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Related to Formative years: adolescent


adolescence, 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).

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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 ?
Below, Marc Evans, who plans to make a film about her formative years in Cardiff
Intriguingly, experiencing a recession during the formative years did not seem to move people in either direction along a liberal-conservative spectrum.
Louis Journalism Review in its formative years. He laid out the first issue of SJR in 1970, the same year he left the Globe.
The president of a US-based production company Manifold Production Inc., Michael Park, and his wife Gina, spent one day on Nevis on a fact finding mission in preparation for a documentary on the early life of Alexander Hamilton, who was born in Nevis and spent his formative years on the islan, reports Caribbean Net News (March 27, 2008).
As such college-level collections strong in media history will find this an attractive addition, offering an engaging survey of American media history during its formative years and including enough lively dialogue to make it accessible even to lay readers.
She offers a fresh take on the secretary of state, from her youth in segregated Birmingham, Ala., to her politically formative years studying under Joseph Korbel (Madeleine Albright's father), to her role as one of President George W.
Iron-deficiency anemia in the formative years is linked with behavioral and cognitive delays in such areas as mental and motor development, learning, and school achievement.
"There is a generation, in the Middle East in particular, of 15- to 22-year-olds, that during the most formative years of their lives has only seen the U.S.
After looking at my life, I knew the outcome of the individual has to do with the setup in their formative years. If a child is raised in an atmosphere where crime is OK, then they're going to grow up to commit crimes.
Students and parents increasingly would ask about the availability of a bachelor degree completion option at the two-year college--where students spent their two most formative years of the undergraduate learning experience.
We sat back stage in one of the club's bland dressing rooms, while a reserved yet polite Ashley described his formative years in the suburbs of Houston, finding redemption in the Oakland music scene, and his unbothered approach to songwriting and recording.
At UCB, we are committed to minimizing the impact of ADHD on children during their formative years."