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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/IR00002640/00001
 Material Information
Title: Adolescence: What Is It?
Physical Description: Fact Sheet
Creator: Perkins, Daniel F.
Publisher: University of Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agriculture Sciences, EDIS
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 1997
 Notes
Acquisition: Collected for University of Florida's Institutional Repository by the UFIR Self-Submittal tool. Submitted by Melanie Mercer.
Publication Status: Published
General Note: "Publication date: April 1997."
General Note: "FCS 2116"
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Source Institution: University of Florida Institutional Repository
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the submitter.
System ID: IR00002640:00001


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FCS2116 TheInstituteofFoodandAgriculturalSciencesisanequalopportunity/affirmativeactionemployerauthorizedtoprovideresearch,educational informationandotherservicesonlytoindividualsandinstitutionsthatfunctionwithoutregardtorace,color,sex,age,handicap,ornational origin.Forinformationonobtainingotherextensionpublications,contactyourcountyCooperativeExtensionServiceoffice. FloridaCooperativeExtensionService/InstituteofFoodandAgriculturalSciences/UniversityofFlorida/ChristineTaylorWaddill,DeanAdolescence:WhatisIt?1 DanielF.Perkins2Adolescentsareyoungpeoplewhostraddlethe fencebetweenchildhoodandadulthood.Theyhave onefootsecuredinchildhoodandonefootmoving intotheworldofadulthood. Itisauniqueperiodofthelifespan.Infact,no developmentalperiod,otherthaninfancy,is characterizedbysomanychanges.Complexchanges aremarkedbyveryfastgrowth.Thosechanges include: physicalgrowth; theriseofreproductivesexuality; newsocialroles; growthinthinking,feeling,andmorals; andschooltransitions. Thisisthefirstofathree-partseriesofbulletins whichexploresadolescence.Theyaredividedinto majorquestions: 1.Whatisadolescence?andWhatarethebiological changesthatoccurduringadolescence? 2.Whatarethemajorquestionsfacingadolescents? 3.Whatarethedevelopmentaltasksfacing adolescents? Theinformationinthisseriesprovidesa"road map"ofwhattoexpectfromadolescents.Usingthis roadmap,parentsandotheradultscandetermine whetheradolescentsarereachingtheirdestinations; orwhethertheyhavedetouredandneedextra supportandinterventiontogetthembackontrack. Thisseriesalsoprovidesinformationabout communication.Positiveinteractionswithyour adolescentcanenhancehisorherdevelopment. Parentsandadultswhoworkwithadolescents mustremainsensitivetoadolescents'individualneeds, becausetheydevelopatvaryingrates.WHATISADOLESCENCE?Adolescencebeginswithbiologicalmaturation (puberty),whenyoungpeoplemustaccomplish developmentaltasksanddevelopself-identity.Itends whentheyachieveself-sufficientadulthoodasdefined bysociety. Adolescencehasthreesubstages,early adolescence,middleadolescence,andlate adolescence. 1.ThisdocumentisFactSheetFCS2116,aseriesoftheDepartmentofFamily,YouthandCommunitySciences,FloridaCooperativeExtension Service,InstituteofFoodandAgriculturalSciences,UniversityofFlorida.Publicationdate:April1997. 2.DanielF.Perkins,assistantprofessor,HumanResourceDevelopment,DepartmentofFamily,YouthandCommunitySciences,Cooperative ExtensionService,InstituteofFoodandAgriculturalSciences,UniversityofFlorida,GainesvilleFL32611.AppreciationisgiventoSuzanna Smith,associateprofessor,DepartmentofFamily,YouthandCommunitySciences;MeredithC.Taylor,FamilyandConsumerScienceProgram Leader,SuwanneeCountyCooperativeExtensionSerivce,andJillianLillibridge,HumanResourceDevelopmentundergraduatefortheirreview andhelpfulfeedback.

