SAGE Journal Articles

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SAGE Journal User Guide


Rites of Passage 

Venable, S. F. (1997). Adolescent rites of passage: An experiential model. The Journal of Experiential Education, 20, 6-13.


The idea of adolescence is a relatively new one. With the onset of puberty occurring earlier and earlier and the definition of adulthood becoming later and later, we have a group left in limbo, not children but not adults. Rites of passage were once thought to help children transition into adulthood; however, there are few, if any, rites of passage within the American culture. The author describes the consequences of this and provides an example of how different communities can develop their own rites of passage.  

Discussion Questions:

  1. Do you think the lack of rites of passage in the American culture may help explain the rise in a sense of entitlement seen among many adolescents today?
  2. There has been a significant increase in the number of college graduates returning home to live with their parents. Do you think this would be less likely in a culture that has specific rites of passage?
  3. Can you think of any examples of rites of passage adolescents face in today’s society? Do these achieve any of the goals for rites of passage outlined in the article?

Smoking in Movies 

Heatherton, T. F., & Sargent, J. D. (2009). Does watching smoking in movies promote teenage smoking? Current Directions in Psychological Science, 18, 63-67.


We are often impacted by what we see, adolescents perhaps more so than others. In this time of ‘finding one’s self’ adolescents are looking to peers and role models to determine what they should do and how they should act. The media has a profound impact on what adolescents see and how they behave. Smoking has been reported in 70% of current movies and although the average onscreen smoking time is short (only 1 or 2 minutes) appears to be enough to influence adolescents decision to smoke. 

Discussion Questions:

  1. One of the interesting findings from this study is that adolescents who have a parent who smokes are actually less likely to be influenced by smoking in movies. Why do you think this might be the case?
  2. The authors suggest movies that show smoking include anti-smoking advertisements prior to viewing. What type of advertisements do you think would have the largest impact on adolescents?
  3. Do you think movies should be required to remove all smoking from their films? Do you think these smoking scenes are necessary? If this was required, should we also remove any examples of drinking if movies? Where would we draw the line?