how to maximize their positive contributions and how strengths in one context can compensate for weaknesses in others.
  • Understand the importance for theory and for educational practices of recognizing and studying cross-cultural differences in socialization, learning style, and values.
  • Understand the various aspects of personality development, particularly as they develop in the adolescent years: identity, autonomy, gender roles, sexuality, moral principles, and behaviour.
  • Understand the complex, longitudinal ways in which most problems develop, including our current understanding of how biological and environmental factors interact in creating various types of problems.

Course topics

Module 1: The Fundamental Changes of Adolescence

Module 2: The Contexts of Adolescence

Module 3: Psychosocial Development I

Module 4: Psychosocial Development II

Required text and materials

The following material is required for the course:

  1. Steinberg, L. (2023) Adolescence (13th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw Hill Education.
    Type: Textbook. ISBN: 9781265197285


Please be aware that should your course have a final exam, you are responsible for the fee to the online proctoring service, ProctorU, or to the in-person approved Testing Centre. Please contact with any questions about this.

To complete this course successfully, studentsmust achieve a passing grade of 50% or higher on the overall course and 50% or higher on the mandatory Final Exam.

Assignment 1: The Fundamental Changes of Adolescence 10%
Assignment 2: The Contexts of Adolescence 10%
Assignment 3: Psychosocial Development I 10%
Assignment 4: Psychosocial Development II 10%
Research/Policy Paper: Annotated Bibliography 3%
Research/Policy Paper: Proposal 12%
Reflections 5%
Final Exam (mandatory) 40%
Total 100%

Open Learning Faculty Member Information

An Open Learning Faculty Member is available to assist students. Students will receive the necessary contact information at the start of the course.

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