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Rites of passage: A comparison of US, Malaysian and Brazilian adolescents

McCarthy, Sherri Nevada and de Souza, Luciana Karine and Jafaar, Jas (2010) Rites of passage: A comparison of US, Malaysian and Brazilian adolescents. US-China Education Review, 7 (11). pp. 88-98. ISSN 1930-1529


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This study compares the life events perceived as "rites of passage" from adolescence to adulthood by respondents between the ages of 14 and 23 in 3 countries and discusses the possible influences of culture and globalization on these perceptions. Participants include: (1) 250 adolescents from the US (125 males and 125 females); (2) 191 adolescents from southeastern Brazil (70 males and 121 females); and (3) 163 adolescents from Malaysia (76 males and 87 females). These adolescents ranked a variety of life events which may be perceived as indicative of adult status by completing a questionnaire about perceived rites of passage. Although there were similarities among the 3 groups, several differences also emerged. The most commonly noted indicator of adult status for Malaysian youth was physical maturity, followed by completing one's education. Participants from the US cited financial independence as the major indicator of adult status, while those from Brazil cited the ability to make important decisions independently from family and to take responsibility for others, such as children, aging parents or a spouse. Brazilian youth were significantly more likely to cite a love affair and voting in major elections as rites of passage than were participants from the other 2 countries. Participants from the US were significantly more likely to cite military service, and Malaysian youth were significantly more likely to consider completion of education and achieving physical maturity as rites of passage. Gender and age differences within groups were evident on some items, but these were not consistent across groups. Possible explanations for the differences between countries and implications for educators working with adolescents in rapidly changing societies are discussed. (Contains 7 tables and 1 footnote.)

Item Type: Article
Keywords: global perceptions; rites of passage; transition to adulthood; youth; adult; teenager; adolescence; Brazil; United States; Malaysia;
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Department/Unit: Extended Campuses > NAU Yuma > Yuma Education
Date Deposited: 11 Feb 2016 21:37
URI: http://openknowledge.nau.edu/id/eprint/2329

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