Definition and characteristics of adolescence

definition of adolescence




There are many different opinions about the definition of adolescence, but in general, there are two concepts of adolescence, one common among people, and the other developed by psychologists, and psychologists have divided the stage of adolescence into many sections because this stage does not end overnight, just as Parents must also adhere to a set of rules and standards that help them support their children and keep them well at this stage.

Definition of Adolescence in Psychology


Adolescence is the stage that moves the individual from childhood to the stage of adulthood and adulthood. A group of physical and psychological changes occur in this stage. These changes can be summarized as physical, psychological, mental, and social changes, and this stage changes the girl child into a woman and the child into a man. It should be noted that the changes that occur in the individual during childhood and adulthood are very slow, while the changes that occur in the adolescence stage are very rapid. At this stage, the genitals change, the glands grow, and the voice changes, as the female voice becomes more gentle, while the male voice becomes rougher and sharper, as well as the growth of hair in some areas of the body.


Definition of common adolescence


Know that it is the most difficult stage in an individual’s life, as it is dominated by frustration, depression, headaches, and severe psychological tension. This stage is also dominated by psychological crises and the difficulty of compatibility between adolescents and those around them. This definition of adolescence was created and supported by some American studies and research conducted on fifty-four thousand adolescents, who were presented by Psychologists, and the results of the presentation indicated that they suffer from a mental disorder, with the exception of a few of them that do not exceed three percent, and then this concept spread widely among people and teachers. It should be noted that this concept causes adolescents to lose their self-confidence, so this definition is rejected by a large number of psychologists, and one of the most important critics of this definition is Margaret, who said: “Adolescence is a normal stage of growth, and as long as this growth proceeds in its natural course, the adolescent is not exposed to crises, In primitive societies that practice grazing, hunting, and a little farming; Adolescence disappears, and the individual moves from childhood to adulthood directly; After a traditional ceremony


stages of adolescence


The years of adolescence differ from one country to another, but the majority agree that the stage of adolescence begins at the age of eleven years and ends at the age of twenty-one. Accordingly, the adolescence stage was divided into three parts, namely:


  • The first stage. This stage begins at the age of eleven and ends at the age of fourteen. This stage is characterized by clear and rapid biological changes in the adolescent’s body.
  • The stage of middle adolescence, and this stage in which biological changes are completed, and this stage starts in the fourteenth year and ends at the age of eighteen of the teenage age.
  • Late adolescence stage: In this stage, the teenager becomes an adult in both behavior and appearance. This stage begins in the eighteenth year of the teenager’s life and ends in the twenty-first year of his life.

characteristics of adolescence

Physical growth and hormonal changes


Adolescence begins between the ages of 10-19 years, and this stage is characterized by rapid growth, especially physical growth with the change of hormones. where bones, muscles, brain, stature, and sexual characteristics grow, and among the characteristics of adolescence is also a feeling of exhaustion and fatigue due to hormonal changes, and an increase in body energy, which increases the need for physical activity.


social growth


At this stage, the feeling and awareness of others and social awareness increase, as does a sense of fairness, personal identity, and the desire to separate from the family, and his feelings become many and sudden,[1] as the teenager tries to develop his personal skills, explore issues related to ethnic identity, and search for peers Take part in it and experiment with different ways of speaking.


Emotional and psychological growth


In adolescence, changes occur in emotional and psychological matters. When the teenager becomes moody, he may have a lot of energy that he needs to release, and he may care about his maturity and physical development, as he believes that his personal problems, feelings, and experiences are unique, and he begins to search for his identity and independence from others.


Exposure to risks


Based on pictures of adolescent brain development, they are at this stage more vulnerable to risks; As the brain in adolescence works differently from adults during decision-making and problem-solving; Therefore, the teenager may be more impulsive, which leads to his involvement in many accidents and fights, and the teenager usually misunderstands emotions and interprets social advice, and may engage in risky matters and behaviors.


Intellectual growth


Intellectual growth is one of the most important characteristics of adolescence. Where the teenager’s thinking changes from material thinking to abstract thinking, as the teenager possesses a great intellectual pursuit and curiosity, and his achievement rises when challenged and committed, and he prefers active learning over passive or lazy learning, and he also enjoys interacting with his peers during learning, and the teenager may have the ability to self-reflection, And the ability to reach high levels of understanding the sense of humor and in a manner that may sometimes be better than that of adults


definition of adolescence


Characteristics of early adolescence


Adolescence is defined as the stage in which a person moves from childhood to adulthood, and it is characterized by cognitive growth and the acquisition of various skills, and other characteristics that appear in the adolescent according to the stage he goes through. The following are the most important characteristics of early adolescence:


physical development


Early adolescence begins between the ages of eleven and thirteen and is accompanied by many physical characteristics, which are:


  • Puberty appears on the body through the growth of hair on the body, increased secretion of fats in the skin and hair, and increased secretion of sweat.
  • Development of female and male landmarks in adolescents.
  • The onset of menstruation in girls.
  • The boys’ voices changed to hoarse.
  • Remarkably gaining height and weight.
  • Show interest in the opposite sex.


Cognitive growth


Cognitive development means the way of thinking and the interests that attract the adolescent during this period, which are:


  • Limited thinking in the future, and interest in the present.
  • Think more ethically.
  • Expansion and concern for self-interest.
  • Expansion of abstract thinking.


