Adolescents after Divorce
Christy M. Buchanan, Eleanor E. Maccoby, and Sanford M. Dornbusch Harvard University Press, 1996 Library of Congress HQ777.5.B796 1996 | Dewey Decimal 306.874
When their parents divorce, some children falter and others thrive. This book asks why. Is it the custody arrangement? A parent's new partner? Conflicts or consistency between the two households? Adolescents after Divorce follows children from 1,100 divorcing families to discover what makes the difference. Focusing on a period beginning four years after the divorce, the authors have the articulate, often insightful help of their subjects in exploring the altered conditions of their lives.
These teenagers come from a wide range of backgrounds. Some are functioning well. Some are faring poorly. The authors examine the full variety of situations in which these children find themselves once the initial disruption has passed--whether parents remarry or repartner, how parents relate to each other and to their children, and how life in two homes is integrated. Certain findings emerge--for instance, we see that remarried new partners were better accepted than cohabiting new partners. And when parents' relations are amicable, adolescents in dual custody are less likely than other adolescents to experience loyalty conflicts. The authors also consider the effects of visitation arrangements, the demands made and the goals set within each home, and the emotional closeness of the residential parent to the child.
A gold mine of information on a topic that touches so many Americans, this study will be crucial for researchers, counselors, lawyers, judges, and parents.
Proud, happy, grateful—gay youth describe their lives in terms that would have seemed surprising only a generation ago. Yet many adults, including parents, seem skeptical about this sea change in perceptions and attitudes. Even in an age of growing tolerance, coming out as gay is supposed to involve a crisis or struggle. This is the kind of thinking, say the young men at the heart of this book, that needs to change.
Becoming Who I Am is an astute exploration of identity and sexuality as told by today’s generation of gay young men. Through a series of in-depth interviews with teenagers and men in their early 20s, Ritch Savin-Williams reflects on how the life stories recorded here fulfill the promise of an affirmative, thriving gay identity outlined in his earlier book, The New Gay Teenager. He offers a contemporary perspective on gay lives viewed across key milestones: from dawning awareness of same-sex attraction to first sexual encounters; from the uncertainty and exhilaration of coming out to family and friends to the forming of adult romantic relationships; from insights into what it means to be gay today to musings on what the future may hold. The voices hail from diverse ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds, but as gay men they share basic experiences in common, conveyed here with honesty, humor, and joy.
Is sport good for kids? When answering this question, both critics and advocates of youth sports tend to fixate on matters of health, whether condemning contact sports for their concussion risk or prescribing athletics as a cure for the childhood obesity epidemic. Child’s Play presents a more nuanced examination of the issue, considering not only the physical impacts of youth athletics, but its psychological and social ramifications as well.
The eleven original scholarly essays in this collection provide a probing look into how sports—in community athletic leagues, in schools, and even on television—play a major role in how young people view themselves, shape their identities, and imagine their place in society. Rather than focusing exclusively on self-proclaimed jocks, the book considers how the culture of sports affects a wide variety of children and young people, including those who opt out of athletics. Not only does Child’s Play examine disparities across lines of race, class, and gender, it also offers detailed examinations of how various minority populations, from transgender youth to Muslim immigrant girls, have participated in youth sports.
Taken together, these essays offer a wide range of approaches to understanding the sociology of youth sports, including data-driven analyses that examine national trends, as well as ethnographic research that gives a voice to individual kids. Child’s Play thus presents a comprehensive and compelling analysis of how, for better and for worse, the culture of sports is integral to the development of young people—and with them, the future of our society.
James Youniss and Miranda Yates present a sophisticated analysis of community service's beneficial effects on adolescents' political and moral identity.
Using a case study from a predominantly Black, urban high school in Washington, D.C., Youniss and Yates build on the insights of Erik Erikson on the social and historical nature of identity development. They show that service at a soup kitchen as part of a course on social justice gives youth the opportunity to reflect on their status in society, on how society is organized, on how government should use its power, and on moral principles related to homelessness and poverty. Developing a sense of social responsibility and a civic commitment, youth come to see themselves as active agents in society.
The most authoritative work to date on the subject, this book challenges negative stereotypes of contemporary adolescents and illustrates how youth, when given the opportunity, can use their talents for social good. It will interest readers concerned with the development of today's youth and tomorrow's society.
