Adolescence  is a transitional stage of physical and psychological human development that generally occurs during the period from puberty to legal adulthood (age of majority). The period of adolescence is most closely associated with the teenage years, though its physical, psychological and cultural expressions may begin earlier and end later. For example, although puberty has been historically associated with the onset of adolescent development, it now typically begins prior to the teenage years and there has been a normative shift of it occurring in preadolescence, particularly in females (see precocious puberty). Physical growth, as distinct from puberty (particularly in males), and cognitive development generally seen in adolescence, can also extend into the early twenties. Thus chronological age provides only a rough marker of adolescence, and scholars have found it difficult to agree upon a precise definition of adolescence.
A thorough understanding of adolescence in society depends on information from various perspectives, including psychology, biology, history, sociology, education, and anthropology. Within all of these perspectives, adolescence is viewed as a transitional period between childhood and adulthood, whose cultural purpose is the preparation of children for adult roles. It is a period of multiple transitions involving education, training, employment and unemployment, as well as transitions from one living circumstance to another.
The end of adolescence and the beginning of adulthood varies by country and by function. Furthermore, even within a single nation state or culture there can be different ages at which an individual is considered (chronologically and legally) mature enough for society to entrust them with certain privileges and responsibilities. Such milestones include driving a vehicle, having legal sexual relations, serving in the armed forces or on a jury, purchasing and drinking alcohol, voting, entering into contracts, finishing certain levels of education, and marriage. Adolescence is usually accompanied by an increased independence allowed by the parents or legal guardians, including less supervision as compared to preadolescence.
In studying adolescent development, adolescence can be defined biologically, as the physical transition marked by the onset of puberty and the termination of physical growth; cognitively, as changes in the ability to think abstractly and multi-dimensionally; or socially, as a period of preparation for adult roles. Major pubertal and biological changes include changes to the sex organs, height, weight, and muscle mass, as well as major changes in brain structure and organization. Cognitive advances encompass both increases in knowledge and in the ability to think abstractly and to reason more effectively. The study of adolescent development often involves interdisciplinary collaborations. For example, researchers in neuroscience or bio-behavioral health might focus on pubertal changes in brain structure and its effects on cognition or social relations. Sociologists interested in adolescence might focus on the acquisition of social roles (e.g., worker or romantic partner) and how this varies across cultures or social conditions. Developmental psychologists might focus on changes in relations with parents and peers as a function of school structure and pubertal status.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Macmillan Dictionary for Students Macmillan, Pan Ltd. (1981), page 14, 456. Retrieved 2010-7-15.
- ↑ Adolescence. Merriam-Webster. Retrieved on May 9, 2012.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 "Puberty and adolescence", MedlinePlus. Retrieved on July 22, 2014.
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 Adolescence. Psychology Today. Retrieved on April 7, 2012.
- ↑ The Theoretical Basis for the Life Model-Research And Resources On Human Development. Retrieved on 2009-08-11.
- ↑ PSY 345 Lecture Notes - Ego Psychologists, Erik Erikson. Retrieved on 2009-08-11.
- ↑ Christie D, Viner R (February 2005). "Adolescent development". BMJ 330 (7486): 301–4. doi:10.1136/bmj.330.7486.301. PMID 15695279. PMC: 548185. http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/330/7486/301.
- ↑ Hill, Mark. UNSW Embryology Normal Development - Puberty. embryology.med.unsw.edu.au. Archived from the original on 22 February 2008. Retrieved on 2008-03-09.
- ↑ Dorn L. D., Biro F. M. (2011). "Puberty and Its Measurement: A Decade in Review. [Review]". Journal of Research on Adolescence 21 (1): 180–195. doi:10.1111/j.1532-7795.2010.00722.x.
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 Roberts, Michelle. "Why puberty now begins at seven", BBC News, 2005-05-15. Retrieved on 2010-05-22.
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 Žukauskaitė S, Lašienė D, Lašas L, Urbonaitė B, Hindmarsh P (September 2005). "Onset of breast and pubic hair development in 1231 preadolescent Lithuanian schoolgirls". Arch. Dis. Child. 90 (9): 932–6. doi:10.1136/adc.2004.057612. PMID 15855182. PMC: 1720558. http://adc.bmj.com/content/90/9/932.full.
- ↑ Finley, Harry. "Average age at menarche in various cultures", Museum of Menstruation and Women's Health. Retrieved on 2007-08-02.
- ↑ Cooney, Elizabeth (2010-02-11). Puberty gap: Obesity splits boys, girls. Adolescent males at top of the BMI chart may be delayed. MSNBC. Retrieved on 2010-05-22.
- ↑ Larson, R., & Wilson, S. (2004). Adolescence across place and time: Globalization and the changing pathways to adulthood. In R. Lerner and L. Steinberg Handbook of adolescent psychology. New York: Wiley
- ↑ Coleman, John; Roker, Debi. Psychologist11. 12 (Dec 1998): 593. "Adolescence".
- ↑ Arnett J. J. (2007). "Emerging Adulthood: What Is It, and What Is It Good For?". Child Development Perspectives 1 (2): 68–73. doi:10.1111/j.1750-8606.2007.00016.x.
- ↑ Côté, J. E. (1996). Identity: A multidimensional analysis. In G. R. Adams, T. Gullotta & R. Montemeyer (Eds.), Issues in Adolescent Development (Vol. 6, pp. 130–180). New York, NY: Sage Publications.
- ↑ Simmons, R., & Blyth, D. (1987). Moving into adolescence. New York: Aldine de Gruyter.
- Adult-child sex
- Child sexual abuse
- United Nations Declaration of Sexual Rights
- Convention on the Rights of the Child
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