The ecology of adolescent activity and experience

J Youth Adolesc. 1977 Sep;6(3):281-94. doi: 10.1007/BF02138940.


Twenty-five adolescents reported their daily activities and the quality of their experiences for a total of 753 times during a normal week, in response to random beeps transmitted by an electronic paging device. In this sample adolescents were found to spend most of their time either in conversation with peers or in watching television. Negative affects were prevalent in most activities involving socialization into adult roles. Television viewing appears to be an affectless state associated with deviant behavior and antisocial personality traits. The research suggests the importance of a systemic approach which studies persons' activities and experiences in an ecological context. The experiential sampling method described in this paper provides a tool for collecting such systemic data.