Media Influences And Other Selected Issues In Adolescent Psychology Texts

1952 words - 8 pages

Over the years, a number of critical analyses have appeared regarding the content of textbooks in basic psychology (Gillen, 1973; Hofmann & Vyhonsky, 1975; Miller, 1978; Sommer & Sommer, 1983). Two of these analyses involved the issues of intelligence, socioeconomic background, and race (Miller, 1978; Sommer & Sommer, 1983). In these studies textbook research citations regarding the effects of environment and heredity on intellectual development were scrutinized and conclusions drawn concerning the accuracy and usefulness of these data for instructors and students of abnormal, developmental, and educational psychology.Two other investigations (Gillen, 1973; Hofmann & ...view middle of the document...

Some researchers have suggested that the content of popular music and television programming reflects the interests and concerns of adolescents (Coles, 1969; Seltzer, 1976; Tanner, 1981). Others have suggested that popular music plays a more active role in adolescence—that of actually shaping or influencing young listeners by leading them to question established behavior patterns, values, and ideas (Larson & Kubey, 1983; Rosenstone, 1974). The music of the 1960s, in particular, served as a focal point for raising issues of sensitive personal and social concern (Coles, 1969; Rosenstone, 1974).Current popular music and television programming has become a topic of similar controversy and concern; overt drug use, violence, and sex are frequent themes in music and on television (Larson & Kubey, 1983; Rosenstone, 1974). With the 1981 advent of MTV, the cable music television network, questions have been raised in the mass media itself concerning the effects of music and MTV on the attitudes, values, and behaviors of American youth (“Firestorm Smoldering,” 1985; Powell, 1985; Stroud, 1985). A recent U.S. News & World Report cover story (Powell, 1985) cited President Reagan's outrage over the message of some of today's popular music. Broadcasting magazine (“Firestorm Smoldering,” 1985) outlined the reactions of the record and broadcasting industries to the increasingly explicit content of popular music and MTV. Perhaps Stroud's (1985)Newsweek editorial, “Stop Pornographic Rock,” best illustrates the extent of the controversy concerning popular music.A thorough textbook analysis of media effects on adolescent development appears to be important in that such an analysis might be the only source of systematic scientific information available to parents, educators, and others interested in understanding the transition from adolescence to adulthood and promoting young people's personal and social growth. A cursory review of the content of adolescent psychology journals indicates comprehensive coverage of issues identified traditionally with adolescence (e.g., sexuality, identity, drug and alcohol use, peer pressure, the generation gap). Similar issues appear in popular music and MTV programming as well. However, the frequency with which these issues, and the issue of music and media influence, are addressed in introductory adolescent psychology texts has not been established.In the present study, a content analysis of 10 adolescent psychology textbooks published from 1983 to 1985 was conducted. The tables of contents, chapter headings, subheadings, and subject indexes of these texts were reviewed in order to determine the number of pages devoted to discussion of selected issues of adolescent interest and concern. The specific issues selected for study were sexuality, identity, drug and alcohol use, peer pressure and conformity, parental pressure and the generation gap, and the influence of the media (i.e., music,...

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