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«ADOLECENT’S ATTITUDE TOWARDS THE OPPOSITE- SEX Dr. (Mrs.) Swaleha S. Pathan Associate Professor & Head Department of Psychology, India ABSTRACT ...»

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-Journal of Arts, Science & Commerce ■ E-ISSN 2229-4686 ■ ISSN 2231-4172


Dr. (Mrs.) Swaleha S. Pathan

Associate Professor & Head

Department of Psychology, India


Puberty is the periods when an adolescence reach physical growth and sexual maturity. It

is marked with bodily changes and change in feeling towards opposite sex due to increase in sex hormones. This period starts from late childhood and ends with early adulthood. (12 to 18 years).

In this crucial stage, adolescence is influenced by peer pressure especially the opposite sex peers. This research paper focuses on investigating an adolescence attitude towards the member of opposite sex. The survey method was used to find out students attitude towards each other through questionnaire with multiple choice answers. The result shows that boys have positive attitudes towards girls. Whereas girls has negative attitude towards opposite sex as compared to boys. Such study not only is useful to parents, teachers and psychologists but also gives better understanding to today’s adolescence about opposite sex expectations and their preferences.

Keywords: Puberty, Adolescence, Attitude.

International Refereed Research Journal ■ www.researchersworld.com ■ Vol.– II, Issue –4,Oct. 2011 [192]

-Journal of Arts, Science & Commerce ■ E-ISSN 2229-4686 ■ ISSN 2231-4172


Puberty is a period marked with rapid physical growth leading to sexual maturity and psychological changes.

The average onset of puberty is at 10 or 11 for girls and age 12 or 13 for boys. Girls become sexually and physically mature two years earlier than boys. Puberty begins with a surge in hormone production, which in turn causes a number of physical changes. An adolescent acquires secondary sex characteristics. In girls to name some of the secondary sex characteristics are appearance of breast; voice becomes more delicate, spurt in physical structure, beginning of monthly cycle etc. whereas in boy’s appearance of beard and moustache, voice becomes rough, sudden growth in height etc. In short, physically a young person develops into an adult. As an adolescent is going through drastic physical changes he or she also goes through psychological, mental and emotional changes. Stanley Hall, well known psychologist, describes this stage as the period full of “storm and stress”. This phase is marked with psychologically growing-up. Ericson refers this stage as “Identity Crisis” referring to confusion in identifying oneself neither as a child nor as an adult.

The early and late childhood period boys like to play with boys and girls prefer to be comfortable in the company of girls. Developing relationship with same sex friends and getting their approval and acceptance is one of the important characteristic of interpersonal relationship. The maximum socialization takes place during this stage. But as childhood period end and child enters into an adolescent stage suddenly due to hormonal changes and development of secondary sex characteristics the interest in opposite sex becomes more significant.

Suddenly an adolescent becomes self conscious and his outlook changes. He or she becomes conscious towards oneself as well as towards opposite sex. An adolescent spends lot of time looking at himself or herself in the mirror, new look in hair style, preference in clothing and dressing up manners changes, use of cosmetics and interest in looking good increases. Sudden changes occur in improving self image and having better self impression on opposite sex. Girls become shy in the presence of boys where as boys feel embarrassed in the presence of girls.

Along with these physical, mental and psychological changes social changes in interpersonal relationship also occurs. The acceptance by opposite sex members not only gives the feeling of approval and acceptance but also increases confidence into social relationship which in turn becomes the foundation for adult level. An adolescent is sensitive towards their friend’s comments on their looks, dress, outfits, social skills and social manners. In turn, it develop either positive or negative attitude towards opposite sex. Good and positive reactions will help to develop positive attitude and vice a versa. These interpersonal relationships make an adolescent independent and give emotional support.

These psychosocial relationships describe the aspects of development that are both psychological as well as social in nature. It includes knowing self, sexuality and development of intimate relationship. Hence, the experts from various disciplines such as psychologist, academics, sociologists, anthropologists, physiologists and even government officials have focus on an adolescent.


General trend shows that during the period of childhood boys and girls do not show special attraction to the opposite-sex. Boys prefer to play with boys involving greater physical activities such as wrestling, fighting etc.

and girls prefer to be with girls. On the onset of puberty there often appears a certain shyness and attraction towards the opposite-sex. Sometimes they are also critical of each other. Some of the findings predict the same results. They are as follows Sigmund Freud, a well known psychologist, regarded ‘‘adolescence as the genital stage of Psychosexuality’’ Stanley Hall popularly known as the ‘Father of child Psychology in America, described this period as ‘flaming youth’ and one of ‘storm and stress’ Dorothy Rogers describes adolescent’s image as youth’s detractors and society’s image of the adolescent is a somewhat confused montage, varying from the extremely critical to the highly sentimental.

Harries, D.B. and Sing Chu Tseng studied children’s attitude towards peers and concluded as:

1. The majority of boys and girls feel favorable towards their peers particularly those of like sex, at every age.

2. In general boys are more neutral in their feelings and boy-girl antipathies are caused by girls Lester D. Crow & Alice Crow describes in their book that an attitude towards the members of the opposite-sex, girls are supposed to lay stress upon the possession of good looks, brawn rather than brains and a ‘Smooth line’.

