Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 16, Issue 6, pp 541–559 | Cite as

Do economic conditions influence how theorists view adolescents?

  • Robert D. Enright
  • Victor M. LevyJr.
  • Deborah Harris
  • Daniel K. Lapsley


Eighty-nine articles in thePedagogical Seminary and theJournal of Genetic Psychology appearing during two economic depressions and the two world wars were analyzed for their adolescent ideologies. A systematic, ideological bias in the content of these articles was found to be statistically significant. In times of economic depression theories of adolescence emerge that portray teenagers as immature, psychologically unstable, and in need of prolonged participation in the educational system. During wartime, the psychological competence of youth is emphasized and the duration of education is recommended to be more retracted than in depression. The objective, scientific nature of theory building is questioned and discussed.


Health Psychology Economic Condition Scientific Nature School Psychology Educational System 
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World War II Articles

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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert D. Enright
    • 1
  • Victor M. LevyJr.
    • 1
  • Deborah Harris
    • 2
  • Daniel K. Lapsley
    • 3
  1. 1.Human Development Area, Department of Educational PsychologyUniversity of Wisconsin-MadisonMadison
  2. 2.ACTUniversity of IowaIowa City
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Notre DameNotre Dame

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