What Is Adolescence Development?

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  • Written By: Brandon May
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 05 March 2019
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Adolescence development is a period generally occurring between the onset of puberty to adulthood, covering a wide aspect of stages such as self-identity, sexual development and physical bodily changes. In adolescence development, body changes occur with the distribution of fat and muscle, helping shape the body into a more adult physique. A sense of identity is also developed during adolescence, in emotional, mental and sexual aspects, often carrying over into adulthood. Self-esteem, eating behaviors and reasoning skills are also strengthened during this time, remaining fairly stable throughout the lifespan of the individual.

During adolescence development, which usually covers the time period between puberty and early adulthood, physical changes in the body. With adolescent boys, adiposity tissues generally decline and are replaced by muscle, and the upper body often takes shape to represent a more adult physique. Girls tend to also lose some adipose tissue, yet deposits of fatty tissues are placed in the breast, hips and thighs, as females generally require more fat tissue than males for proper reproductive health. Without physical activity, more fat tissue often replaces muscle tissue in both sexes during adolescence, making exercise and caloric balance important aspects of adolescent development.


Mental capabilities, such as the ability to think in more complex ways, are often developed and strengthened within this time. Risk-taking and boundary-testing are also experienced during adolescence, which further shape thinking and behavior, carrying into adulthood. A sense of identity is also strengthened during adolescence development, such as sexual identity, yet this may continue to shape over time for a small number of individuals. More often than not, most adolescents are able to understand who they are and are able to establish a stable personality by late adolescence or early adulthood.

Throughout adolescence development, experiences tend to shape future beliefs and behaviors, making it important for parents to have an open dialogue with adolescents about health, responsibility and personal choices. Self-esteem is developed through childhood and into adolescence, where interactions between family, friends and peers shape self-confidence and esteem. Eating behaviors are generally developed in adolescence, which is often carried into adulthood, making the availability of healthy foods an important factor for many youths. Since many adolescents have many more meals outside of the home during this time period, most will develop a sense of choice and responsibility in eating behavior.



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