Boys are expected by adults to fall for a ‘Cute trick’ extreme of dress and make-up, as minimum of intelligence and a tendency to be ‘Free & easy’.

They conducted study on 4,900 young adolescents (2,500 girls and 2,360 boys) to discover the attitude and desirable and undesirable qualities in associates of the opposite-sex. Following are the Personality Traits Admired by Members of the Opposite sex (Arranged according to frequency by Lester D. Crow & Alice Crow) International Refereed Research Journal ■ www.researchersworld.com ■ Vol.– II, Issue –4,Oct. 2011 [193]

-Journal of Arts, Science & Commerce ■ E-ISSN 2229-4686 ■ ISSN 2231-4172

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International Refereed Research Journal ■ www.researchersworld.com ■ Vol.– II, Issue –4,Oct. 2011 [194]

-Journal of Arts, Science & Commerce ■ E-ISSN 2229-4686 ■ ISSN 2231-4172

–  –  –

Howard, B.A. states that real and positive gain comes to both boys and girls as they grow up together in the same school. They are able to work out a better and more enduring relationship; they develop a capacity for intelligent friendship and they find out that friendliness can exist without familiarly, that boys and girls can help each other without wanting to ‘flirt’ with each other. They also learn both the value and the art of co-operation.

There is an instinctive unconscious desire on the part of each sex to be at its best in the presence of others.

Mooney, Ross, L. surveyed the problems of high-school students problems by means of a problem check list on 603 students and concluded that the girls at all grade levels led the boys in the mention of problems is the areas of ‘home and family’ and “Social-Psychological Relations” while the boys led the girls in the areas of “Adjustment to school work” and “The future, Vocational and Educational”.

Dixon, Marguerite, M. collected information through questionnaire and interview from 200 girl students’ ages 11-18 and found that: Adolescent girls are under the greatest stress between the ages of 14 and 16 when they are beginning to make important contacts outside their families.

Valentine, C.W. reports the tendency of homosexual attraction (as a substitute for normal), was found to be far less in Co-educational schools where the natural relationship between older boys and girls had better chances of developing.

Dunphy, noticed in his study that during middle adolescence, the unisexual cliques begin to brake and gradually an individual establishes significant relationship with the members of opposite –sex, a new clique system evolves and group becomes heterosexual.

Ellis gathered a data on attitudes and behavior with relation to love and family relationship, states that love is a learned reaction. Girls who live in small communities with few male contacts have difficulty in falling in love compare to girls from comfortably situated family environment fall in love frequently. Thus, it is apparent that opportunities for a sufficient number of contacts with members of the opposite sex are essential to good heterosexual adjustment.

Valentine, C. W. reports at early puberty they are very critical of one another. The boys regard the girls as soft and weak, and girls think of boys as rough and ill- mannered. They are very critical of one another.

Blair, G. M. & Jones, R. S. state on building and changing attitude of adolescent’s interest that, first of all adolescent are interested in himself and is preoccupied with his status, problems and position. The second point is that adolescent have an wakening interest in the opposite sex and want to engage in activities that bring them into contact with boys and girls in their class.

Steinberg, L. quoted Sullivan suggested that establishing healthy intimate relationships during adolescence can have a curative impact for an adolescents who has undergone a moderate degree of psychological ‘ damage’ during childhood.

White, K.M. & Speisman, J. C, reports in adolescent stage first is the phase of ‘sexual awakening’ both sexes, at approximately 13 o 15 years of age, become aware of their developing sexual potential and second is the phase, at the age of 14 to 17, of ‘practicing’, characterized by numerous short term relationships with the opposite sex and by irregular dating.


1. Boys have different attitude toward opposite sex as compared to girls.

2. Boys have more positive attitude towards girls.


The following research methodology was adopted for the investigation:

International Refereed Research Journal ■ www.researchersworld.com ■ Vol.– II, Issue –4,Oct. 2011 [195]

-Journal of Arts, Science & Commerce ■ E-ISSN 2229-4686 ■ ISSN 2231-4172


The survey method was used in this research. The survey was focused on adolescent students to find out their attitudes.



Total eight Junior colleges were chosen and in all 1106 adolescent students from XI & XII standard participated in this research. The sample of students was deliberately selected, as they were easily available and responded to questionnaire enthusiastically and seriously. Not only this, but they were outspoken and related the questions to their subjective problems arising out of their experience.


The tools of investigation included the questionnaire-cum-attitude scale and informal interviews. Hence the data was collected and tabulated was both quantitative and qualitative.

The researcher prepared the questionnaire cum attitude scale and a separate questionnaire for an interview. The responses were obtained on multiple choices. The responses of each question, each option was recorded, tabulated and further statistically analyzed.


1. Boys had a positive attitude towards themselves as compared to girls.

2. Girls had a negative attitude towards the opposite-sex as compared to boys.



Researcher would like to add these comments here as adolescent needs an attention and help from social agents of the society like parents, teachers, educationist, counselors and social workers. These comments will also enhance the understanding about adolescent students as well as their thought processes and cognitive development. The important areas like development of interpersonal relationship with opposite sex, friendship, intimate relationship and their social needs. The role of mass media like television, advertisement, serials, movies also play important role on the minds of young one. The following positive and negative comments towards opposite sex are self explanatory.


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