Author(s): Calabrese RL
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Abstract This paper clarifies the relationship of alienation to the period of adolescence by developing a portrait of the alienated and the at-risk adolescent. Current research on adolescent alienation follows two converging themes, the socio-psychological, where deviant behavior is viewed as evidence of adolescent estrangement from self and society, and the sociological, where alienation is divided into a series of dimensions for empirical assessment. These two perspectives converge to describe the alienated adolescent. The alienated adolescent is disruptive, rebukes authority, drops out of school or becomes a passive participant, is prone to suicide, abuses drugs and alcohol, and rejects the norms established by family, school, and society in general. Adolescence is a high-risk period wherein the adolescent experiences multiple environments which exacerbates higher levels of alienation. These environments include disorganized or disruptive families, schools that encourage students to become passive participants in the learning process, and a high-pressured pace of life. To lessen the at-risk nature of adolescents toward alienation, society can take steps to humanize their environment. These steps include the intergenerational integration of adolescents, their assimilation into responsible societal activities, providing them with a sense of meaning, and enfranchisement into the decision-making process.
This article was published in Adolescence
and referenced in Journal of General Practice