Social-emotional development


The emotional and social developments associated with early adolescence include the following:


  • Inner conflict regarding personal identity.
  • Increased problems with parents.
  • Increase the influence of friends. The desire for independence and privacy.
  • Mood swings.
  • Break the rules and test the resulting results.
  • Acting childish in some situations, especially when under pressure.
  • Tension and confusion about the physical changes he is going through.

The psychological aspect of early adolescence


The stage of early adolescence begins from the age of nine to thirteen, during which the adolescent suffers from psychological changes that he cannot express properly and his character differs from the previous one. His interests in previous activities and he feels the need to separate from his identity as a child, and he is honest about that because the transition from childhood to adolescence is so confusing to them that he cannot express it, but all these feelings indicate the child’s readiness to move to adolescence.


What is the stage of adolescence?


characteristics of adolescence


Physiological growth


Physiological growth means the growth of the internal organs in the body in a way that affects the external appearance of the adolescent, so the glands begin to secrete hormones that help the transition from childhood to adulthood, in addition to the emergence of primary and secondary sexual characteristics. The stomach also grows during this period, and the desire for adolescents increases. Food, the heart, and sex glands grow, the pituitary glands secrete their hormones into the blood, and thus the reproductive glands mature, so sperm production begins in the semen in males, and the ovulation process begins in females, and the menstrual cycle begins in females, with the emergence and enlargement of the chest, and the volume increases Testicles in males, as hair begins to grow on the face and in the pubic area.


organic growth


By organic growth, we mean structural growth; Such as weight gain, and height increase, in addition to changes that occur in the tissues and organs of the body, such as changes in body structure, voice, and skin color. These organic changes may be accompanied by the desire to isolate, sleep, and stay away from others. Emotional growth The psychological emotions and sensitivity of the teenager during adolescence increase in emotional growth, as well as his disorders and his inability to fit in with the environment around him. Interfering in his affairs, and belittling him, and most adolescents have low self-esteem, feel independent, and are more prone to addiction and dangerous adventures.


Psychological development


The hormonal and physical changes that occur to the adolescent have a great impact on his self-image, for example, girls may show a negative reaction due to the start of the menstrual cycle, and feel disturbed, so the adolescent’s focus increases on themselves, and he begins to pay attention to his external appearance, the way he dresses, choosing his friends, being influenced by others, and making comparisons among themselves, which sometimes leads them to imitate others and imitate them.


Mental and social development


The adolescent’s ability to pay attention increases with his desire to develop his abilities, so he begins to pay attention and focus on certain activities that he builds according to his fantasies and hopes. Loyalty and obedience to his own group, with a tendency to leadership and prominence, in addition to attempts to attract the opposite sex.


religious growth


Religious faith has a fundamental role in building the personality of the adolescent, as adolescents usually practice their worship according to the behavioral habits they acquired during childhood, and most adolescents adhere to performing religious duties when going through severe problems, but others may be affected by bad behaviors that distance them from their religion and make them question it.


adolescent behaviors


adolescent behaviors


The adolescent lives in a transitional phase in his life permeated by many obstacles and external and internal pressures, so he lives in a state of fluctuation as a result of the emergence of the side effects of the puberty process and accelerated physical growth, so many behaviors and behaviors appear that may be positive or maybe negative according to the phases and aspects of development that he goes through, the social aspect It shows the mechanism of interaction of the individual with his society through interaction with this society, so his social behaviors and responses to stimuli appear in all social situations, while the emotional aspect is generally affected by physical and emotional growth, and the most prominent behaviors and behaviors of the adolescent will be mentioned as follows:


Hostility and agitation:  the teenager is generally more hostile, irritable, and violent, in addition to his constant impulsiveness and alertness.


Emotional oscillation: As the adolescent does not prove a specific response to the same stimulus, his response to the same situation may differ at different times and periods.


Love: the teenager loves himself and tends to esteem it, as he loves to focus on himself, and is preoccupied for periods with his outward appearance, so he stands in front of the mirror for a long time.


Fear: The teenager is afraid and turns away from social situations in which he does not have sufficient experience to enable him to interact with this situation well, and he may be ashamed of his outward appearance as a result of the fluctuations and acceleration of physical growth. So that he feels that his appearance is inappropriate or that he may be subjected to ridicule from others.


Conflicts: The adolescent suffers from internal or external conflicts that appear in the form of rebellion and disobedience. Conflicts may result from his quest to refine and control himself and his need for independence, rebellion, and self-affirmation, or the conflict he is exposed to as a result of the different principles and values on which he was built up during childhood, and the actions of those around him. adults you offend.


Psychological incompatibility: The adolescent suffers at this stage from the problem of psychological incompatibility, which is reflected in his actions and behaviors, so he is inclined to introversion, despair, anxiety, sadness, and entering into bouts of depression and crying, in addition to boredom, permanent boredom, and a constant desire to sleep.


Anger: The teenager shows anger and violent reactions that may be misplaced. Stubbornness: The teenager tends to be stubborn, violate norms and laws, and constantly protest against authority.


Suffering from multiple fears: such as his fear of his parents, his fear of society, and his fear of failure, in addition to concerns related to academic achievement and the academic level. The teenager also constantly feels remorse towards any guilt or abuse of himself or those around him, so all of these fears are reflected in all of the teenager’s responses and actions…


Tendency to be independent: The teenager constantly seeks to obtain his personal independence, and he also works on his own uniqueness in building his independent personality.




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Alia Adel

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