Great Myths of Adolescence

Great Myths of Adolescence

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A research-based guide to debunking commonly misunderstood myths about adolescence


Great Myths of Adolescence contains the evidence-based science that debunks the myths and commonly held misconceptions concerning adolescence. The book explores myths related to sex, drugs and self-control, as well as many others. The authors define each myth, identify each myth's prevalence and present the latest and most significant research debunking the myth. The text is grounded in the authors' own research on the prevalence of belief in each myth, from the perspective of college students. Additionally, various pop culture icons that have helped propagate the myths are discussed.


Written by noted experts, the book explores a wealth of topics including: The teen brain is fully developed by 18; Greek life has a negative effect on college students academically; significant mood disruptions in adolescence are inevitable; the millennial generation is lazy; and much more. This important resource:





Shatters commonly held and topical myths relating to gender, education, technology, sex, crime and more

Based in empirical and up-to-date research including the authors' own

Links each myth to icons of pop culture who/which have helped propagate them

Discusses why myths are harmful and best practices related to the various topics

A volume in the popular Great Myths of Psychology series



Written for undergraduate students studying psychology modules in Adolescence and developmental psychology, students studying childhood studies and education studies, Great Myths of Adolescence offers an important guide that debunks misconceptions about adolescence behavior. This book also pairs well with another book by two of the authors, Great Myths of Child Development.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 208 pages
  • 153 x 228 x 10mm | 274g
  • Wiley-Blackwell
  • Hoboken, United States
  • English
  • 1119248779
  • 9781119248774
  • 1,816,247

Back cover copy

A RESEARCH-BASED GUIDE TO DEBUNKING COMMONLY MISUNDERSTOOD MYTHS ABOUT ADOLESCENCE

Great Myths of Adolescence contains the evidence-based science that debunks the myths and commonly held misconceptions concerning adolescence. The book explores myths related to sex, drugs and self-control, as well as many others. The authors define each myth, identify each myth's prevalence and present the latest and most significant research debunking the myth. The text is grounded in the authors' own research on the prevalence of belief in each myth, from the perspective of college students. Additionally, various pop culture icons that have helped propagate the myths are discussed.

Written by noted experts, the book explores 50 common myths including: The teen brain is fully developed by 18; Greek life has a negative effect on college students academically; significant mood disruptions in adolescence are inevitable; the millennial generation is lazy; and much more. This important resource: Shatters commonly held and topical myths relating to gender, education, technology, sex, crime and more Based in empirical and up-to-date research including the authors' own Links each myth to icons of pop culture who/which have helped propagate them Discusses why myths are harmful and best practices related to the various topics A volume in the popular Great Myths of Psychology series

Written for educators, parents, childhood studies and education studies students, and undergraduate students studying psychology modules in Adolescence and developmental psychology, Great Myths of Adolescence offers an important guide that debunks misconceptions about adolescence behavior. This book also pairs well with another book by two of the authors, Great Myths of Child Development.
show more

Table of contents

Foreword x


Preface xvii


Introduction 1


1 Development of the Body, Brain, and Mind 7


1 Adolescence ends at 18 years old 8


2 Girls are universally experiencing puberty sooner in recent years 16


3 The teen brain is fully developed by age 18 24


4 Anorexia treatment usually requires teens to be separated from their parents 33


5 Technology has made teens better at multitasking 38


Mini myths for development of the body,brain, and mind 46


6 Pubertal "early bloomers" fare better than "late bloomers" 46


7 Teens can study better while listening to music 48


8 The "Freshman 15": College students gain 15 pounds their freshman year 50


9 Horses are helpful in the treatment of eating disorders, autism spectrum, and more 51


10 The onset of puberty is very upsetting to most teens 52


11 Male teens are much less likely than females to be preoccupied with their physical appearance 54


12 Most teens hardly ever engage in leisure reading these days 55


13 Greek life has a negative effect on college students academically 56


14 Paying for prep courses is the best way to make large gains on the SAT 57


2 Development of the Self 59


15 Significant mood disruptions in adolescence are inevitable 60


16 Teens should have a job in high school to build character 64


17 Risky behavior in adolescence is inevitable 68


18 Taking care of an infant simulator doll increases abstinence from sexual activity 72


19 College placement tests are useless at predicting academic success in college 77


Mini myths for development of the self 82


20 College students' lives are full of random hook?ups 82


21 Teaching teens about contraception makes them more likely to engage in sexual activity 84


22 Abstinence?only sex education programs are effective at keeping teens abstinent 85


23 The HPV vaccine increases teen sex 86


24 The millennial generation is lazy 87


25 High school football players are more likely to become seriously injured than cheerleaders 88


26 Offenders hide sexual interest when using the internet to initiate sex offenses against teens 90


27 Conversion therapy effectively turns homosexual teens into straight teens 91


28 Teens underestimate the consequences of risky behavior and adults do not 94


3 The Social Environment 96


29 More quality time with teens can make up for less quantity of time 96


30 Successful transition from adolescence to adulthood is achieved through detachment from parents 98


31 Popular teens are usually mean 107


32 Peer pressure only causes teens to make bad decisions 112


33 Boys only use sticks and stones to hurt while girls use words instead 117


Mini myths for the social environment 121


34 Most teens have a strained relationship with their parents 121


35 Asking teens if they have thought about suicide "plants a seed" and makes them more likely to actually attempt suicide 123


36 Teens only listen to their peers 125


37 When girls are sexually assaulted it is usually by a stranger 125


38 Most college students graduate in 4 years 126


39 College is the happiest time of one's life 127


4 Problems in Modern Society 130


40 Teens these days are worse behaved than those of previous generations 130


41 School violence is on the rise 139


42 Boot camps get teens "on the right path" 149


43 Most teens party with drugs or alcohol on weekends 154


44 DARE programs prevent teen drug use 158


45 Listening to heavy metal or rap music makes teens more likely to defy authority 165


Mini myths for problems in modern society 173


46 Teens have the highest suicide rate 173


47 Goggles mimicking drunkenness help prevent impaired driving 174


48 Teens can be "scared straight" 176


49 Sexting is only a teen problem 177


50 Traditional High School Driver education courses have a strong record of making teens safe drivers 178


Index 180
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About Jeremy D. Jewell

Jeremy D. Jewell, PhD, is a Professor at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and Director of the Clinical Child and School Psychology graduate program. He was awarded the SIUE Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity Mentor Award in 2012 and the Hoppe Research Professor Award in 2016.


Michael I. Axelrod, PhD, is Director of the Human Development Center and a Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.


Mitchell J. Prinstein, PhD, ABPP, is John Van Seters Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience and Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


Stephen Hupp, PhD, is a Professor of Clinical Child and School Psychology at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. He is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist and consultant for the East St. Louis Head Start program.
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