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The Developing Adolescent

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Developmental theories are a group of ideas, assumptions, and generalizations that interpret and illuminate the thousands of observations that have been made about human growth. In this way, developmental theories provide a framework for explaining the patterns and problems of development (Berger, 2008 p33). Adolescence represents one of the most critical developmental periods in life. It is a time of profound changes on all levels. The importance of both family and peers during these years is also discussed. The relationship between adolescent and his or her family are very important in the adolescent's ability to develop through these years.

One of the earliest theorists to shed light on adolescent development was Erik Erikson.

He developed a psychosocial model of developmental stages that apply from infancy to retirement. Erikson spent a great deal of time on the fifth stage of adolescence because this is the time when the individual develops an identity and it is a time when the individual faces difficult identity crises. Erikson explained each stage in life is both "psycho" and "social." The psycho part has to do with this stage's foundation previous stages and the fact that it is both a self-conscious phase and an unconscious phase. This stage of development, therefore, depends to some degree on psychobiological factors that bring the individual to a coherent sense of self. The past gives the adolescent the strong identifications made during childhood but at the same time, the individual is searching the present for new models on which to base their adulthood (Erikson, 1975). During this period, teens have to cope with changes in their bodies and conforming to higher social expectations from adults and superiors. Adolescen...

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... (1994). Child and adolescent depression: covariation and comorbidity in development. in Haggerty, R.J., Garmezy, N., Rutter, M. and Sherrod, L. (eds). 1994. Risk and Resilience in Children: Developmental Approaches. New York: Cambridge University Press, pp. 225-67.

Erikson, E.H.(1975). Life History And The Historical Moment. New York: Norton.

Rutter, M. (1986). The developmental psychopathology of depression: issues and perspectives. In Rutter, M., Izard, C.E. and Read, P.B. (eds). Depression in Young People: Developmental and Clinical Perspectives, New York: Guilford, pp. 3-30.

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