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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).

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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 ?
This observational study of 2,223 boys and girls used information from mothers, teachers and the children to trace the development of physical aggression problems from infancy to adolescence. The analysis suggests the frequency of physical aggression increased from age 1EeA' to 3EeA' and then decreased until age 13.
Similar biological changes, including alterations in the brain, are seen across a variety of mammalian species during adolescence. (13-15) Adolescence-associated neural alterations include regionally specific reductions in the number of synaptic connections between neurons and declines in the relative volume of certain cortical and subcortical areas.
Columbia University psychiatrist Mirjana Domakonda said, "Delayed adolescence is no longer a theory, but a reality.
In high and middle income countries, the paper highlighted three main areas for action in adolescence: mental health, obesity and substance abuse.
Transverse linear striae on the back in adolescence were first described in 1917 by Weber who reported an 18-year-old tailor with this condition [1].
Given that none of these reactions is recommended, parents should know that adolescence is normally marked by acute critical phenomena (3).
Statistical Analysis: Mean and SD were calculated for independent and dependent variables after grouping the study participants into early adolescence (<13 years), middle adolescence (14-16 years), and late adolescence (17-20 years) groups.
The course briefed participants on the phase of adolescence, discovering the problems facing teenagers, learning the art of dealing with adolescence and directing them with modern educational methods.
The course also aims at briefing participants on the phase of adolescence, discovering the problems facing the teenager, learning the arts of dealing with the adolescence, guiding the adolescent and directing them with the modern educational methods, as well as the skills of building and developing the adolescent character.
However, at the age of 26-27 years, they were no different from people who did not have depression during adolescence in unemployment status, personal income, marital status, or educational attainment, said Kiyuri Naicker of the department of epidemiology and community medicine, University of Ottawa, and her associates.
Act your age!; a cultural construction of adolescence, 2d ed.