Resolving Alienation Issues Essay

2436 words - 10 pages

Among the many difficulties with which adolescents struggle, peer relationships and

social acceptance appear to be at the top. Young adults rely on their peers for getting

emotional and social needs met so peer relationships are a crucial part of their psychological

development (Can Peer & Parent, 2012). As an adolescent’s social arena increases so does the

probability of negative peer relationships and perceived social rejection (Tiwari &

Ruhela, 2012). “Alienation grows as soon as the feeling of significant others in comparison to

one’s own feelings of insignificance emerge” (Shrivastava & Mukhopadhyay, 2009, p. 100).

Adolescents who experience dismissive, negative peer relationships or feel alienated are

at a higher risk for depression than those who do not (Can Peer & Parent, 2012; Witvliet,

Brendgen, Van Lier, Koot & Vitaro, 2010). Further review of the literature argues that

problematic adolescent peer relationships - or more specifically alienation or isolation from

cliques - may result in loneliness and interpersonal impairment; both risk factors for

heightened or intensified depressive symptoms in childhood and adolescence (Katz, 2011;

Rudolph, 2008). According to Childstats.gov (n.d.), in 2011 about 8 percent of America’s

adolescents (ages 12-17) had a Major Depressive Episode (MDE) during the prior year and of

those adolescents, 69 percent reported that their depression caused serious problems in at least

one aspect of their life (school, home or social life). Teenage depression may lead to behavioral

problems such as fighting, running away, skipping school, drug use, poor grades and self-

injurious or suicidal behavior (Schulz & Rubel, 2011). A study done by the Centers for

Disease Control and Prevention revealed that every year almost 20 percent of adolescents

consider suicide and almost one in twelve make an attempt (Faris, 2012). According to the NY

Times Health Guide (2012) at www.nytimes.com, suicide is “most commonly associated

with depression in young people” and the “third most common cause of death among

adolescents”.

Adolescent depression often continues or recurs in adulthood (Depression Facts, 2012)

so these statistics underline the fact that early recognition and counseling interventions is

critical for the well-being of our youth. Administered early, appropriate counseling measures

and interventions may help diminish or minimize future issues for adolescents who present with

depression or depressive symptoms. Daniel Kopala-Sibley (2012) believes that a better

understanding of how peer relationships affect depression risk could help identify individuals

who are most vulnerable and provide opportunities for early intervention and even depression

prevention.

Characteristics

Since adolescent depression may present differently than adult depression...

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