Adolescence is a time of major transition that bridges the gap between childhood and adulthood. This developmental stage is marked by significant biosocial, cognitive and psychosocial development that can make the teenage years incredibly that can make the teenage years incredibly challenging.
This presentation categorize these developmental stages as relevant to parents, healthcare providers and teachers. Adolescence is divided into three periods; early (ages 12-14), middle (ages 15-17) and late (ages 18-21). Some teens will develop faster in one task than others. Some go through the stages smoothly while others do so with lots of turmoil. Of course, no one goes through adolescence exactly as the model may suggest.
Nutritional requirements during adolescence include a need for additional calories and about 50% more calcium, iron, and zinc than prior to the growth spurt. During puberty, oil, sweat, and odor glands become more active, producing acne in approximately 90% of boys and 80% of girls and a need for deodorant in most. A daughter’s age of menarche ( first menstrual period) correlates with her mother’s age of menarche.
Because of menstruation, adolescent females also need additional iron in their diets and are more likely to suffer from iron-deficiency anemia. Internal organs grow, including the lungs, which triple in weight, and the heart, which doubles in size and slows in rate. These changes give the adolescent increased physical endurance.
The lymphoid system, including the tonsils and adenoids, decrease in size, making teenagers < susceptible than children to respiratory ailments. Most experts agree that it is less traumatic if one goes through puberty at about the time as one’s closest friends.
Between ages of 10 & 14, the average girl gains about 38 lbs. & grows 9 5/8 inches. Typical boy gains about 42 lbs. and grows 10 inches between ages 12 & 16. Growth spurt proceeds from extremities to trunk, making adolescents temporarily big footed, long-legged, & short-waisted.
As they mature, they become increasingly dissatisfied with their bodies, especially the girls, some develop anorexia or bulemia. Menarche is also related to body weight with most girls having their first menarche about the time they reach 100 lbs. Stocky children tend to experience puberty earlier than those with taller, thinner builds. Average age of puberty onset varies among nations & ethnic groups.
The early adolescent begins to question authority and society standards. The early adolescent begins to form and verbalize his or her own thoughts and views on a variety of topics, usually more related to his or her own life, such as: What parental rules should be changed, personal hygiene, cloths and dressing should be changed. The middle adolescent thinks about and begins to form his or her own code of ethics (for example, What do I think is right?). The middle adolescent thinks about different possibilities and begins to develop own identity (for example, Who am I?).
The middle adolescent thinks about and begins to systematically consider possible future goals (for example, What do I want?). The late adolescent begins to focus thinking on making career decisions. The late adolescent begins to focus thinking on emerging role in adult society.
Has some experience in using more complex thinking processes with expansion in thinking to include more philosophical and futuristic concerns. Invincibility fable – immune to common dangers. Imaginary audience — fantasy about how others will react to their appearance & behavior The late adolescent may debate and develop intolerance of opposing views. Healthy environments and good nutrition are important for brain growth and development at this stage of development.
The early adolescent begins to demonstrate use of formal logical operations in schoolwork. The early adolescent begins to question authority and society standards. The early adolescent begins to form and verbalize his or her own thoughts and views on a variety of topics, usually more related to his or her own life, such as: Which sports are better to play, Which groups are better to be included in, What personal appearances are desirable or attractive.
The middle adolescent often questions and analyzes more extensively. The middle adolescent thinks about and begins to make his or her own plans. The middle adolescent begins to think long-term. The middle adolescent’s use of systematic thinking begins to influence relationships with others. The late adolescent has increased thoughts about more global concepts such as justice, history, politics, and patriotism.
Early adolescents begin to pull away from their parents and show less interest in family activities. Early adolescents are often moody, alternating between being pleasant and nasty toward their families. Early adolescents are mainly antagonistic towards the most ‘controlling“ parents. The parent-adolescent interaction is more on an adult-adult level. At middle adolescents, taking care of issues such as acne or unwanted hair (e.g., eyebrows) becomes paramount. Weightlifting and dieting become important as well. Middle adolescents may share intense personal relationships with the group.
Being ‘normal’ is a huge concern to early adolescents and leads to constant comparisons to others. The limited ability to think abstractly makes it hard for a teen to see another’s point of view and also makes compromise difficult. Lack of abstract thinking also encourages feelings of invulnerability. The values and morals of the early adolescent are those of the parents. As they attempt to pull away from the family and move closer to peers, teens’ values mirror those of their friends.
Usually by the end of adolescence, the teens’ morals and values come back in line with those of their family.
Gender is more than biological but it comes a lot from the socialization of adolescents are expected to fulfill. Though many exciting changes occur during this period, teens also face several risk factors, such as depression, suicide, and drugs. Teens experience growth in their relationships, not only with their parents and peers but also with romantic partners. Healthcare providers/ physician should take into account this move toward independence and help parents appropriately give the teen responsibility for medical care.
Failing to recognize this move towards independence makes the physician prone to appearing as an ‘agent of the parent’ and may make it more difficult to gain the confidence of the teen.
Most early adolescents are not sure what to think of the changes in their body and accompanying hygienic responsibilities. Body odor, axillary hair, acne and menstrual cramps are not exactly thrilling. With the gain in confidence comes increased interest in the opposite sex as a result of hormonal changes production. This is often the onset of dating and the development of skills and behaviors related to sexual relationships. By late adolescence, teens are comfortable with the changes in their body. Pelvic exams or hernia checks are not as stressful.
Many adolescents are now ready to deal with issues such as birth control. Sexual relationships become less exploring and exploitative and more loving and sharing. A useful strategy for providers is to ask about the risk behaviors of the teen’s friends, since teens are often more comfortable sharing information about friends than about themselves. This enables the physician to explore the adolescent’s feelings and knowledge of risk behaviors. Teens believe that nothing bad will happen to them no matter what. They trust that they can have sex, use drugs, smoke, or drive recklessly without consequence.
Usually, the teen is mainly antagonistic towards the most ‘controlling’ teachers, peers and authorities. Early adolescents crave privacy and desire to control their personal information as they carve out a life separate from that of their parents. Adolescents become aware of their physical development and the fact that it portends adulthood.
Middle adolescents are more at ease with the changes and want to make the most of their ‘new’ body. Clothing, jewelry and makeup become big with this group. Peers become extremely important during adolescence as they pull away from their family and relates more outside with their peers.
Early adolescents are not strong enough to stand on their own and they turn to their peers for guidance and support. By mid-adolescence, the peer group exerts a huge influence over the teen. By late adolescence, peer groups do not demand the same level of conformity. It is all right to attend a party and not drink when others are drinking. Individuality is more acceptable. Identity development includes the emergence of abstract reasoning along with personal values and morals.
- Biosocial Development in Adolescence. (n.d.). Retrieved July 19, 2019, from Liberty University – Course Apps website: https://www.liberty.edu/courseapps/book/psychology- 201/module-5/section-1-title/introduction/
- Adolescence: Biosocial Development. (n.d.). 9. https://www.austincc.edu/dgran/Adolescence.pdf
- Stanford Children’s Health. (n.d.). Retrieved July 19, 2019, from https://www.stanfordchildrens.org/en/topic/default?id=cognitive-development-90-P01594
- Psychosocial Development. (n.d.). Retrieved July 19, 2019, from https://www.utmb.edu/pedi_ed/CoreV2/Adolescent/Adolescent5.html