Meaning of Adolescence

What is Adolescence:

Adolescence is the period of life after childhood and before adulthood. It occurs from the first signs of puberty, between the ages of 10 and 12, until the full development of the body and the beginning of adulthood, between approximately 19 and 20 years.

Etymologically, the word comes from the Latin adolescent.

See also Puberty.

Characteristics of adolescence

In adolescence, an important transformation is experienced at various levels in the human being. The child begins to feel changes in his body and in his mind that will lead him to adulthood.

In the physical

It is a time of physical growth and hormonal changes. It grows in height, weight, body fat, and muscle. Acne appears, adult teeth are defined, and the vocal cords and voice change.

In the sexual

In addition to a change in the genitals and the appearance of hair on both the pubis and armpits and throughout the body in both sexes, boys begin to produce sperm and have their first ejaculation, and girls increase their breasts, or mammary glands, and the first menstruation or menarche appears.


The adolescent begins to know how to control his emotions, and to feel and develop the emotions that are identified with love, both as a partner and as a friend; You can choose which friends and classmates you will love, and you begin to seek to assert yourself, identify your Self, and develop your self-esteem. In addition, he begins to learn tools to achieve his individual autonomy as an adult, and continues to develop abstract and formal thinking.

Stages of adolescence

Adolescence, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), extends from 10 or 11 years, to 19 years, and is divided, fundamentally, two phases or stages:

  • Early adolescence: is the period between 10 years (girls) or 11 years (boys), and 14-15 years.
  • Late adolescence: it is the period between 14 and 15 years of age until 19 years of age.

This is followed by full youth, which is the period that extends from 19 years to 24 or 25 years of age. Some psychologists consider it part of adolescence.

Risks associated with adolescence

Adolescence is a time when people begin to expose themselves to life in a way that they were not before. Hence, about 1.7 million adolescents die each year from various causes.

In education, the adolescent begins to be more responsible for his time and his decisions. Without proper supervision, this could lead to misused free time, poor school performance, contact with drugs (tobacco, alcohol, etc.). In addition, at this stage many begin to drive cars, which brings certain risks if you are not careful enough.

In health, the adolescent begins to be exposed to acquire some eating disorders (anorexia, bulimia, malnutrition). In addition, when you start sexual activity, there is a risk of early pregnancy and contracting sexually transmitted diseases.

The social sphere, on the other hand, is very important for the adolescent to have friends, to be popular, admired and loved, etc. If this does not happen, the adolescent can fall into depression, develop suicidal tendencies and even aggressive or criminal behaviors.

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