“Boys are emotionally illiterate and don’t want intimate friendships.” In this empirically grounded challenge to our stereotypes about boys and men, Niobe Way reveals the intense intimacy among teenage boys especially during early and middle adolescence. Boys not only share their deepest secrets and feelings with their closest male friends, they claim that without them they would go “wacko.” Yet as boys become men, they become distrustful, lose these friendships, and feel isolated and alone.
Drawing from hundreds of interviews conducted throughout adolescence with black, Latino, white, and Asian American boys, Deep Secrets reveals the ways in which we have been telling ourselves a false story about boys, friendships, and human nature. Boys’ descriptions of their male friendships sound more like “something out of Love Story than Lord of the Flies.” Yet in late adolescence, boys feel they have to “man up” by becoming stoic and independent. Vulnerable emotions and intimate friendships are for girls and gay men. “No homo” becomes their mantra.
These findings are alarming, given what we know about links between friendships and health, and even longevity. Rather than a “boy crisis,” Way argues that boys are experiencing a “crisis of connection” because they live in a culture where human needs and capacities are given a sex (female) and a sexuality (gay), and thus discouraged for those who are neither. Way argues that the solution lies with exposing the inaccuracies of our gender stereotypes and fostering these critical relationships and fundamental human skills.
Be sexy but not sexual. Don't be a prude but don't be a slut. These are the cultural messages that barrage teenage girls. In movies and magazines, in music and advice columns, girls are portrayed as the object or the victim of someone else's desire--but virtually never as someone with acceptable sexual feelings of her own. What teenage girls make of these contradictory messages, and what they make of their awakening sexuality--so distant from and yet so susceptible to cultural stereotypes--emerges for the first time in frank and complex fashion in Deborah Tolman's Dilemmas of Desire.
A unique look into the world of adolescent sexuality, this book offers an intimate and often disturbing, sometimes inspiring, picture of how teenage girls experience, understand, and respond to their sexual feelings, and of how society mediates, shapes, and distorts this experience. In extensive interviews, we listen as actual adolescent girls--both urban and suburban--speak candidly of their curiosity and confusion, their pleasure and disappointment, their fears, defiance, or capitulation in the face of a seemingly imperishable double standard that smiles upon burgeoning sexuality in boys yet frowns, even panics, at its equivalent in girls.
As a vivid evocation of girls negotiating some of the most vexing issues of adolescence, and as a thoughtful, richly informed examination of the dilemmas these girls face, this readable and revealing book begins the critical work of understanding the sexuality of young women in all its personal, social, and emotional significance.
Is Gen Z resistant to growing up? A leading developmental psychologist and an expert in the college student experience debunk this stereotype and explain how we can better support young adults as they make the transition from adolescence to the rest of their lives.
Experts and the general public are convinced that young people today are trapped in an extended adolescence—coddled, unaccountable, and more reluctant to take on adult responsibilities than previous generations. Nancy Hill and Alexis Redding argue that what is perceived as stalled development is in fact typical. Those reprimanding today’s youth have forgotten that they once balked at the transition to adulthood themselves.
From an abandoned archive of recordings of college students from half a century ago, Hill and Redding discovered that there is nothing new about feeling insecure, questioning identities, and struggling to find purpose. Like many of today’s young adults, those of two generations ago also felt isolated and anxious that the path to success felt fearfully narrow. This earlier cohort, too, worried about whether they could make it on their own.
Yet, among today’s young adults, these developmentally appropriate struggles are seen as evidence of immaturity. If society adopts this jaundiced perspective, it will fail in its mission to prepare young adults for citizenship, family life, and work. Instead, Hill and Redding offer an alternative view of delaying adulthood and identify the benefits of taking additional time to construct a meaningful future. When adults set aside judgment, there is a lot they can do to ensure that young adults get the same developmental chances they had.
Teen-aged girls hate their bodies and diet obsessively, or so we hear. News stories and reports of survey research often claim that as many as three girls in five are on a diet at any given time, and they grimly suggest that many are “at risk” for eating disorders. But how much can we believe these frightening stories? What do teenagers mean when they say they are dieting?
Anthropologist Mimi Nichter spent three years interviewing middle school and high school girls—lower-middle to middle class, white, black, and Latina—about their feelings concerning appearance, their eating habits, and dieting. In Fat Talk, she tells us what the girls told her, and explores the influence of peers, family, and the media on girls’ sense of self. Letting girls speak for themselves, she gives us the human side of survey statistics.
