Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts Honours


Faculty of Community Services, Education and Social Sciences

First Advisor

Dr Christopher Sonn


Since modernisation in western society, a number of changes have had a strong influence on the life of Adolescents'. This review examines adolescent development, particularly social role and identity formation, in relation to a changing social environment A brief historical overview is outlined to highlight how economic, political, and social changes have impacted on the development of the life phase, adolescence. The gap between childhood and adulthood is then defined to conceptualise adolescence as a social construction resulting from social changes. Social role and identity formation, and adolescent well-being are then addressed in response to social change. Factors including puberty, cognitive development, shifts in education, and social integration are discussed in relation to then impact on role and identity development. The paper then focuses on adolescent support networks, firstly with adults in the family, then within the school context, and finally within peer groups. The literature suggests that as a result of changes in the family context, increased attendance at school, and poor relationships with teachers, adolescents are experiencing social separation with many significant adults. As a response to the separation, it was proposed that adolescent peer groups might he operating as relational communities with shared narratives, facilitating a social identity and functional social role. Consequently, the literature on social identities, shared narratives, and psychological sense of community was reviewed Finally directions for future research arc discussed, highlighting the need for research into the positive effects or peer groups on adolescent development.