Adolescence, the transitional stage of development between childhood and adulthood, represents the period of time during which a person experiences a variety of biological changes and encounters a number of emotional issues. The ages which are considered to be part of adolescence vary by culture, and ranges from preteens to nineteen years. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), adolescence covers the period of life between 10 and 20 years of age.
Adolescence is a specifically turbulent as well as a dynamic period of any person's life. Adolescence psychology addresses the issues associated with adolescence. A number of associations of the psychologists across the world now recognize this phenomenon and requirement of a separate class of specialized psychologists to deal with the issues of the adolescence. The American Psychological Association has a special division to assist them.
Psychological issues of adolescents may include:
Maturity in body leads to an interest in sexual activities, sometimes leading to teenage pregnancy.
Tendency and possibility of drug and alcohol use.
In some cases mental problems such as schizophrenia, eating disorders and depression.
The emotional instability among some adolescents also sometimes causes youth crime.
Searching for a unique identity is one of the problems that adolescents often face. At this age, role models such as sports players, rock stars and movie and television performers are very popular, and adolescents often express a desire to be like their chosen role model.
Relationships with Peers
- "90% of adolescent identify themselves with a peer group" (Palmonari, 1989)
- If peers give emotional support, adolescents in a peer group are less likely to be depressed or have anxiety. Depressed individuals may find it difficult to make friends (Buhrmester, 1992)
- Conformity peaks at 11-13 yrs (Costanzo and Shaw 1966)
- Studied behavior and the influence of peers, results note that pro-social behavior occurs when encouraged. Peaks at 11-12 years or possibly anti-social 14-15 years (Bendt, 1979)
- Group socialism: "we are shaped more by our peers than our parents as we often see identical twins who behave differently" (Harris 1997)