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Adolescence is a Period of Storm and Stress - Essay Example

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Adolescence is a Period of Storm and Stress

Each transition period is characterised by milestones that promotes growth and maturity. The changing process doesn’t stop in the adulthood change though as development in other aspects such as psychological and social aspects can still progress. The adolescence period is vital among these changes as it is intermediary to childhood and adulthood. It poses great challenges to the metamorphosing individual as independence becomes interesting and the path towards it is resolutely sought. There is actually no standard definition of adolescence. Although it is often captured as an age range, usually from 10 to 18 years old, chronological age is but one way of defining adolescence (Gentry and Campbell 2002). Physical, social and cognitive development can also form the basis of adolescence. The needs and capabilities of a child turning into an adolescent drastically change. And this transition process has been the basis of adolescence being known as the period of “storm and stress”, a perspective introduced by Hall (1904) and supported by the psychoanalytic tradition (Freud 1958) and Erikson’s (1968) description of adolescence as a period of identity crisis which popularised in the 20th century (de Beeck 2010). The “storm and stress” perception of adolescence defines it as a turbulent process, accompanied by negative moods and a problematic relationship with parents, and risky behavior, including delinquency (de Beeck 2010). However it has to be noted that this viewpoint was minimised when more empirical data disproved it in the 1980s. Nevertheless, it can’t be denied that both adolescents and our society face challenges in this developmental stage and thus appropriate education and actions on developmental management must be addressed. This paper aims to discuss the various aspects of changes recognised during the adolescence period, define the posing challenges and, discuss and propose positive approaches that can manage and direct the “storm and stress” stage into a pleasant life stage experience. The Developmental Changes Biological and Emotional Changes A growth spurt involving radical changes occurs in the physical anatomy of an adolescent as it matures in size and form. The cause of this is the high secretion of gonadal steroid hormones such as the testosterone and oestrogens, in the reproductive organ (Sisk and Zehr 2005). The developing body experiences anatomical changes contributory to the reproductive process, of which the emergence of secondary sexual characteristics, such as breast development and growth of facial hairs, is mostly observed (Adolescence and Adulthood 2005). The pace of development however is very varied across individuals. And this impacts the psychological state of the adolescent in his sense of self and relations to others thereby making adolescence a delicate stage (Adolescence and Adulthood 2005). The behavioural changes in adolescents that affect their emotional state is explained by the late maturation of the prefrontal cortex (PFC) – the brain part responsible for the regulation of emotions, planning, reasoning and self-control (de Beeck 2002). And so drastic changes occur in the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin, hormones responsible for stimulating emotions in the limbic system of the brain. These changes cause the adolescents to have the tendency to be more stressful and less susceptible for rewards (de Beeck 2002). These are the internal changes occurring among adolescents, where we can only observe the results which are common emotional outbursts and shifts. Cognitive Changes The memory and problem ...Show more


Change is a continuous process that occurs in every human being. There are several categories we can define each developmental stage however it can be generalised from a life developmental perspective as periods of childhood, adolescence and adulthood. …
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Adolescence is a Period of Storm and Stress essay example
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