Adolescent Boys

Adolescent Boys: Exploring Diverse Cultures of Boyhood

Niobe Way
Judy Y. Chu
FOREWORD BY MICHAEL KIMMEL
Copyright Date: 2004
Published by: NYU Press
Pages: 380
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt155jkhc
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  • Book Info
    Adolescent Boys
    Book Description:

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    eISBN: 978-1-4798-7257-2
    Subjects: Psychology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-x)
  3. Foreword
    (pp. xi-xiv)
    Michael Kimmel

    The “boy” question burst on the scene a couple of years ago. Suddenly, it seemed, America had “discovered” boys.

    A flurry of best-selling titles urged us to “rescue” and “protect” boys. Psychologists like William Pollack, Dan Kindlon, and Michael Thompson described how boys are failing at school, acting out behaviorally, feeling depressed and suicidal, or shutting down emotionally. Most of the better books by these therapists point their finger at what Pollack labeled theboy code—the cultural myths of masculinity to which boys try so desperately and so poignantly to adhere, despite their small frames and trembling hearts. They...

  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xv-xvi)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 1-10)

    This volume brings together current empirical research on the development of adolescent boys from diverse socioeconomic, ethnic, racial, and cultural backgrounds. Recently, there has been a resurgence of interest in boys’ lives and experiences. To some extent, this renewed interest has been inspired by the attention given to adolescent girls in the wake of the feminist movement. Through empirical studies of adolescent girls, feminist scholars have highlighted ways in which cultural constructions of gender, as well as biological manifestations of sex, shape girls’ development. In turn, this body of work has informed new programs and policies—some at a national...

  6. Part I Identity Development
    • 1 Hmong American Masculinities: Creating New Identities in the United States
      (pp. 13-30)
      Stacey J. Lee

      Asian American men have recently been hailed as “turn of the century American heroes” by the popular press (Pan, 2000). Long stereotyped as passive, effeminate, asexual, and nerdy by the dominant culture, Asian American men are now being described by some journalists and academics as ideal romantic partners for women. According to a February 2000 article inNewsweek,hegemonic masculinity as represented by the white male is being challenged by Asian American men. Citing the crossover popularity of actors such as Chow Yun Fat and Jet Li and the growing number of Asian American men marrying outside their ethnic group,...

    • 2 Frames of Self: Capturing Working-Class British Boys’ Identities through Photographs
      (pp. 31-58)
      Barbara M. Walker

      With the aim of capturing and portraying adolescents’ experiences, researchers have achieved a remarkable degree of intimacy through “shadowing” the private lives of adolescents, or observing adolescents as they engage in their daily routines and interactions. However, such studies are nevertheless limited as they tend to “see” young people through the researcher’s eyes and words. Similarly, when photographs are used, the camera is usually operated by the researcher who frames the shot by choosing what to focus on, what to leave out, and when to press the shutter. This chapter presents results from a study in which I privilege adolescent...

    • 3 Boys in Men’s Clothing: Racial Socialization and Neighborhood Safety as Buffers to Hypervulnerability in African American Adolescent Males
      (pp. 59-77)
      Howard C. Stevenson

      Being Black and male is surreal. You are desired and you are despised. You are hunted like fox or game and yet idolized for the development of the identity of others. That is, you are imaged as the thing to avoid, to reject, to “not be.” Or if you are liked, it is for the sake of having the “taboo” rub off, thus making the other’s identity that much more unique and authentic. Your rarity in certain mainstream contexts makes you a marketable commodity worthy of desire and loathing. You are assumed to be hostile and you are assumed to...

    • 4 A Relational Perspective on Adolescent Boys’ Identity Development
      (pp. 78-104)
      Judy Y. Chu

      Much of recent literature on boys has focused on ways in which boys’ socialization toward culturally prescribed conventions of masculinity can be detrimental to boys’ development. For instance, clinicians propose that pressures for boys to accommodate images of masculinity that emphasize physical toughness, emotional stoicism, and projected self-sufficiency can diminish boys’ sensitivities to people’s feelings, including their own (Kindlon & Thompson, 1999), and undermine boys’ abilities to achieve intimacy in their relationships (Pollack, 1998). Similarly, researchers suggest that boys’ gender socialization may result in gender role strain, for instance when their failure to conform to masculine standards leads to feelings...