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Adolescence:WhatisIt? Page2Inearlyadolescence,between10and14yearsof age,adolescentsaremovingfromelementaryschool tomiddleorjuniorhighschool.Middleadolescence isbetweentheages15and17andlateadolescence fromage18totheearlytwenties. Lateadolescenceseemstobeextendingfurther intotheearlytwenties.Thisisespeciallytruefor thoseadolescentswhocannotsupportthemselves financiallyafterhighschool. Here,wegroupmiddleandlateadolescents togetherandrefertothemaslateadolescents.The differencebetweenearlyandlateadolescencecanbe illustratedbycomparing11-and12-year-oldswith17and18-year-olds. Earlyadolescentsarebarelyoutofchildhood. Muchlikeyoungerchildren,theystillneedspecial nurturingandprotection.Lateadolescents,onthe otherhand,sharemanyattributesofadults. Thesetwogroupshaveverylittleincommonwith eachother,andtheirneedsandabilitiesdiffer. Parentsandotheradultswhoworkwiththemneedto beawareofthesedifferencesinordertoprovidethe supportnecessaryforhealthyadolescentdevelopment.WHATARETHEBIOLOGICALAND PHYSICALCHANGESINADOLESCENCE?Thecompletionofbiologicalandphysical developmentassociatedwithadolescenceseemsto occurearliernowthaninthepasttwoyears earlierthanintheyearof1900. Puberty,whichsignalsofthebeginningof adolescence,isadevelopmentalprocesswhichtakes abouttwotofouryearstocomplete. Pubertyusuallybeginstwoyearsearlierforgirls thanforboys;and,girlsaregenerallytallerthanboys theirageuntilaroundagefourteenwhenboysare generallytaller. Theeventsmostcloselyassociatedwithpuberty, menstruationingirlsandejaculationinboys,actually occurapproximatelymidwayinthedevelopmental process.Girlsaregenerally12tyearsoldatthe onsetofmenstruation(menarche).Boysareon average13yearsofageatfirstejaculation.Itis importanttorememberthatagescanvary. Sexualdimorphismthephysicaldifferences betweenmenandwomensuchasheight,weight,body proportionsandreproductivesystemsoccurs duringpuberty. Sexhormonesincrease,specificallyestrogens increaseingirlsandandrogensincreaseinboys.Due tohigherlevelsofandrogensintheirsystem,boys generallysuffermoreacneandodorproblemsthan girls.Atapproximatelyage15forgirlsandages16 to17forboys,hormoneproductionlevelsoff. Earlyadolescentgirls(10-to14-years-old) experience: onsetofmenstruationonaverageatage12t agrowthspurtofapproximately8to10 inches weightgainandanincreaseinmuscular development changeofbodyportionschangehips widen developmentofbreastbudsandpubichair Middleadolescentgirls(14-to17-years-old) experience: fullexpressionofsecondaryphysical characteristics fulldevelopmentofbreasts developmentofsweatglandsandoilglands (acneorodors) Earlyandmiddleadolescentboys(12-to16years-old)experience: agrowthspurtofapproximately12to13 inches weightgainandanincreaseinmuscular development changesinbodyproportionsshoulders broaden developmentofpubichair

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Adolescence:WhatisIt? Page3 Middleadolescentandlateadolescentboys(16to20-years-old)experience: fullexpressionofsecondarycharacteristics developmentoffacialhair developmentofsweatglandsandoilglands (acneorodors)CONCLUSIONAdolescenceisacomplexperiodinthelifespan markedbyamultitudeofchanges.Thesechanges makeadolescenceanexciting,aswellasawkward, timeinone'slife.Adolescentsoftenareeasily embarrassedandmaybeuncomfortablewithchildish routines,suchaskissingparentsgoodnight.As parentsandadultswhointeractwithadolescents,itis importanttoknowaboutthenormalchangesand behaviorsofadolescents.Awarenessofthesefacts, enablesparentsandadultstosupportthembetter. Whileadolescentsmaylooklikeadults,weknow thattheyarenot.Theyneedtimeandopportunities tounderstandthemselves,theirnewbodies,newroles, andnewrelationships. Parentsandadultsneedtoexpectambiguity, searchinganduncertaintywheninteractingwith adolescents.Theyneedtospendtimewith adolescentsand,atthesametime,respecttheir privacy.Throughexampleandguidance,parentsand adultscanhaveapositiveimpactonthelivesof adolescents. Thefirstbulletinofthisthreepartserieshasonly beguntoshowthecomplexityofthechangesthat confrontindividualsbeginningtheirseconddecadeof life.Thenexttwobulletinswillprovidemore informationabouttheintellectualandemotional changesthatoccurinadolescence.RESOURCESVernon,A.&Al-Mabuk,R.H.(1995). Whatgrowing upisallabout:Aparent'sguidetochildand adolescentdevelopment .Champaign,IL:Research Press. Lerner,R.M.,&Galambos,N.L.(Eds.)(1984). Experiencingadolescents:Asourcebookforparents teachers,andteens .NewYork:TeachersCollege.REFERENCESCarnegieCouncilonAdolescentDevelopment(1995). Greattransitions:Preparingadolescentsforanew century.NewYork:CarnegieCorporation. Cobb,N.J.(1994). Adolescence:Continuity,change, anddiversity .MountainView,CA:Mayfield Publishing. Hamburg,B.(1974).Earlyadolescence:Aspecific andstressfulstageofthelifecycle.InG.Coehol, D.A.Hamburg,&J.E.Adams(Eds.), Coping andadaptation (pp.101-125).NewYork:Basic Books. Lerner,R.M.(1995). America'syouthincrisis: Challengesandoptionsforprogramsandpolicies ThousandOak,CA:Sage. Petersen,A.C.(1987).Thenatureofbiologicalpsychologicalinteraction:Thesamplecaseof earlyadolescence.InR.M.Lerner&T.T.Foch (Eds.), Biological-psychosocialinteractionsinearly adolescence:Alife-spanperspective (pp.35-62). Hillsdale,NJ:Erlbaum. Simmons,R.G.,&Blyth,D.A.(1987). Movinginto adolescence:Theimpactofpubertalchangeand schoolcontext.NewYork:AldineDeGruyter.