Most of the white girls in her study disliked something about their bodies and knew all too well that they did not look like the envied, hated “perfect girl.” But they did not diet so much as talk about dieting. Nichter wryly argues—in fact some of the girls as much as tell her—that “fat talk” is a kind of social ritual among friends, a way of being, or creating solidarity. It allows the girls to show that they are concerned about their weight, but it lessens the urgency to do anything about it, other than diet from breakfast to lunch. Nichter concludes that if anything, girls are watching their weight and what they eat, as well as trying to get some exercise and eat “healthfully” in a way that sounds much less disturbing than stories about the epidemic of eating disorders among American girls.
Black girls, Nichter learned, escape the weight obsession and the “fat talk” that is so pervasive among white girls. The African-American girls she talked with were much more satisfied with their bodies than were the white girls. For them, beauty was a matter of projecting attitude (“’tude”) and moving with confidence and style.
Fat Talk takes the reader into the lives of girls as daughters, providing insights into how parents talk to their teenagers about their changing bodies. The black girls admired their mothers’ strength; the white girls described their mothers’ own “fat talk,” their fathers’ uncomfortable teasing, and the way they and their mothers sometimes dieted together to escape the family “curse”—flabby thighs, ample hips. Moving beyond negative stereotypes of mother–daughter relationships, Nichter sensitively examines the issues and struggles that mothers face in bringing up their daughters, particularly in relation to body image, and considers how they can help their daughters move beyond rigid and stereotyped images of ideal beauty.
Continued public outcries over such issues as young models in sexually suggestive ads and intimate relationships between teachers and students speak to one of the most controversial fears of our time: the entanglement of children and sexuality. In this book, Steven Angelides confronts that fear, exploring how emotional vocabularies of anxiety, shame, and even contempt not only dominate discussions of youth sexuality but also allow adults to avoid acknowledging the sexual agency of young people. Introducing case studies and trends from Australia, the United Kingdom, and North America, he challenges assumptions on a variety of topics, including sex education, age-of-consent laws, and sexting. Angelides contends that an unwillingness to recognize children’s sexual agency results not in the protection of young people but in their marginalization.
Adolescence is a difficult time, but it can be particularly stressful for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer-identifying youth. In order to avoid harassment and rejection, many LGBTQ teens hide their identities from their families, peers, and even themselves.
Educator Michael Sadowski deftly brings the voices of LGBTQ youth out into the open in his poignant and important book, In a Queer Voice. Drawing on two waves of interviews conducted six years apart, Sadowski chronicles how queer youth, who were often “silenced” in school and elsewhere, now can approach adulthood with a strong, queer voice.
In a Queer Voice continues the critical conversation about LGBTQ youth issues—from bullying and suicide to other risks involving drug and alcohol abuse—by focusing on the factors that help young people develop positive, self-affirming identities. Using the participants’ heartfelt, impassioned voices, we hear what schools, families, and communities can do to help LGBTQ youth become resilient, confident adults.
The New Gay Teenager
Ritch C. Savin-Williams Harvard University Press, 2005 Library of Congress HQ76.25.S395 2005
Gay, straight, bisexual: how much does sexual orientation matter to a teenager's mental health or sense of identity? In this down-to-earth book, filled with the voices of young people speaking for themselves, Ritch Savin-Williams argues that the standard image of gay youth presented by mental health researchers--as depressed, isolated, drug-dependent, even suicidal--may have been exaggerated even twenty years ago, and is far from accurate today.
The New Gay Teenager gives us a refreshing and frequently controversial introduction to confident, competent, upbeat teenagers with same-sex desires, who worry more about the chemistry test or their curfew than they do about their sexuality. What does "gay" mean, when some adolescents who have had sexual encounters with those of their own sex don't consider themselves gay, when some who consider themselves gay have had sex with the opposite sex, and when many have never had sex at all? What counts as "having sex," anyway? Teenagers (unlike social science researchers) are not especially interested in neatly categorizing their sexual orientation.
In fact, Savin-Williams learns, teenagers may think a lot about sex, but they don't think that sexuality is the most important thing about them. And adults, he advises, shouldn't think so either.
Winner of the Healthy Teen Network’s Carol Mendez Cassell Award for Excellence in Sexuality Education and the American Sociological Association's Children and Youth Section's 2012 Distinguished Scholarly Research Award
For American parents, teenage sex is something to be feared and forbidden: most would never consider allowing their children to have sex at home, and sex is a frequent source of family conflict. In the Netherlands, where teenage pregnancies are far less frequent than in the United States, parents aim above all for family cohesiveness, often permitting young couples to sleep together and providing them with contraceptives. Drawing on extensive interviews with parents and teens, Not Under My Roof offers an unprecedented, intimate account of the different ways that girls and boys in both countries negotiate love, lust, and growing up.
