Unit5 Peer Discussion Response Lifespan

Peer Response Unit 5 Lifespan

Response Guidelines for both peer responses (#1 and #2)

Your responses to other learners are expected to be substantive in nature and to reference the assigned readings, as well as other theoretical, empirical, or professional literature to support your views and writings. Use the following critique guidelines:

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  • The clarity and completeness of your peer’s post.
  • The demonstrated ability to apply theory to practice.
  • The credibility of the references.
  • The structure and style of the written post.

Peer Response #1


Adolescence is a time of high emotional reactivity and development of social identity. Adolescents learn who they are in relation to others while at the same time experiencing more mood disruption than any other stage of life. At this stage, development from early experiences has already impacted them and how they feel about and interact with peers. This along with the fact that the frontal lobe of the brain, responsible for higher order fuctioning such as self-regulation and judgment, is not fully developed, can explain why this stage gives way to risky behaviors (Broderick & Blewitt, 2014). One particularly troubling behavior in adolescents is drug use. Not only is this harmful to the individual at the time, but it often leads to lifelong difficulty with addiction. There are several risk factors that can increase the likelihood of drug use in adolescence.

One very relevant factor to drug use is self-concept, which starts developing in early childhood, but especially develops in adolescence. This can include one’s physical, social, family, and academic self-concept. A study that analyzed the relationship between self-concept and drug use found that negative self-concept in categories of family, academics, and physical appearance was significantly correlated with drug use (Maria et al., 2011).

Another factor highly correlated with drug use is exposure to “potentially traumatic events” prior to age 11. These events include threats to physical or emotional harm. The Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry published a study using a national survey examining the link between these PTEs and drug use in adolescence, and found a positive relationship between PTEs and use of marijuana, cocaine, and prescription drugs (Carliner et al., 2016).

Although much evidence has been found regarding environmental influences, heritability also plays a role. A longitudinal study found that heritability of externalizing behavior in adolescents was 56%, and 27% for drug use (Korhonen et al., 2012).

These factors often interact with each other. For example, when a parent is genetically inclined to externalize, often the parent will abuse drugs, creating an unstable environment for their child. They may be less responsive in early childhood, creating an insecure attachment and a poor self-concept. Parental drug use and general externalizing behavior may also expose a child to potentially traumatic events. Therefore, it is likely for these factors to coexist and have a strong impact on the child. This is a good example of how stages of life are not separate from each other, but influence each other dynamically.


Broderick, P. C., Blewitt, P. (2014). Life Span, The: Human Development for Helping Professionals, 4th Edition. [Bookshelf Online].

Carliner, H., Keyes, K., McLaughlin, K., Meyers, J, Dunn, E., Martins, S. (2016). Childhood Trauma and Illicit Drug Use in Adolescence: A Population-Based National Comorbidity Survey Replication–Adolescent Supplement Study, 55(8), 701-708.

Korhonen, T., Latvala, A., Dick, D., Pulkkinen, L., Rose, R. (2012). Genetic and Environmental Influences Underlying Externalizing Behaviors, Cigarette Smoking and Illicit Drug Use Across Adolescence. Behavior Genetics, 42(4), 614-625.

María C, F., Fernando, G., Enrique, G., & Marisol, L. (2011). Self-concept and drug use in adolescence. Adicciones, 23(3).

Peer Response #2

R. Lam

Media exposure is a cultural force that can negatively affect the human development from middle-childhood to adolescence. It can also be a societal/environmental force because mostly everyone has access and is exposed to different types of media. In this case, violent videogames can be considered a type of risky behavior because they are a type of media that can expose violent (and sometimes sexualized and commercial) messages to “young” age groups. According to models based on priming effects, exposure to violent stimuli will unconsciously influence a person and therefore cause more violent responses.

Broderick & Blewitt (2015) assemble the argument that there is a relationship between violent videogame (VVG) exposure and aggressive behavior. They have many sources and citations that say playing VVGs was associated with increased levels of aggression and aggressive behavior, despite controlling for other media use, quality of parenting, academic and school variables, sports involvement, depression, and other deviant behaviors (Broderick & Blewitt, 2015). However, none of those supporting sources date past 2012. Two recent studies argue that the relationship between VVGs and aggressive behavior is not significant and that past literature contained serious confounding variables and other methodological issues (Zendle, Kudenko, & Cairns, 2018a; Zendle, Kudenko, & Cairns, 2018b).

Zendle, Kudenko, & Cairns (2018a) state that previous research had studied the graphical realism (how realistic a game looks) of VVGs to see its influence on the proposed negative effects of VVGs, which returned mixed results. Instead, the researchers looked into behavioral realism (how realistic a game behaves) because this type of realism may be the one that leads to aggressive behavior. They found that increasing behavioral realism (in VVGs) did not significantly increase the activation of aggressive concepts. In conclusion, the results of this study suggest that the realism of VVGs doesn’t lead to aggression-related variables.

Zendle, Kudenko, & Cairns (2018b) also state that there have been many serious confounding issues in past literature, such as researchers commonly failing to account for video game competitiveness, difficulty, and pace of action. Any of these variables could lead frustration or annoyance and therefore aggressive behavior, rather than the actual playing of the game. Their study (2018b) researches priming effects (the exposure to a stimulus influencing a response to a following stimulus) in different video games, not just VVGs. The findings suggest that priming does not happen in video games. Unexpectedly, a negative priming effect was observed, where participants were slower to recognize related stimuli. These results also suggest that models based upon priming effects may not be accurate when predicting why/how VVGs affect player behavior.

In conclusion, the findings of past literature and research on the relationship between VVGs and aggressive behavior will need to be reconsidered, due to serious flaws in methodology. Recent research has not found any evidence that significantly proves the relationship either. Priming effects could have explained the relationship, but was suggested to be unreliable (Zendle, Kudenko, & Cairns, 2018b).

Broderick, P.C., & Blewitt, P. (2015). THE LIFE SPAN: Human Development for Helping Professionals (4th ed.). Boston: Pearson.

Zendle, D., Kudenko, D., Cairns, P. (2018a). Behavioural realism and the activation of aggressive concepts in violent video games. Entertainment Computing, 24, 21-29. doi: 10.1016/j.chb.2017.09.021

Zendle, D., Kudenko, D., Cairns, P. (2018b). No priming in video games. Computers in Human Behavior, 78, 113-125. doi: 10.1016/j.entcom.2017.10.003

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