This book presents a comprehensive view of adolescent psychology. In the first half of the book the author, F. Philip Rice, includes a chapter describing such common adolescent tehories as those of Piaget and Erikson, and presents the strengths and weaknesses of each theory. He also devotes a chapter to adolescent physical development. From reading the first few chapters, it seems like a standard college textbook. What sets this book apart from many textbooks dealing with this subject, however, is its focus on diversity issues and adolescent culture.
F. Philip Rice, the book's author, argues that most psychological surveys of adolescents do not take ethnicity into account. He believes that it is important to include ethnicity as a factor in such studies, for the cultural beliefs, values, and traditions of the different minority populations in America (i.e., African Americans, Asians, Mexicans, Native Americans, and Puerto Ricans) and describing their religious beliefs, family traditions, and cultural attitudes towards such topics as dating, marriage, and education. It is important to note that he describes Mexicans and Puerto Ricans as separate groups. Most studies, he argues, tend to group both these ethnicities as "Hispanics," but they each as a group have their own cultural traditions and attitudes.
Rice's chapter on adolescent culture is the highlight of the work. In this section, he focuses on his theory of adolescent subculture, which "emphasizes conformity to the peer group and values that are contrary to adult values. This culture exists primarily in the high school, where it constitutes a small society..." (Rice, 236). Rice argues that, since this subculture primarily exists within the confines of high school, adolescents are able to form their own systems of values and beliefs separate from adult society. He devotes a large portion of the chapter to how adolescents are able to form their own class system and create their own status indicators, and shows how their world can be seen as a scaled-down version of adult society.
This is a wonderful textbook for students, and an outstanding reference for secondary school administrators and guidance counselors. If this work is used in a college course, however, it should serve as a compliment to other books, rather than serve as the primary work, because of its lack of case studies.