SG(psy150) ( 2 parts. )


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Discussion – Gender Identity, Then and Now

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As I discussed elsewhere Erikson characterized the big crisis during adolescence as identity vs. role confusion. There’s a lot of struggling as one comes to grips with who they are, from simple likes and dislikes to central core elements of personality and identity. One fundamental aspect of this would be one’s sexual orientation. In modern times this can be confusing and everyone goes through a period of questioning.

But consider what it must have been like in times past. For example, imagine being a homosexual male prior to the 1970’s. That in particular was simply not acceptable in that era. People ended up denying their sexuality and often pretended to be heterosexual in order to fit with societal expectations. That would even extend to a heterosexual marriage and having children. A person’s entire life might well be a lie. That kind of role confusion had devastating effects leading to alcoholism, drug abuse, depression and suicide.

For this assignment I’d like you all to consider what it must have been like for someone who was other than heterosexual in the United States prior to the 1970’s. Imagine not being able to confide to even your closest friends or family such a central part of your identity because you feared becoming a social outcast. Along with that, consider having to pretend to be straight in order to ‘fit in’ both socially and in the workplace. Then compare that to the much more accepting atmosphere of contemporary American society. Still, things aren’t perfect, but great strides have been made.

I’m not looking for opinions on sexual orientation itself. And you need not make any declaration as to your own sexual orientation. I’m simply asking you to consider what that experience would have been like in the past and how it has changed in modern times. What are the implications in terms of the individual’s growth and development as a person?


This assignment is intended to tie together everything we’ve covered regarding childhood. We’ve seen that at all levels schools play a role in both academic and social development. Grades schools, middle schools and high schools all provide unique environments and different opportunities for multiple facets of development. After reading the text chapters, lecture readings and articles as well as watching the videos thus far presented consider the role schools play. How does the material regarding schools and education apply to what went on during the peak of the recent pandemic? There were many changes in how school was being conducted and the effects varied quite a bit between early childhood, middle childhood and adolescence. Some schools went completely online for quite some time, some came to have limited face-to-face meetings, while some (particularly private schools) quickly returned to pretty much normal operations. This varied quite a bit from one location to another.

As many of you are aware we’ve found that certain age groups, and people with different learning styles, adapted better to this than others. In addition, the impact varied disproportionately as those already at a disadvantage were the hardest hit as they didn’t have the resources to effectively access online materials. So, the big question is whether this was really handled well.

And don’t forget that athletics were affected by the school closures as well. For many that was just as big of a loss. Athletics provides friendships and camaraderie, the development of both cooperative skills and leadership abilities as well as academic opportunities through scholarships for the older students.

Obviously many questions have been raised and the debate continues as to whether shutting down schools and athletics caused as many problems as keeping them open might have done. What’s your analysis based on what you now know about development at these different ages and the role of schools and education? For this assessment I’d like you to compare the effects on grade school children, middle school children and high school children as you address at least three of the following questions, whichever you feel strongest about.

  • What do you think schools should have done?
  • How long should schools have remained closed?
  • What does developmental psychology indicate regarding the effects of restricting access to schools and athletics?
  • What about the effects of social isolation? Which age group is hardest hit by that?
  • What might be the long-term effects of this on academic achievement and opportunities moving forward?

Cite material from class to support your assertions, but feel free to bring in outside sources and personal experiences as well. Some of you were directly affected by this, some had children dealing with all of this. Your insights are just as valuable as the research.

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