Research on Adolescent Development in the Philippines: A Review and Evaluation of the Past Two Decades

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Adolescents comprise 30% of the Philippine population, and are directly implicated in the country’s development prospects. However, adolescence, as a developmental period, has been treated unsystematically and virtually neglected in Philippine psychology research (Ventura, 1981). While this situation has changed in recent years, the extent to which research on Filipino adolescents has grown remains undetermined. This review addresses the gap by providing a comprehensive evaluation of the status of research on Filipino adolescent development from 1983 to the present. A total of 147 scholarly published and unpublished papers were examined in terms of their themes, bibliographic features (i.e., year published/completed; source of report), sampling characteristics (i.e., participants’ age, gender, SES, study setting, sampling size and method), and methodological elements including research objectives, design and procedures. The results indicate that adolescence research has indeed grown exponentially since the early 80’s, mostly concentrating on socio-emotional aspects and problems of the youth. In this body of research, school-going middle to late adolescents from urban areas appeared to be overly-sampled in large groups through convenience sampling. Lastly, fully a quarter of studies were found to be only incidentally about adolescent development. Recommendations therefore focused on the utility of the developmental perspective in analyzing and interpreting data from youth research, the need for clearer definitions of Filipino adolescence, and the call for wider dissemination of scholarly works on the lives of the Filipino youth.