Tracing the roots of the parents’ divergent attitudes, Amy T. Schalet reveals how they grow out of their respective conceptions of the self, relationships, gender, autonomy, and authority. She provides a probing analysis of the way family culture shapes not just sex but also alcohol consumption and parent-teen relationships. Avoiding caricatures of permissive Europeans and puritanical Americans, Schalet shows that the Dutch require self-control from teens and parents, while Americans guide their children toward autonomous adulthood at the expense of the family bond.
Youth mentoring programs must change in order to become truly effective. The world’s leading expert shows how.
Youth mentoring is among the most popular forms of volunteering in the world. But does it work? Does mentoring actually help young people succeed? In Older and Wiser, mentoring expert Jean Rhodes draws on more than thirty years of empirical research to survey the state of the field. Her conclusion is sobering: there is little evidence that most programs—even renowned, trusted, and long-established ones—are effective. But there is also much reason for hope.
Mentoring programs, Rhodes writes, do not focus on what young people need. Organizations typically prioritize building emotional bonds between mentors and mentees. But research makes clear that effective programs emphasize the development of specific social, emotional, and intellectual skills. Most mentoring programs are poorly suited to this effort because they rely overwhelmingly on volunteers, who rarely have the training necessary to teach these skills to young people. Moreover, the one-size-fits-all models of major mentoring organizations struggle to deal with the diverse backgrounds of mentees, the psychological effects of poverty on children, and increasingly hard limits to upward mobility in an unequal world.
Rhodes doesn’t think we should give up on mentoring—far from it. She shows that evidence-based approaches can in fact create meaningful change in young people’s lives. She also recommends encouraging “organic” mentorship opportunities—in schools, youth sports leagues, and community organizations.
“This engaging and well-written book is a significant advance in our understanding of when and how mentoring matters…[It] lays the foundations for an approach to mentoring that is both rigorous and rich in new ideas.” —Robert D. Putnam, author of Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis
“Rhodes forces us to slam the brakes on ineffective practices and improve an industry that is devoted to the potential of our nation’s children…The author’s concrete recommendations will create new pathways to opportunity for youth in greatest need.” —Michael D. Smith, Executive Director, My Brother’s Keeper Alliance
“A powerful assessment of what is needed to best help young people today.” —Pam Iorio, President and CEO, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America
Youth mentoring is one of the most popular forms of volunteering in the world today, but does it work? Drawing on over thirty years of research and her own experience in the field, Jean Rhodes reveals that most mentoring programs fail to deliver what young people actually need. Many prioritize building emotional bonds between mentors and mentees. But research shows that effective programs go far beyond this, developing specific social, emotional, and intellectual skills.
Most mentoring programs rely on volunteers, who rarely have the training to teach these skills. Their one-size-fits-all models struggle to meet the diverse needs of mentees, and rarely take account of the psychological effects of poverty on children. Rhodes doesn’t think we should give up on mentoring—far from it. Instead, she recommends “organic” mentorship opportunities—in schools, youth sports leagues, and community organizations—and shares specific approaches that can spark meaningful change in young people’s lives.
On the Frontier of Adulthood reveals a startling new fact: adulthood no longer begins when adolescence ends. A lengthy period before adulthood, often spanning the twenties and even extending into the thirties, is now devoted to further education, job exploration, experimentation in romantic relationships, and personal development. Pathways into and through adulthood have become much less linear and predictable, and these changes carry tremendous social and cultural significance, especially as institutions and policies aimed at supporting young adults have not kept pace with these changes.
This volume considers the nature and consequences of changes in early adulthood by drawing upon a wide variety of historical and contemporary data from the United States, Canada, and Western Europe. Especially dramatic shifts have occurred in the conventional markers of adulthood—leaving home, finishing school, getting a job, getting married, and having children—and in how these experiences are configured as a set. These accounts reveal how the process of becoming an adult has changed over the past century, the challenges faced by young people today, and what societies can do to smooth the transition to adulthood.
