Researchers at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, with assistance from the University of Victoria, surveyed a random sample of nearly 700 adolescents from a medium-sized North American city and asked them questions about dating, sexual experience, smoking, alcohol and drug use. The participants, males and females between 12 to 19 years of age, were also asked how old they felt compared to their same-sex peers. Survey results indicated that, as is typical for teens, the sample felt older than their chronological age.
Kelly Arbeau, a doctoral student in psychology at the University of Alberta and co-author of the study, explained that she and her fellow researchers set out to find what’s behind the discrepancy between how old teens feel and how old they really are.
“We found that specific behaviors do have an effect on adolescents’ self-perceived age,” said Arbeau. “For example, having an older dating partner seems to give a teen a higher subjective experience of age.”
Sexual activity, especially starting at an earlier age, was found to have an important relationship to teens’ subjective experience of age (SEA). “Sexual experience is unequivocally the realm of adult behavior,” Arbeau explained. “So, when teens are having sex and their peers aren’t, it can make them feel more adult, more mature than their non-experienced counterparts.”
Smoking (in boys), higher alcohol use and higher drug use were also related to an older SEA. These results suggest an increasing discrepancy between SEA and chronological age across the teen years as young people experience the normative changes associated with adolescence. People in their 20s feel about the age they are or slightly older, but after age 30 and into old age, the average person has an SEA that is younger than his or her chronological age. Adolescence is the only point in the lifespan during which individuals consistently feel older than they are chronologically.
As for the popular wisdom that girls mature earlier than boys, the results of the study seem to support that, with girls more likely to feel older than are boys. This may shed some light on why companies are more likely to target teen girls than teen boys with products once considered only for adults.
The study appears in the June 2007 issue of the Journal of Adolescence.
Isabela Varela | EurekAlert!
The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change
17.11.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig
Win-win strategies for climate and food security
02.10.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
High-precision measurement of the g-factor eleven times more precise than before / Results indicate a strong similarity between protons and antiprotons
The magnetic moment of an individual proton is inconceivably small, but can still be quantified. The basis for undertaking this measurement was laid over ten...
Heat from the friction of rocks caused by tidal forces could be the “engine” for the hydrothermal activity on Saturn's moon Enceladus. This presupposes that...
The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.
Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....
The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.
Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...
Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.
That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...
15.11.2017 | Event News
15.11.2017 | Event News
30.10.2017 | Event News
24.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
24.11.2017 | Health and Medicine
24.11.2017 | Earth Sciences