Research Paper on Adolescent Development

Nowadays a tendency exists to see the adolescents as an age group with the same cognitive, mental and physical features. This approach is totally inaccurate, as through the adolescence several stages exist which are eliminated on the basis of age. The measure of both mental and physical development differs a lot on every stage. It’s of vital importance for the school nurse to learn the differences between these age groups to make her labor more productive, as the members of these groups also have specific features in their health behavior.

Erica Monasterio, the author of the chapter about the adolescent behavior in the Fundamental Skills for Case Managers Study Guide (2003), states that there are three stages of development in the adolescence. Those are early adolescence (11-14 Years), middle adolescence (14-17 Years) and late adolescence (17-20 Years). The physical development reaches its peak velocity in the early adolescence while the development of the cognitive abilities continues through all the adolescence period.

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The final consolidation of identity happens only in the late adolescent years, more only than the person defines with his/her gender role, body image and the level of self esteem. Barbara Huberman says in her article (2002) located on the Media Project Website emphasizes that the middle adolescence period is that when most troubles in the parent-children relationship occur, as the teenager lacking independence and control over his/her own life begins to act according to his own apprehension of the world, causing numerous problems to parents. The physical, economical and psychological separation from parents is completed only in the late teens, when the parents get used to the thought that their offspring is not a child anymore, and the young person learns to take responsibility for his/her decisions. On the contrary, the development of the sexual aspects of life is the most rapid in middle teens, because that is when the person makes the decision about his/her hetero- or homosexuality, establishes tentative relationships, and experiences love for the first time.

The changes in social structure of the societies all over the world made a significant impact on the adolescent behavior. Today people talk about the changes that happen to the teenagers much more freely, that’s why the adolescents don’t feel themselves somehow “guilty” for the unusual feelings and thoughts they begin to have. The distance between the children and grown ups became much less through the past few decades, so that the young people are much less afraid to talk over their problems with their parents and other grown-ups who might turn helpful.

The measure of individualization of the society has raised significantly both in USA and Europe, so that now the adolescent feel they are in much more control of their life in general and their body in particular. That led to the numerous experiments with narcotic substances, alcohol, and, of course, sexual relationship. The moral values and principles have changed greatly through the past fifty years, so that now sex is often considered to be the normal part of contemporary teenagers’ life.

As in the adolescence people try to gather as much experience as possible and many of them neglect the public opinion, the health behavior of the members of these groups is often improper. Teenagers often use drugs and alcohol just “to try” it and to see what effect it can make. What is also important, a great amount of teenagers pay little attention to their health, being guided by a statement “I’m ok as long as I’m able to walk.” Sexual relationship is also one of the greatest risk factors due to the sexually transmitted diseases and extemporaneous pregnancy.

As we can note, adolescence is divided into the three periods each of what has its specific characteristics. Adolescent people attitude to health is often careless and they need guidance to help them keep it.

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