Scholarly article on topic 'Emo phenomenon – An actual problem in adolescence'

Emo phenomenon – An actual problem in adolescence Academic research paper on "Psychology"

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Abstract of research paper on Psychology, author of scientific article — Anca Munteanu, Iuliana Costea, Ramona Paloş, Adrian Jinaru, Gabriel Mugurel Dragomir

Abstract The aim of the present study was to study personality features characteristic for the teenagers involved in the EMO subculture. The study sample was represented by 100 adolescents, average age 17,5 years. First group of 50 adolescents that are considered like being part of the EMO subculture were selected after interviewing several teachers from a high school, from Timisoara, Romania. This interview has 5 categories of questions: regarding physical aspect; emotional tonus observed; capacity of adaptation to tasks; behaviour and interests. Immersion in personality dynamics of adolescent, especially regarding such a delicate matter as a new suburban culture, that is beginning to have more and more influence in teenagers, is necessary.

Academic research paper on topic "Emo phenomenon – An actual problem in adolescence"

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Procedia Social and Behavioral Sciences 15 (2011) 1611-1615

WCES-2011

Emo phenomenon - An actual problem in adolescence

Anca Munteanu a, Iuliana Costea* b, Ramona Palo§ c, Adrian Jinarud, Gabriel Mugurel Dragomir e

a'b'c'd West University of Timi§oara, V. Parvan Street no 4, 300223, Romania e University "Polihnica" of Timi§oara, Victory Square No. 2, 300006, Romania

Abstract

The aim of the present study was to study personality features characteristic for the teenagers involved in the EMO subculture. The study sample was represented by 100 adolescents, average age 17,5 years. First group of 50 adolescents that are considered like being part of the EMO subculture were selected after interviewing several teachers from a high school, from Timisoara, Romania. This interview has 5 categories of questions: regarding physical aspect; emotional tonus observed; capacity of adaptation to tasks; behaviour and interests. Immersion in personality dynamics of adolescent, especially regarding such a delicate matter as a new suburban culture, that is beginning to have more and more influence in teenagers, is necessary. © 2011 Published by Elsevier Ltd.

Keywords: adolescence, personality features, depretion, emotional inteligence;

1. Introduction

Adolescent age offers to human being the space of the most alert and luxuriant development. Even if many researches show that adolescent age is a period of crisis, one a part other the teen agers are windows of vulnerability (Adams & Berzonsky, 2009). Instead, most of the adolescents succeed to overpass these problems, reason for which is no need to consider adolescence as a part of pathology.

In its essence, adolescence a long chain of lost and separation: from the child body, from the idyllic image about the parents, psychical sexual duality from childhood, from the infantile way of thinking and loving (S. Clerget, 2008). At the end of all these multiple metamorphoses is birth a whole new person from a qualitative point of view.

Without any doubts, in contemporaneous society, the challenges that adolescent age is imposing multiplied, increasing the tensions of life. The lack of coherent actions and counseling of the person for passing from child to adult (including here the passage rituals) can generate syncope and behavioral problems (Munteanu, 2008).

Increasing number of EMO teen-agers is showing this deficit of adaptation for transiting adolescence.

We will focus in the following on the identity of these teenagers. The word "EMO" means the short from "emotional", fact that is suggesting a very sensitive person, cu a high degree of getting impressed by external facts.

* Iuliana Costea. Tel.: 0040745578556; E-mail address: Iulita_2002@yahoo.com

1877-0428 © 2011 Published by Elsevier Ltd. doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2011.03.339

This suburban culture was first mentioned in the late 80's and the beginning of 90's, the concept being utilized to define the fans of a musical trend, similar with rock. But most of fans were adolescents who consider themselves not understood by the others, from real reasons or fantastic ones. Gradually, a subculture developed, which reverberated over life style and conception about life of the followers.

In regard to the developmental implications of music listening, adolescence has been thought of being particularly meaningful, notably because motivation for music listening can reach its climax during the second decade of life (Larson, 1995; North et al., 2000; Zillmann and Gan, 1997). To draw the psycho-behavioral portrait of EMO teen agers, we will use a hybrid between goth, rock and punk. Nonetheless, in terms of psychosocial adaptation, music listening in adolescence can also relate (either as a protective or risk factor) to various indicators of psychopathology. Therefore, it is also possible to talk about a 'developmental psychopathology of music listening' as a research topic implicitly shared by several studies in adolescence (D. Miranda, P. Gaudreau, 2010).

Recent studies have shown for example complex longitudinal links between different music listening behaviors and externalizing problem behaviors in adolescence, such as aggression (Selfhout et al., 2008). These studies have also identified complex longitudinal relationships between different music listening behaviors and internalizing symptoms in adolescence, such as depression (Miranda and Claes, 2008).

