An analysis to understand the behavioral changes an adolescent goes through in his teenage years and how parents, peers, and the community play a huge role in it. Parents are the first ones who have direct and indirect control. Previous research has found that parents have a great influence on adolescent’s behavior through their parenting techniques. It leaves an impact on the child and is one of the factors affecting a child’s behavior. Parental support is the largest influence on an adolescent’s behavior. After parents come peers. Peer groups play the most important part. They influence adolescents in various ways and for the longest time. A peer group is something every individual wants to be part of especially in their adolescent. The community also plays a very important part. Every individual dwells in a particular community and is bound to its norms. This does not leave any space for a growing adolescent and molds them in a constricted way. According to a survey in 2018 by the WHO(World Health Organization)India is the most depressed country and it is one of the biggest causes of suicides among adolescents.
Hence the present study focuses on exploring the youth's perception of the cause of depression and probable solutions so an exploratory study is highly essential to understanding the factor.
Adolescent depression has become very common. Suicide is the third leading cause of death among 15-19 year olds.
According to a 2018 report by WHO (World Health Organization) India is the most depressed country. The increase in adolescent depression has increased at an alarming rate. Behavioral changes in adolescents aged from 10-19 years have become very common. There are a lot of factors influencing the behavior change. These behavior changes lead an adolescent to many unnatural activities such as substance abuse, and self-harming. Suicide etc. these behavior changes are mostly influenced by peer groups, parents, and the community. This factor affects an adolescent in such a way that it leads to depression and then suicide. Parents have a major role in shaping an adolescent. A parent being ignorant of a child’s behavior puts the child in depression. Firstly it takes time for anyone to figure out what situation they are in. and then discussing it with someone becomes more difficult if an adolescent doesn’t get a favorable environment where he /she can open up. Peer groups also have a major role to play in influencing an adolescent. In our adolescence, all of us need groups in which we socialize. if this is lacking in any individual life they tend to drift away from reality and slowly go into a phase where they forget who they are and tend to lose themselves.
The community also has a major role to play. we all live in particular communities that have their own set of rules and regulations. Sometimes these rules become a hindrance to a child’s growth These norms restrict a child from talking about certain problems. They also have the fear of people judging them. All these assumption forces adolescence to suppress their feelings.
This research helps us to understand the perspective of the youth who have crossed their adolescence as to why these changes are happening and what can be probable measures.
The research took the viewpoint of the youth on what is their perspective regarding adolescent depression and suicide which is increasing at an alarming rate. It also interpreted the understanding of a youth about what depression is.
It was also seen that an adolescent's behavior change is mostly influenced by the peer groups he/she is around secondly by the parents and then by the community.
Review of literature
There are different stages in a man’s life i.e. infancy, childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. Behavior during these stages differs for each adolescent as mentioned by Sudha Chhikar (1996).
ACS distance education in one of their articles about an adolescent experiencing crisis or in other words we n say ‘Identity crisis’ has mentioned the different causes for it like, failure by the parents to provide rules and a bonded relationship with the child, a traumatic experience, a parental separation etc. parents expectation sometimes create ambiguous status for an adolescent which leads to behavior changes.
Adolescent depression is associated with a range of adverse later outcomes including suicide, problems in social functioning, and poor physical and mental health. (J Can Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2013 feb).
Depression among adolescents is common and frequently unrecognized. It affects 5 to 8 percent of adolescents. ( Sung E Son , JEFFREY T Kirchner 2000).
Since the risk of depression and suicides among adolescents has been so high in the previous years a close collaboration with a mental health professional is often necessary.
- To study the perspective of the youth on how they think behavioral changes in adolescents are affected through parents, peer groups, and community influence.
- To give in-depth information on what youth thinks can be the possible reasons for behavior changes in adolescents that are so extreme that it lead to depression followed by suicide.
- It also gives an insight into who among the three influences an adolescent the most and affects his/her behavior change.
This is an exploratory research study that includes both qualitative and quantitative studies. The tool used for the research is through a questionnaire which has both open and closed-ended questions. The survey was done between the youth of 18 to 28 years old.
F1: The survey done among the youngsters showed that 80 percent of them think peer groups influence an adolescent’s behavior change more than parents and the community. This happens because an adolescent spends more of his/her time around their peer groups and everything related to them affects an adolescent.
F2: one major thing that came out was the reason why most adolescents don’t share their problems with a parent or someone close is because:
- Parents generally tend to normalize it and they don’t bother much about them seeking professional help.
- Sometimes it takes time for an individual to understand what’s happening.
- There is always a feeling of being judged at home by peers or in the community.
F3: The research also made an attempt to analyze whether ‘Identity crisis’ can be one of the major reasons for depression in adolescents. 55 percent of them think that identity crisis is also one of the reasons resulting in depression and suicide among adolescents. An adolescent realizes an identity crisis either during his early or mid-adolescence. This takes the form of depression when the adolescent is not able to express or come out of it.
Depression affects people of all age groups and represents a major cost to an individual, the family, and the community in general. According to multiple studies, depression now is more prevalent among adolescents as much as it is in the adult population.
Basic depression is not noticed by many people. They usually ignore it as a headache due to heavy work. Most of the time it's due to a lack of attention from peers and parents. One of the major reasons that comes out of this survey was the adolescents have too much academic pressure which they cannot take. 45 percent of the youth population has felt depressed once in their adolescence.
The most common signs that an adolescent shows when depressed are self-harming, excessive food consumption, substance abuse, introversion, constant mood swings, anxiety, etc. Identity crisis has also become one of the reasons why an adolescent faces depression.
We totally cannot avoid depression but small steps taken by our side can help them at least to come out of it.
- Create a friendly environment where they do not hesitate to share and parents should be understanding as everyone deals with this phase of their life.
- To be open about it and take the stigma around depression away.
- Be accepting of depression and handle it with love and care.
- Even educational institutions should be aware of it and should always keep a check, and organize counseling and other things.
- Chhikara Sudha ( December 1996). Behavioral changes during adolescence. Histotsubashi Journal of social studies., vol.28, no.2, pp. 67-70. (JSTOR).
- Maughan Barbar Ph.D., Collishaw Stephan, DPhil and Stringaris Argyris MD, Ph.D., MRCPsych (2013 Feb). Depression in childhood and adolescence. J Can Acad child Adolsec Psychiatry. 22(1): 35-40. (www.ncbi.mib.gov).
- Son Sung E, Kirchre JEFFREY T (2000). Depression in children and adolescents. American family physician 62(10), 2297-308, 2311-2. ( europepme.org).