Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Thesis (Open Access)


Colby College. Sociology Dept.


Teresa Arendell


From a social constructionist perspective linked with a feminist standpoint, I examine three forms of adolescent self-destructive behaviors: eating disorders, self-mutilation and substance abuse. The social construction of adolescents’ norms, values, and beliefs, as based upon their interactions with family, peers, and the media, helps explain these self-destructive actions. In addition to a comprehensive literature review, I interviewed five adults who work with adolescents in the state of Maine, and used these professionals’ experiences and knowledge to support the current theories pertaining to these acts of self-harm. To better understand what drives some adolescents to harm their own bodies, I examined the sociocultural influences, personality traits, and the effects of gender on adolescent interactions and experiences.


Self-destructive behavior in adolescence, Eating disorders, utilation Substance abuse, sociocultural influences, personality traits, effects of gender on adolescent interactions

Included in

Sociology Commons