In parallel, two of the basic emotions that are activated by music listening are happiness (positive) and sadness (negative) (Kallinen, 2005). In this regard, the field of cognitive neuroscience provides compelling biological evidence for the direct influence of music on human emotions (Juslin and Sloboda, 2010; Peretz and Zatorre, 2003). Additionally, recent experimental studies indicated that both positive and negative emotional responses can coexist within the same music listening experience (Hunter et al., 2008)

As appearance EMO teens prefer black color, specific of goth trend, which is used with generosity, also to makeup their eyes. They usually have ages between 13-19 years old. T-shirts are black, same of rock fans, having also written the names of their favorite bands or scalps. Bays have short hear, with comb, dyed in contrasting colors. Girls on the other hand, prefer also short hair, asymmetric cuts, and locks of hair covering at least one of the eyes. As a color, usually the hair is a mix of black of blond with pink of green. They love earrings and tattoos, that are usually in places where can easily be seen. To describe a little the clothes, they use bizarre combination. So, they wear very large pants or very tight, rich accessorized, with belts, spikes and buckles. Badges, bracelets, long scarf and black glasses frame give to these kids a certain identity. They wear cloth sneakers, sport shoes, black and old and big post bags (Munteanu, 2009).

Psychological constellation of an EMO can be defined through some dominant features: depression, anxiety, introversion and sensitivity. Also, they can have a tendency to victimize themselves, searching with flavor the tragic parts of life. Their self imagine is eradiated, cause for extreme gestures like cutting themselves with blades or even suicide. They prefer loneliness and when they interact with the others; their eyes look only down using a deep and low voice. Their talk is centered on personal problems and the most frequent motive is to wail about family and society. Promoting a generalized nihilism, EMO adolescent is a rebel who rejects the world and rejects also themselves (Munteanu, 2009). If we filter the EMO phenomenon through psychoanalytical view, we will fallow the idea of Vincent (2008), saying that a narcissist regression happens. As well, these teenagers are all the time defying every rule and being in conflict with everything and everybody.

Trying to find the main causes which lead to this phenomenon, the researchers suggest the presence of unsolved trauma (Aaron J, Zaglul H, Emery RE, 1999).Sometimes the desire to fit with the others makes teenagers embrace this trend. Beyond this individual causes, the modern society plays its part in EMO trend.

For sure the main role in prevention or solving this problem of the "sad teen agers" is overcoming to parents. All depends of the way they know the art of communication with their own children (Allison, K. W et. al, 1999). Considering the idea of Elias (2002), a precious method to endure sadness is distraction their attention and refocusing it from morbid thoughts to attractive and valorizing activities. Even more, fructifying the valences of the emotional intelligence in education is another way to prevent or cure (Campbell, 2007).

Cognitive or physical symptoms are discriminative symptoms at different ages, which may be due to differences in the importance of specific developmental or psychosocial factors (Lewinsohn et al., 2003). Because adolescents undergo many developmental changes, discriminative symptoms might differ between early and late adolescence

(van Lang et al, 2006). Historically, the teenage years have been seen as a stormy time of moodiness, difficult communication, rebelliousness, confliction relationships, and misunderstanding. This stereotype has the potential to dismiss the symptoms of a group of adolescents for whom this very behavior is a cry for help (Dundon, 2006).

After this brief theoretical part, we will proceed to present our investigation, in order to identify more features in defining personality profile of EMO adolescent.

2. Methodology

2.1. Objectives and research hypotheses

The objectives established for reaching the proposed target were the following:

Ol.Identifying personality features, depression and anxiety levels and emotional intelligence for EMO teen agers; O2. Capturing the differences regarding personality features, depression and anxiety levels and emotional intelligence between the two tested groups.

2.2. Participants

This research sample is represented by 100 adolescents, average age 17,5 years. First group of 50 adolescents that are considered like being part of the EMO subculture were selected after interviewing several teachers from several high schools, from Timisoara, Romania. The other 50 pupils were chosen to respect the structure of the target group (same average age and same gender structure).

2.3. Tests

The portfolio of tests was made up of the following questionnaires: Myer Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI); State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI), Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), Emotional Intelligence Test and a 20 questions interview, for identifying the EMO teenagers. STAI inventory measures 2 dimensions of anxiety, one as a state and one as a trait. The interview has for identifying EMO adolescents has 5 categories of questions: regarding physical aspect (clothes, make-up, and hair style); emotional tonus observed; capacity of adaptation to tasks; behavior and interests (music style).

2.4. Procedures

For selecting the target group we interviewed 20 teachers, who recommended us 50 pupils who corresponded to EMO profile. The questionnaires were applied to a sample of 100 adolescences, 50 from the target group and 50 for control group. For the statistical processing of data, the SPSS 15.0 program was used. For the verification of formulated hypotheses, the "significance between means" test was used - the t test for independent samples and the correlations between various variables - by calculating the Pearson coefficient.

