(redirected from teen)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Acronyms, Wikipedia.
Related to teen: Bing, TWEN


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 ?
Establishing a safe space for a teen after trauma is crucial to the healing process.
* Two-thirds (67 percent) of parents think they were safe drivers when they were teens - mirroring the number of parents who think their teen is safe.
One in five teens say they have been harassed online because of their political views, according to the second annual Keeping Up with Generation App: NCSA Parent/Teen Online Safety Survey.
According to EverQuote's 2017 Family Safe Driving Report, 23% of teens don't believe their parents driving habits set a good example for them to follow, and another 23% of teens are unsure.
National Teen Driver Safety Week: October 16-22, 2016.
"I want to continue my education to provide a better future for my son and to serve as an example to other teen moms."
Typically, teen mothers and fathers are limited in their educational attainment and are more restricted in their employment opportunities (Sipsma, Biello, Cole-Lewis, & Kershaw, 2010).
CSLP plans to continue the Teen Video Challenge for 2014.
Spending by Egyptian teens is way below Mena or even global averages The Egyptian teen spends one fourth ($7) of that of a global teen, while the Saudi Arabia teen is comfortable spending $56 in a week.
The researchers, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reviewed National Vital Statistics System data from 1991 to 2009 on teen birth rates, as well as National Youth Risk Behavior Survey data on sexual activity and contraceptive use.
AMRB worked with US-based TRU, a leader in teen research.