"This book is the most thorough, wide-reaching, and insightful analysis of the new life stage of early adulthood."—Andrew Cherlin, Johns Hopkins University
"From West to East, young people today enter adulthood in widely diverse ways that affect their life chances. This book provides a rich portrait of this journey-an essential font of knowledge for all who care about the younger generation."—Glen H. Elder Jr., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
"On the Frontier of Adulthood adds considerably to our knowledge about the transition from adolescence to adulthood. . . . It will indeed be the definitive resource for researchers for years to come. Anyone working in the area—whether in demography, sociology, economics, or developmental psychology—will wish to make use of what is gathered here."—John Modell, Brown University
"This is a must-read for scholars and policymakers who are concerned with the future of today's youth and will become a touchpoint for an emerging field of inquiry focused on adult transitions."—Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, Columbia University
Seventy deeply troubled teenagers spend weeks, months, even years on a locked psychiatric ward. They’re not just failing in school, not just using drugs. They are out of control—violent or suicidal, in trouble with the law, unpredictable, and dangerous. Their futures are at risk.
Twenty years later, most of them still struggle. But astonishingly, a handful are thriving. They’re off drugs and on the right side of the law. They’ve finished school and hold jobs that matter to them. They have close friends and are responsible, loving parents.
What happened? How did some kids stumble out of the woods while others remain lost? Could their strikingly different futures have been predicted back during their teenage struggles? The kids provide the answers in a series of interviews that began during their hospitalizations and ended years later. Even in the early days, the resilient kids had a grasp of how they contributed to their own troubles. They tried to make sense of their experience and they groped toward an understanding of other people’s inner lives.
In their own impatient voices, Out of the Woods portrays edgy teenagers developing into thoughtful, responsible adults. Listening in on interviews through the years, narratives that are often poignant, sometimes dramatic, frequently funny, we hear the kids growing into more composed—yet always recognizable—versions of their tough and feisty selves.
<p>Bringing together a never-before-assembled network of biologists, psychologists, and sociologists, <em>Positive Youth Development and Spirituality</em> scientifically examines how spirituality and its cultivation may affect the positive development of adolescents. </p>
<p>Chapters provide groundbreaking new discussions of conceptual, theoretical, definitional, and methodological issues that need to be addressed when exploring the relationships between spirituality and development. Throughout the book, contributors recommend ways in which the research on the spirituality/positive youth development connection may be integral in building the larger field of spiritual development as a legitimate and active domain of developmental science. This volume, which is sure to be seen as a seminal contribution to a field in need of theoretical underpinnings, will be of interest to scholars and scientists in the fields of biology and the social and behavioral sciences.</p>
<p>Contributors include: Mona Abo-Zena, Jeffrey Jensen Arnnett, Peter L. Benson, Marina Umaschi Bers, Aerika Brittian, William Damon, Angela M. DeSilva, Jacquelynne S. Eccles, David Henry Feldman, Simon Gächter, Elena L. Grigorenko, Sonia S. Isaac, Lene Arnett Jensen, Carl N. Johnson, Linda Juang, Pamela Ebstyne King, Richard M. Lerner, Jennifer Menon, Na'ilah Sued Nasir, Guerda Nicolas, Toma´š Paus, Stephen C. Peck, Erin Phelps, Alan P. Poey, Robert W. Roeser, W. George Scarlett, Lonnie R. Sherrod, Gabriel S. Spiewak, Chris Starmer, Moin Syed, Janice L. Templeton, Heather L. Urry, and Richard Wilkinson.</p>
The Relationship Code is the report of a longitudinal study, conducted over a ten-year period, of the influence of family relationships and genetic factors on competence and psychopathology in adolescent development. The sample for this landmark study included 720 pairs of same-sex adolescent siblings—including twins, half siblings, and genetically unrelated siblings—and their parents.
Using a clear expressive style, David Reiss and his coinvestigators identify specific mechanisms that link genetic factors and the social environment in psychological development. They propose a striking hypothesis: family relationships are crucial to the expression of genetic influences on a broad array of complex behaviors in adolescents. Moreover, this role of family relationships may be very specific: some genetic factors are linked to mother–child relationships, others to father–child relations, some to relationship warmth, while others are linked to relationship conflict or control. The specificity of these links suggests that family relationships may constitute a code for translating genetic influences into the ontogeny of behaviors, a code every bit as important for behavior as DNA-RNA.