2.5. The analysis and interpretation of the results

O1. Identifying personality features, depression, anxiety levels and emotional intelligence for EMO teen agers. H1. Personality features, depression and anxiety describe a specific profile for EMO adolescences. Regarding our results, EMO teen agers are rather introverted (mean 26.40), preoccupied by themselves and oriented towards interior. As notices, even if they like to be in groups with similar ones, they keep their privacy and don't bond. Also, they seem to be more focused on sensation (mean 23.80) than on intuition. From the couple thinking-feeling, they tend to be oriented more towards the feeling part (mean for feeling 22.60), showing that being organized and rational is not a characteristic of this category of adolescences. Emotions are internal events that coordinate many psychological sub-systems including physiological responses, cognition, and conscious awareness.

They provide an emotional valence for a person's changing relationships, helping to provide importance and meaning to an individual's environment (S. Luebbers, L.A., Downey, C. Stough, 2006). For the dimension judgment-perception the mean for both features is not very different (mean for judging 20.60). But still, most adolescents act more from feelings and intuition, being a characteristic of the age. Mean for anxiety is 42,36 for state and 43,76 for trait, numbers that show us a high level of both kinds of anxiety. Also the mean for depression is 24,32 for our tested lot, showing us a upper normal level, but not clinical. Recently Fenandez-Berrocal at al. (2006) has examined the relation between intelligence, anxiety and depression among adolescents; it was hypotheses that emotional abilities would predict psychological adjustment. The study revealed two directions, first one is about the self reported ability to regulate mood (emotional repair) and was positively related to self-esteem. Second self reported emotional intelligence was negatively related to level of depression and anxiety. The results provide supports of the hypothesis that emotional abilities are important and unique contributor to psychological adjustment. Relationship between emotional intelligence and emotional variables such as depression, anxiety and mental health has been well documented in adolescent and adult samples in previous researches (Mayer, 2001; Reinherz, H. et al., 2003). This exploratory part of our research tried to identify few suggestive features, specific for EMO teen ager, in order to draw a psychological identity sketch.

Regarding the sample of teen agers that were tested in this study, one can notice that

O2. Capturing the differences between the two tested groups, regarding personality features, depression, anxiety level and emotional intelligence.

H2. There are differences between EMO adolescents and the one who don't belong to any suburban culture in terms of personality features, depression, anxiety levels and emotional intelligence

Table 1. Differences between personality features, depression, anxiety, emotional intelligence

Measured Features N t Std. dev. P

Introversion/Extraversion 100 30.854 3.102 .000

Sensation/Intuition 100 16.391 4.494 .256

Thinking/Feeling 100 29.579 3.785 .000

Judging/Perception 100 18.587 5.174 .342

Depression 100 2.295 2.045 .000

Anxiety as a trait 100 28.528 5.893 .002

Anxiety as a state 100 27.687 6.241 .003

Emotional intelligence 100 2.785 5.024 .472

From among the variables that shape the psychological profile of the teenager, some are statistically different for the EMO adolescences. As noticed from the numbers, energetic pattern of personality (introversion/extraversion) and also emotional pattern (thinking/feeling) is different for the adolescents involved in the EMO subculture compared with other teenagers, uninterested in this new trend (Table 1). There are also differences regarding depression and anxiety levels, EMO teens having significant higher levels from both this features. Statistical results came to confirm our hypothesis that EMO teenagers are sadder and depressed then the ones who don't belong to this urban subculture. It like a mandatory feature to be considered a part of this group and seems to have psychological consequences. Relationship between emotional intelligence and emotional variables such as depression, anxiety and mental health has been well documented in child and adult samples (Mayer, 2001; Reinherz, H. et al., 2003). Emotions and moods provide information about our relationship to the environment, such as when fear signals that there is a prospect of something undesirable happening in the future and sadness signals that something undesirable has happened in the past (Ortony, Clore, & Collins, 1988). This is what links the depression and anxiety from the EMO teenagers to the emotional intelligence. But, by far the most interesting result is, without any doubts, the fact that emotional intelligence does not differ significant at the adolescents from the EMO trend from the ones not interested in EMO subculture. As a possible explanation to this result, in several researches (Perez, Petrides, and

Furnham, 2005), emotional intelligence was associated with social intelligence. Without any doubts, most of adolescent are sociable, even if is just to be accepted by their peers as part of group.

2.6. Limits of the study

Among the limits of this preliminary study one finds the small number of subjects distributed, which imposes the necessity to continue research on a more extended sample. Increasing the number of subjects will allow the identification of statistically significant differences in terms of the types of goals set. Also, a gender analysis would be extremely useful, in order to decode the possible differences between EMO girls and boys, regarding the tested features of personality.

3. Conclusions and future research directions

Knowing these aspects becomes essential precisely for immersion in personality dynamics of adolescent, especially regarding such a delicate matter as a new suburban culture, which is beginning to have more and more influence in teenagers, is necessary. Also, because school education is essential at adolescence, a fracture between education configuration and adolescent's personality profile asks for multidimensional update of teaching system, in order to keep the contact with every type of teenager. EMO subculture is a new problem for out educational system, and is mandatory for us to learn how to deal with it. For sure, without restricting the freedom of expressing or the originality of these adolescents, we have though to work with their depression and anxiety.

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