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November 10, 1962

Social Influence on Adolescent Behavior

Author Affiliations

From the Institute for Juvenile Reseach.

JAMA. 1962;182(6):643-649. doi:10.1001/jama.1962.03050450043010

The development of youth culture and the parallel separation of adolescents from adults becomes intelligible when analyzed in terms of rapid social change, affluence, and the role of the automobile in our society. Youth groups, characterized by distinctive activities and codes, tend to seek approbation and assistance in the solution of their problems from peers and the mass media, rather than from adults. The incidence of problems among adolescents differs widely from one area to another. Role problems developing in the transition from adolescence to adulthood, and conduct problems, are least serious in rural areas and most serious in the devalued areas of large cities. In these areas, where street groups engage in serious delinquency, many of the male adolescents are out of school and out of work. The author suggests institutional innovation as the answer.