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time of life from onset of puberty to full adulthood. The exact period of adolescence, which varies from person to person, falls approximately between the ages 12 and 20 and encompasses both physiological and psychological changes. Physiological changes lead to sexual maturity and usually occur during the first several years of the period. This process of physical changes is known as puberty, and it generally takes place in girls between the ages of 8 and 14, and boys between the ages of 9 and 16. In puberty, the pituitary gland increases its production of gonadotropins, which in turn stimulate the production of predominantly estrogen in girls, and predominantly testosterone in boys. Estrogen and testosterone are responsible for breast development, hair growth on the face and body, and deepening voice. These physical changes signal a range of psychological changes, which manifest themselves throughout adolescence, varying significantly from person to person and from one culture to another. Psychological changes generally include questioning of identity and achievement of an appropriate sex role; movement toward personal independence; and social changes in which, for a time, the most important factor is peer group relations. Adolescence in Western societies tends to be a period of rebellion against adult authority figures, often parents or school officials, in the search for personal identity. Many psychologists regard adolescence as a byproduct of social pressures specific to given societies, not as a unique period of biological turmoil. In fact, the classification of a period of life as "adolescence" is a relatively recent development in many Western societies, one that is not recognized as a distinct phase of life in many other cultures.


See T. Hine, The Rise and Fall of the American Teenager (1999).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.


the stage in the LIFE COURSE between childhood and adulthood marked by the beginnings of adult sexuality but coming before full adult status or final detachment from the FAMILY OF ORIGIN OR ORIENTATION.

In simple societies the passage from childhood to adulthood is often marked by rites de passage (see RITUAL), or by the provision of young mens (and less often young women's) AGE SETS. However, it is within modern societies, with their distinctive emphasis on YOUTH CULTURE, fostered by the MASS MEDIA OF COMMUNICATION, that adolescence has achieved a particular importance. In these societies, in contrast to more TRADITIONAL SOCIETIES, adolescents must choose their CAREERS and sexual partners as well as their general LIFESTYLE. Thus adolescence, the time of educational examinations and entry into work, is also a stage in the life cycle which is associated with individual experimentation in sexual and leisure behaviour. It may also be a time for questioning received values, and of rebellion against parental patterns of behaviour (see also GENERATION). The search for independence, and the heightened sense of self-awareness and uncertainty about SELF, can also lead to psychological crisis and psychological disturbance. See also YOUTH UNEMPLOYMENT, DELINQUENCY.

Collins Dictionary of Sociology, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2000


Stage in the cycle of erosion following youth and preceding maturity.
The period of life from puberty to maturity.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


novel of young love. [Am. Lit.: Booth Tarkington Seventeen in Magill I, 882]
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
'We the Future' drive aims at raising awareness about role adolescents can play in Pakistan
"Despite an increasing rate, DAAH composed a small proportion of total development assistance for health, suggesting that adolescent health has gained little donor attention," the authors write.
Adolescents 'cognitive abilities, communication and social skills differ from those of adults.
A community-based cross-sectional study was conducted in slums of Dibrugarh town of Assam among adolescent girls in the age group of 10-19 years for a period of 6 months from June to November 2016.
Some of the adolescents can deal with the challenges and demands of developmental tasks with no noticeable disturbance due to adaption efforts of new task demands but some face a lot of difficulties and show marked distress in adjusting and coping to these developmental changes (Bizarro, 2012).
"Improving the way health systems serve adolescents is just one part of improving their health," says Dr Anthony Costello, Director, Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health, WHO.
It provides high-quality health care that can be accessed in a timely manner, acceptable, appropriate and effective for adolescents, in cooperation with other key stakeholders, which include the family, community, school, government and private institutions."
The findings also suggest early and late adolescents each attempt to cope with stressors in a variety of ways that become more diverse and adaptive with development through the adolescent years.
Objectives of Study: To study the rural health centre services utilization by adolescents.
The purpose of this paper is to discuss how education, psychological development, and support from her mother have an impact on the pregnant adolescent's adjustment to her pregnancy.
While it is recognized that addressing all the rights of adolescents would be crucial for the progress and development of the country, based on the series of consultations and available data about the situation of adolescents in Pakistan and Punjab in particular, the Punjab Adolescent Strategy & Strategic Plan 2013-17 focuses on economic empowerment of adolescents, their education, health, social and others issues.
LAHORE -- Punjab Minister for Education and Youth Affairs Rana Mashhood Ahmad Khan officially launched the Punjab Adolescent Strategy & Strategic Plan 2013-17, here on Saturday.

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