  7. Part II Family Relationships
    • 5 Experiences of Trust with Parents: A Qualitative Investigation of African American, Latino, and Asian American Boys from Low-Income Families
      (pp. 107-128)
      Elena D. Jeffries

      Interpersonal trust plays a critical role in healthy social and emotional development (Bernath & Feshbach, 1995; Erikson, 1963; Rotenberg, 1991), underlies identity formation (Erikson, 1963), and is associated with positive psychosocial adjustment (Doster & Chance, 1976; Hamid & Lok, 2000; Lester & Gatto, 1990; Rotter, 1980; Wilson & Carroll, 1991). An established sense of trust in the world enables one to perceive oneself as predictable, manageable, and secure, and promotes exploration necessary for successful development (Bernath & Feshbach, 1995; Erikson, 1963). Several researchers have also noted that interpersonal trust is crucial for social “survival,” paving the way for intimate connection...

    • 6 Psychological Well-Being, School Adjustment, and Problem Behavior among Chinese Adolescent Boys from Poor Families: Does Family Functioning Matter?
      (pp. 129-143)
      Daniel T.L. Shek

      A common theme in family theories is that there is a strong association between family interaction patterns at the dyadic (e.g., parent-child relationships) and systemic (e.g., family cohesion) levels and the adjustment of individual family members (e.g., Beavers & Hampson, 1990). These theories typically assert that positive family interaction patterns will lead to the positive adjustment of family members and vice versa. However, several limitations exist in this literature (Shek, 1997b, 1998). First, there are few empirical studies that assess the association between family patterns and individual adjustment. Second, because indicators of psychiatric morbidity and distress are commonly used to...

    • 7 The Role of Father Support in the Prediction of Suicidal Ideation among Black Adolescent Males
      (pp. 144-164)
      Darian B. Tarver, Naima T. Wong, Harold W. Neighbors and Marc A. Zimmerman

      Suicide is a vital public health concern today. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC, 2000) report that approximately eighty-six Americans of all ages commit suicide and 1,500 more attempt to commit suicide every day (CDC, 2000). Among youth, suicide is the third leading cause of death for those fifteen to twenty-four years of age (CDC, 2000). From 1980 to 1996 suicide rates in the United States doubled for adolescents ten to fourteen years old (CDC, 2000). According to the National Center for Health Statistics (1997), more young people died from suicide than from cancer, heart disease, AIDS, birth...

  8. Part III Friends and Peers
    • 8 Intimacy, Desire, and Distrust in the Friendships of Adolescent Boys
      (pp. 167-196)
      Niobe Way

      At a conference for the Society on Research on Adolescence a few years ago, I was approached by a well-known and respected researcher of friendships who asked me about my research on friendships among adolescents. He wanted to know about my qualitative findings since he had yet to use such methods in his own research. As I was describing some of my preliminary findings, I indicated who my research participants were—urban, poor and working-class, ethnic minority adolescent boys. He interrupted me by saying: “Oh, so you study gangs.” I clarified that I do not study gangs but rather the...

    • 9 Peer Relationships among Chinese Boys: A Cross-Cultural Perspective
      (pp. 197-218)
      Xinyin Chen, Violet Kaspar, Yuqing Zhang, Li Wang and Shujie Zheng

      Peer interactions and relationships constitute an important social context for human development (Hinde, 1987; Piaget, 1932; Sullivan, 1953). During peer interactions and affiliations, children learn social and cognitive skills in solving interpersonal problems and achieving personal and social success. Peer relationships may also be a source of social and emotional support for children in coping with adjustment difficulties. Experiences with peers may become increasingly important during childhood and adolescence, when children strive for social recognition and social status beyond the family (Harris, 1995).

      Cultural influences on children’s peer relationships have received an increasing amount of attention from developmental and cross-cultural...

    • 10 The Influence of Peer Experiences on Bravado Attitudes among African American Males
      (pp. 219-232)
      Michael Cunningham and Leah Newkirk Meunier

      Developing an identity, or a sense of self, becomes more salient during adolescence than during the childhood years. African American males—like all males—develop a heightened awareness of adult male role expectations during this period. They also look to their peers for social acceptance and popularity relative to the peer group. Their development of self-understanding is, therefore, influenced by larger cultural expectations of what it means to be a man and also their perceptions of themselves in relation to their peers. This normative developmental process occurs within a social environment, with each adolescent boy addressing questions of identity in...

