PSYC 3451
Adolescent Development

3.0 Credits


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.

Delivery Method

Print and Online, self-paced.


PSYC 1111 and PSYC 1211

Recommended Requisites

PSYC 2111


SOCW 3551


After successfully completing this course, you will be able to:

  • Outline the historical perspective of adolescence.
  • Describe the fundamental changes of adolescence including the biological, cognitive, and social transitions that adolescence experience.
  • Explain the significance and influence of the various contexts of adolescence: family environments, peer groups, schools, and environments where adolescents work and spend leisure time.
  • Describe the various aspects of psychosocial development: identity, autonomy, intimacy, sexuality, achievement, and psychosocial problems.

Course Outline

PSYC 3451: Adolescent Development is divided into four modules of study. Each module includes learning objectives, reading assignments, and learning activities to guide further thinking, and a graded assignment. The modules are divided into topics as follows:

Module 1: The Fundamental Changes of Adolescence

  • 1.1 A Perspective on Adolescence and the Changes of Puberty
  • 1.2 Cognitive Transitions
  • 1.3 Society and the Adolescent

Module 2: The Contexts of Adolescence

  • 2.1 The Influence of the Family on the Adolescent
  • 2.2 Peer Groups
  • 2.3 Adolescents and Schooling

Module 3: Psychosocial Development during Adolescence

  • 3:1 Identity
  • 3:2 Autonomy
  • 3:3 Achievement

Module 4: The Adolescent and the Emerging Adult

  • 4.1 Intimacy
  • 4.2 Sexuality
  • 4.3 Psychosocial Problems in Adolescence

Maximum Completion

30 weeks.

Required Text and Materials

Steinberg, L. Adolescence. 11th ed. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill, 2017.
Type: Textbook, ISBN: 978-1-259-56782-7

Additional Requirements

A computer with internet access. Print students need to access some TRU library journal articles.

Open Learning Faculty Member Information

An Open Learning Faculty Member is available to assist students. Primary communication is by phone if you are taking the print version of the course and through the "mail" tool in the Learning Environment if you are taking the web version. You will receive the necessary contact information when you start your course.


There are four assignments, four reflections, and a final exam in this course. The suggested schedule will direct you when to do each assessment.

To complete this course successfully, you must achieve a passing grade of 50 per cent or higher on the overall course and 50 per cent or higher on the mandatory Final Exam. The following table illustrates how your final grade will be determined for this course.

Assignment 1 10%
Assignment 2 10%
Assignment 3 10%
Assignment 4 10%
Reflections 10%
Final Exam * 50%
Total 100%

* Mandatory