Adolescence, also known as "teenage years" is a time of dramatic change. This phase of life marks a developmental period that follows childhood and comes before adulthood. Adolescence is closely associated with puberty, which is also considered as a developmental milestone, particularly in the western countries. Puberty refers to the period of adolescence when a person becomes capable of reproduction (Carpenter, S. & Huffman, K., 2008). In this paper, I will discuss the various factors that affect the physical, cognitive, social, moral, and personality development of adolescents.
Adolescence is a time of rapid physical growth which is illustrated by the drastic growth spurt in the height, weight and skeletal muscles. In this phase, rapid development of tests, scrotim and penis develops in adolescent boys whereas development of ovaries, uterus, and vagina occurs in adolescent girls. I believe some of the factors that lead to this rapid physical development can be held responsible to both hereditary and environmental influences. Hereditary influences are also referred to as "inherited" qualities which are passed on from the parents to the offspring. Therefore, these are also known as "nature" influences. On the contrary, environmental influences are those experiences that one gets from their surrounding environment as one grows and matures. Such influences are also referred to as "nurture". Genetics play an important role in the physical development of an adolescent. For instance, if the parents of a child are extremely hairy, then there is a high probability that the child will also become hairy earlier in life. Also, if both the parents are tall, then there is a high probability that the child will also become taller in their puberty years. Moreover, environment also plays a major role in one's physical development. Environment encompasses family surroundings, media influences, culture and so on. For instance, one of the Asian countries requires girls to wear metal bands around their necks from early age so that when they get into the puberty years, they can develop long and slender necks. This is so because it is considered beautiful in their culture for girls to have long and slender necks; it is a part of their culture. In addition, environmental and cultural factors such as television, internet, and media amongst others can play a major role to influence development in adolescence.
Adolescence is also a time of changes occurring in the development of cognition. Piaget developed a theory of cognitive development which emphasize on the four stages that children must go through. The four stages of Piaget's stages of cognitive development are as follows: sensorimotor, preoperational, concrete operational, and formal operational stage. Since the focus of this paper is adolescence, I would discuss the formal operational stage in depth as it is developed in ages of 11 and up. Formal Operational stage can be characterized by abstract thinking, logical thought and hypothetical reasoning. In Piaget's Formal operational stage, the children acquire the ability to think abstractly and hypothetically. In other words, children can ask themselves "what if" type of hypothetical questions, which further illustrates their ability to create and test concepts. In addition, Formal operational thinking also allows the adolescent to construct a well-reasoned argument based on hypothetical concepts and logical processes (Carpenter & Huffman, 2008). In addition to attaining the ability to think abstractly, children in this phase have very egocentric way of thinking. In other words, they cannot differentiate between what they are thinking and what others are thinking. This egocentric thought may be characterized into two ways: personal fable and imaginative audience. The factors that influence cognitive development in adolescents can be held responsible to both genetics and environmental influences. In terms of hereditary influences, if...
References: arpenter, S. & Huffman, K. (2008). Visualizing Psychology. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
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