Citing the positioning of the stage and fragility of the age, adolescence is a crucial stage of development that marks the transition from childhood to adulthood. Adolescents undergo physical, cognitive, and social changes that shape their identity and behavior during this period. During adolescence, someone fully identifies themselves as either male or female as dictated by the manifestation of the hormones working on their development. As such, understanding the impact of diversity and global factors on adolescent development is critical to promoting their well-being and preventing adverse outcomes such as drug addiction, depression, and involvement in gangs (Estrada et al., 2019). To understand the implications of adolescence on some social aspects, the paper shall explore the relationship between religion, race, culture, gangs, drug addiction, depression, and adolescence from a global perspective. Ideally, adolescence is a period of development that is influenced by diverse and global factors such as religion, race, culture, gangs, drug addiction, and depression, and understanding the complex relationships between these factors is crucial in promoting the well-being of adolescents worldwide.
Religion and Adolescence
Religion seeks to take care of the spiritual needs of everyone since everyone has to identify with a particular faith in their life. Even atheists are allied to the faith that there is no God, which defines their faith. As such, religion is a fundamental social aspect that supports social units through casing spiritual nourishment to the subscribers. In line with the above claim, religion plays a vital role in the lives of many individuals, especially during adolescence (Estrada et al., 2019). Observably, it provides a sense of belonging, moral guidance, and emotional support, which can benefit adolescents.
As it may be witnessed in the available literature, in some cultures, religion is deeply ingrained in society. It has significant impacts on adolescent development, which justifies why religion needs to be studied concerning its impact on adolescence so that it could be understood how the adolescent can beneficially be engaged in matters of faith and religion for their positive growth and development. For example, in some countries, religion is a critical component of the education system, and adolescents are taught religious values and beliefs from a young age (Estrada et al., 2019). Religious studies have been included in the school syllabus as part of the subjects that children need to be taken through so that as they grow up, they understand the place of faith in society. Studies have shown that adolescents actively involved in religious activities tend to have better mental health and lower risk-taking behaviors. Such an observation can be justified by the fact that with religious guidelines, one understands what being well-behaved is and its benefits. As such, it aligns their behavior with such prioritized qualities.
It should, however, be noted that the relationship between religion and adolescent development is complex and multifaceted. Some studies have found that highly religious adolescents are more prone to depression and anxiety and may have difficulty adapting to different social environments. This observation can be explained by the fact that the people that get so consumed in matters of religion and faith get concerned so much about their progress in life and the impact of their actions. Gradually, that builds up as unnecessary pressure (Estrada et al., 2019). Additionally, religious differences among adolescents can lead to conflict and discrimination, harming their mental health. It is common to find out that many youths do not fully understand matters of spirituality and, as such, may often engage in serious conflicts based on their differentiated views on matters of spirituality. The probable effect of such developments is disunity as the adolescence grow up, but later on in life, they may visualize the unreasonableness of it and embrace togetherness.
Race, Ethnicity, and Adolescence
Another factor that would need to be considered in this research is race and ethnicity. Observably, adolescent development is also influenced by factors such as race and ethnicity. Adolescents from different racial and ethnic backgrounds may experience unique challenges that affect their development. For example, ethnic minority adolescents may feel marginalized or experience discrimination due to their race or ethnicity, leading to adverse mental health outcomes (Uink et al., 2022). discrimination has been one of the most pronounced topics of discussion in the recent past, owing to the many incidences of racial discrimination in different parts of the world. If someone belongs to a racially marginalized group, they will grow up undersigning that they are nobody in society, potentially limiting their potential. On the other hand, adolescents from dominant racial and ethnic groups may face pressures to conform to societal norms, which can harm their mental health. Sometimes society mounts unnecessary pressure on the youthful generation to get them to comply and get accustomed to certain cultural beliefs.
On the same note, cultural factors also play a crucial role in adolescent development. Adolescents from different cultures may have different beliefs, values, and attitudes toward education, gender roles, and sexuality. Some cultures, for instance, do not value the girl child, so the girls from such cultures are not taken to school to gain a formal education. The adolescents raised in such a culture would grow up having no respect for their girl child, which is detrimental to the social system (Uink et al., 2022). Gender roles also differ from one culture to another, and that one as well influences the adults the adolescents grow to become. There are tremendous clashes on who should do what in a family setting in many cultures. That can solely be linked to the impact that culture has on adolescents and society. Cultural factors can influence adolescent behavior and decision-making, and understanding these differences is critical to promoting their well-being.
