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Chapter: Psychology: Development


Adolescence is a time of transition during which children become adults.



Adolescence is a time of transition during which children become adults. The bound-aries of this period are not precisely specified, but in Western society today, adolescence typically is thought to span the period from puberty through the early twenties. It is important to note that the boundaries of adolescence have varied considerably across cultures and over time (Larson & Wilson, 2004). Indeed, even in our own culture, there has been an expansion of adolescence over the past century or so.


By any measure, adolescence is a time of change. Adolescence involves physical changes, including a growth spurt, the attainment of sexual maturity, and important changes in the brain. There are also cognitive changes, including a developing capacity for abstract thought, as well as socioemotional changes, including a growing sense of self, romantic attachments, and increased independence from parents and other care-givers. Let’s look at each of these types of change in turn.


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