  9. Part IV Sexuality and Romantic Relationships
    • 11 Getting Close, Staying Cool: Early Adolescent Boys’ Experiences with Romantic Relationships
      (pp. 235-255)
      Deborah L. Tolman, Renée Spencer, Tricia Harmon, Myra Rosen-Reynoso and Meg Striepe

      “Just wait ’til they’re teenagers.” This ominous warning surfaced one evening during a middle-aged man and woman’s conversation about their young boys’ relationships with their peers. While their mother was waxing poetically about their sweet and loving ways, their father was quick to remind her of the inevitable changes ahead. He asserted that the empathic and emotionally intelligent boys of today will become the hormone-possessed teenagers of tomorrow, eager only to find ways to get as much sex as they can, without regard for the (presumed) girls whom they manage to persuade to meet their persistent sexual urges. At that...

    • 12 Adolescent Boys’ Heterosexual Behavior
      (pp. 256-270)
      Joseph H. Pleck, Freya L. Sonenstein and Leighton Ku

      Becoming sexually active is clearly an important event in adolescent boys’ experience. In addition, adolescent boys’ sexual and contraceptive behavior has clear ramifications for teen pregnancy and for sexually transmitted diseases. This chapter presents some of the work on adolescent males’ heterosexual behavior conducted by The National Survey of Adolescent Males over the last 15 years. Specifically, we discuss findings based on two surveys of large, nationally representative samples of adolescent males aged 15–19, conducted in 1988 and in 1995. Our survey data make it possible to describe what adolescent boys are doing sexually, how their sexual behavior is...

    • 13 Boy-on-Boy Sexuality
      (pp. 271-292)
      Ritch C. Savin-Williams

      Sex between boys is sufficiently stigmatized in our culture as to be essentially ignored, subjected to misunderstanding, and stereotyped. Those who believe that such behavior does not exist frequently embrace antiquated assumptions that children are, or should be, sexless. Others acknowledge that a few boys may have sex with each other, although they dismissively attribute it simply to opportunistic play, rather than to consequential “sex.” To them, same-sex behavior during childhood and early adolescence is negligible for the boys’ future sexuality—and certainly should never be encouraged through open discussion. Others maintain the opposite—that it turns innocent boys away...

  10. Part V Schooling
    • 14 Immigrant Boys’ Experiences in U.S. Schools
      (pp. 295-316)
      Carola Suárez-Orozco and Desirée Baolian Qin-Hilliard

      Currently the children of immigrants¹ comprise 20 percent of the youth population in the United States. The majority of these children have Latino, Asian, or Caribbean origins—representing unprecedented cultural and linguistic diversity. The last fifteen years have witnessed growing scholarly attention to their adaptation. However, the issue of gender has been relatively unexplored in the literature on immigrant youth. Several scholars have identified a general pattern that is consistent with the national trend: immigrant girls tend to outperform boys in educational settings (e.g., Brandon, 1991; Portes & Rumbaut, 2001; Rong & Brown, 2001). Yet to date, very few studies...

    • 15 Understanding the Exceptions: How Small Schools Support the Achievement of Academically Successful Black Boys
      (pp. 317-337)
      Gilberto Q. Conchas and Pedro A. Noguera

      On most measures of student performance, Black male students are typically over-represented at the bottom rungs of the achievement ladder.¹ Black males are more likely than any other group to be suspended and expelled from school (Meier, Stewart & England, 1989), and more likely to be classified as mentally retarded or suffering from a learning disability (Milofsky, 1974; Harry, Kingner & Moore, 2000). Black males are more likely to be tracked into remedial and low ability courses and more likely to be absent from advanced placement and honors courses (Oakes, 1985; Pollard, 1993). In contrast to Black males, Black females...

    • 16 From Preschool to Middle School: The Role of Masculinity in Low-Income Urban Adolescent Boys’ Literacy Skills and Academic Achievement
      (pp. 338-360)
      Michelle V. Porche, Stephanie J. Ross and Catherine E. Snow

      Competence in literacy skills is a critical component of children’s success throughout their schooling careers (Snow, 1991). Literacy research has shown that being read to and talking about books are important precursors to children’s literacy development (Bus, van IJzendoorn & Pellegrini, 1995). Creating a regular routine with books has also been shown to be positively related to later reading skills and academic success (Teale, 1984). However, researchers suggest that the significance of reading for later achievement reflects not only the fact that it is an intellectual activity but also that it is “a profoundly social process, embedded in parent-child relationships,...

  11. About the Contributors
    (pp. 361-366)
  12. Index
    (pp. 367-380)