Gangs, Drug Addiction, and Adolescence
Gang involvement and drug addiction are yet significant problems facing many adolescents globally. Many oadolescentsinvolved in gangs or drug use may experience negative consequences such as violence, incarceration, or long-term health problems. Such experiences have detrimental impacts on the affected individuals because someone has been forced to drop out of school to be in prison or maybe to nurse health challenges sustained due to any of the mentioned experiences (UNODC, 2018). In some severe cases, gangs and drug addiction can lead to depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. Ultimately, the adolescents exposed to such experiences do not find it easy to cope with life afterward because, with a depressed mind, they would not contrastively build their life.
Identifiably, factors such as poverty, social isolation, and family dysfunction can contribute to gang involvement and drug addiction. Adolescents who lack support systems or are exposed to adverse living conditions are more susceptible to these problems. Arguably, exposure to adverse conditions pushes adolescents to engage in certain activities to cushion their lives. For instance, someone could engage in gang activities to cover up the neediness they have been exposed to (UNODC, 2018). Others may engage in drug abuse to get intoxicated and experience a moment away from the unnecessary pressures experienced under unbearable conditions. Additionally, the influence of peers and societal norms can contribute to drug addiction and gang involvement.
Depression and Adolescence
Apparently, depression is a common mental health issue affecting adolescents worldwide. It is an issue linked to pressures from specific inadequacies or the push to comprehend certain issues. The causes of depression in adolescence are complex and multifactorial, with genetic and environmental factors playing a role. Such an observation highlights the potential impact of the exposures one encounters as one interacts with different people in different social settings. The pressure to comply with certain cultural norms and beliefs is also valid in justifying such depressive experiences (World Health Organization, 2021). Cultural factors can also contribute to adolescent depression, with some cultures having different attitudes toward mental health and seeking help. In such settings, people would fail to get the mental care they deserve in fear of the negativity they may face from the members of their community. The ultimate impact of such an experience is more mental health challenges as they fight the adverse effects of previously unaddressed issues.
However, it is essential to note that family, peers, and community support can be crucial in preventing and treating adolescent depression. The support gained from these groups helps the adolescents develop a sense of belonging and understanding that they can recover and work to get back on track. Studies have shown that early intervention and treatment can help prevent adverse outcomes such as drug addiction and suicide. That calls for societies to be keen to notice when adolescents need such support and accord it to them in good time (World Health Organization, 2021). Adolescents who receive support from their families, peers, and healthcare providers are more likely to have positive mental health outcomes.
Global Perspectives on Adolescence
Ideally, cross-cultural differences in adolescent development highlight the importance of considering diversity and global factors when examining adolescent behavior and attitudes. As initially hinted, adolescents from different cultures may have different beliefs, values, and attitudes that influence their behavior and decision-making. For example, in some cultures, collectivism and conformity are highly valued, while in others, individualism and self-expression are emphasized (Gopalakrishnan, 2018). Such cultural differences can impact adolescent development and lead to different outcomes. Arguably, globalization has also played a significant role in shaping adolescent behavior and attitudes. Courtesy of technological advancements, adolescents today have access to globalized media and can be influenced by trends and social norms from around the world. Similarly, social media platforms have also changed the way adolescents interact with each other and how they perceive themselves and their peers.
Undoubtedly, adolescence is a critical period of development influenced by various factors such as religion, race, culture, gangs, drug addiction, and depression. As such, creating time to understand how diversity and global factors affect adolescent development is crucial in promoting their well-being and preventing adverse outcomes. The findings of this study have important implications for practice, including the need for interventions that target specific cultural and societal factors that contribute to adverse outcomes. However, future research in this area should continue exploring the complex relationships between diversity, global factors, and adolescent development to better inform prevention and intervention strategies. Such would greatly help iadvancethe available knowledge on adolescence iconcerningthe identified concepts.
Estrada, C. A. M., Lomboy, M. F. T. C., Gregorio, E. R., Amalia, E., Leynes, C. R., Quizon, R. R., & Kobayashi, J. (2019). Religious education can contribute to adolescent mental health in school settings. International journal of mental health systems, 13(1), 1-6.
Gopalakrishnan, N. (2018). Cultural diversity and mental health: Considerations for policy and practice. Frontiers in Public Health, 6(179). https://doi.org/10.3389/fpubh.2018.00179
Uink, B., Bennett, R., Bullen, J., Lin, A., Martin, G., Woods, J., & Paradies, Y. (2022). Racism and Indigenous Adolescent Development: A Scoping Review. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 32(2). https://doi.org/10.1111/jora.12754
UNODC. (2018). 4 DRUGS AND AGE Drugs and associated issues among young people and older people. Retrieved from https://www.unodc.org/wdr2018/prelaunch/WDR18_Booklet_4_YOUTH.pdf
World Health Organization. (2021, November 17). Adolescent Mental Health. Retrieved from World Health Organization website: https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/adolescent-mental-health