While headlines about violent crimes committed by adolescents often capture the public's attention, many more young people excel in the classroom, on the athletic field, and in the community. Why do some youngsters strive to achieve while others court disaster? Using new data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY), a survey of more than nine thousand young people between the ages of twelve and sixteen, Social Awakening explores the choices adolescents make about their lives and their futures. The book focuses on the key role the family plays as teenagers navigate the difficult transition from childhood to adulthood. Social Awakening analyzes a wide range of adolescent behavior and issues that affect teenagers' lives—from their dating and sexual behavior, drug and alcohol use, and physical and mental well-being, to their career goals and expectations for the future. The findings strengthen our understanding of how an array of family characteristics—single parenthood, income, educational level, race, and geographical location—influences teens' lives. One contributor explores why children from single-parent families are more likely to perform poorly in school and to indulge in risky behavior, such as drug abuse or promiscuous sexual activity. Another chapter examines why children of parents with a college degree are less likely to engage in early sexual activity. And another looks at different levels of criminal behavior among urban and rural youths. One of the advantages of an in-depth interview such as the NLSY is the wide array of behavior and experiences by the same youths that can be mutually investigated. The analysis in Social Awakening helps confirm or refute what we think we know—to explore what we could not explore with older or less complex surveys. The NLSY, which forms the foundation of Social Awakening, will be updated annually over the coming decades to enable experts to learn how those who were adolescents at the dawn of the twenty-first century handled the move to adulthood. Social Awakening provides a compelling first look at these young peoples' lives.
Most teenagers are too young to vote and are off the radar of political scientists. Teenage Citizens looks beyond the electoral game to consider the question of how this overlooked segment of our citizenry understands political topics. Bridging psychology and political science, Constance Flanagan argues that civic identities form during adolescence and are rooted in teens’ everyday lives—in their experiences as members of schools and community-based organizations and in their exercise of voice, collective action, and responsibility in those settings. This is the phase of life when political ideas are born.
Through voices from a wide range of social classes and ethnic backgrounds in the United States and five other countries, we learn how teenagers form ideas about democracy, inequality, laws, ethnic identity, the social contract, and the ties that bind members of a polity together. Flanagan’s twenty-five years of research show how teens’ personal and family values accord with their political views. When their families emphasize social responsibility—for people in need and for the common good—and perform service to the community, teens’ ideas about democracy and the social contract highlight principles of tolerance, social inclusion, and equality. When families discount social responsibility relative to other values, teens’ ideas about democracy focus on their rights as individuals.
At a time when opportunities for youth are shrinking, Constance Flanagan helps us understand how young people come to envisage the world of politics and civic engagement, and how their own political identities take form.
After school specials about teenage pregnancy abound. Whether in television or in society, the focus tends toward young girls coping with all of the emotional and physical burdens of pregnancy but rarely is the perspective of the teenage fathers portrayed.
In this informative book, Mark S. Kiselica draws on his many years of counseling teenage fathers to offer a compassionate look at the difficult life circumstances and the complicated hardships these young men experience. He dispels many of the myths surrounding teenage fatherhood and shows that, contrary to popular belief, these young men are often emotionally and physically involved in relationships with their partner and their child. But without support and guidance from adults, these relationships often deteriorate in the first year of the child-'s life. Kiselica offers advice for how professionals and policy makers can assist these young men and improve services for them.
When Boys Become Parents provides a moving portrait of teenage fathers to any reader who wants to understand and help these young men to become more competent and loving parents during their journey to adulthood.
“Makes a powerful argument for building, as early as possible, the ability to stand up for what's right in the face of peer pressure, corrupt authority, and even family apathy.” —Psychology Today
Why do so few of us intervene when we’re needed—and what would it take to make us step up? We are bombarded every day by reports of bad behavior, from the school yard to the boardroom to the halls of Congress. It’s tempting to blame bad acts on bad people, but sometimes good people do bad things. A social psychologist who has done pioneering research on student behavior on college campuses, Catherine Sanderson points to many ways in which our faulty assumptions about what other people think can paralyze us. Moral courage, it turns out, is not innate. But you can train yourself to stand up for what you believe in, and even small acts can make a big difference. Inspiring and potentially life transforming, Why We Act reveals that while the urge to do nothing is deeply ingrained, even the most hesitant would-be bystander can learn to be a moral rebel.
“From bullying on the playground to sexual harassment in the workplace, perfectly nice people often do perfectly awful things. But why? In this thoughtful and beautifully written book, Sanderson shows how basic principles of social psychology explain such behavior—and how they can be used to change it. A smart and practical guide to becoming a better and braver version of ourselves.” —Daniel Gilbert, author of Stumbling on Happiness
“Encouraged me to persevere through many moments when it felt far easier to stop trying.” —Washington Post
“Points to steps all of us can take to become ‘moral rebels’ whose voices can change society for the better.” —Walter V. Robinson, former editor of the Boston Globe’s Spotlight Team
“Sanderson offers sound advice on how we can become better at doing what we know is right.” —George Conway, cofounder of The Lincoln Project