- Abstract thinking- High level thinking ability that enables a person to think about issues, problems or situations that are hypothetical
- Endocrine glands- Glands that secrete hormones directly into the bloodstream. They include the thyroid, parathyroid and pituritary glands.
- Hormones- Chemical substances secreted into the blood by certain glands that stimulate activity in other organs.
- Puberty- The developmental period when secondary sexual characteristics develop and reproductive organs become functional.
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Physical Growth and Development in Adolescence
- A period of rapid, major physical growth and development.
- Puberty is the term used to describe the period in adolescence when physical changes to the human reproductive system leads to sexual maturity.
- This results in the reproductive organs becoming functional.
- Girls tend to begin puberty two years earlier than boys of the same age.
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The influence of hormones in adolescents
- The physical changes that occur during puberty are a result of hormones.
- Hormones are the secretions of the endocrine glands.
- As a result of increased hormone production, physical growth and development occur in the primary and secondary sexual characteristics of both males and females.
- Males and females both secrete oestrogen and testosterone as a normal part of their daily functioning.
- Males generally secrete more testosterone than females do, and vise versa.
- These differences in levels of hormone secretion largely account for differences in physical growth and development during this life stage.
- At the end of puberty, hormonal activity slows down and the rate of physical change reduces dramatically as a result.
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- During adolescence a persons ability to think in concrete ways is extended.
- The level or complexity of a persons thinking, use of language, and memory ability is significantly greater than it was during their childhood years.
- Many teenagers develop abstract thinking, this enables them to think about objects and situations that they have not directly exsperienced themselves or that are hypothetical.
- Abstract thinking improves an adolescence ability to; contemplate the future, understand the nature of human relationships, use forsight to predict possible concequences, or to empathise.
- Some theorists such as Jean Piaget, suggest that not all adolescents achieve abstract thinking as part of their intellectual development.
- Helen Bee (1994), suggest that this isnt a problem, because most people dont need to use abstract thinking in their personal or working lives.
- In addition to developing this new type of thinking ability, many young people also develop their memory capacity and find that they can apply their intellectual skills and capabilities more effectively as they progress through adolescence.
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Emotional and Social Development and Change
Emotional and Social Development:
- There are particular emotional and social challenges that do need to be tackled during adolescence.
- Coping with the physical effects of puberty and forging a sense of personal identity are two key emotional tasks in adolescence.
- The significant physical changes that adolescents experience often trigger off concerns about being normal and self image.
- The social and emotional concequences of ohysical maturation during adolescence show how these developmental processes are interwined rather than separate
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Identity in Adolescence
- Erik Erikson (1960) put forward the theory that the main social and emotional challenge, or crisis, of adolescence was based on establishing a coherent sense of self.
- He claimed that adolescents have a need to form a new sense of identity separate from that of their parents.
- Social development in adolescence is, therefore, concerned with the question, who am i?
- Relationships with parents pose a contradictory dilemma during adolescence.
- The adolescent needs to establish autonomy (freedom) from parents but also needs to maintain a sense of relatedness.
- The autonomy need can lead to conflict and arguments, while the relatedness needs leads to the maintenance of attachments.
- The challenge is to stay connected to the family whilst increasing independence and widening contact with the world beyond it.
- Managing this transition can be both confusing and disruptive for adolescents and their families.
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Friendships in Adolescence
- Relationships with friends play a very important role in social and emotional development during adolescence.
- Adolescents spend more time with their peers than with their family member and establish friendships that are emotionally closer and more stable than in childhood.
- An adolescents friendship group becomes a means of transition from family to independent, adult life.
- Through exercising their increasing opportunities and ability to choose, and to make new relationships with peers, that adolescents gradually separate from their parents.
- The independence that results from this separation has four components; Functional independence- for example, making dressing and dietary choices. Attitudinal independence- for example, developing own values and beliefs. Emotional independence- for example, finding non-parental sources of approval, intimacy, and emotional support. Conflictual independence- for example, recognising separateness from parents without feeling or provoking guilt, resentment or anger, that is, being comfortable with being different from parents.
- Achieving independence and a separate sense of identity from parents is a familiar goal for many adolescents in modern Britain.
- However in some cultures such as; South Asian, Indian, Italian, and Jewish backgrounds a sense of identity thats separate from family may be seen as negative.
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From Adulthood to Old Age
- Ageing Process- Pattern of biological change, not caused by accident or disease, that occurs over time in the structure and functioning of the human body.
- Cognitive Performance- Ability to use thinkning and memory skills.
- Dementia- Degenerative disorders of the brain that affect a persons cognitive skills, personality and emotional control and gradually reduce their ability to function independently.
- Maturity- The state of being fully developed.
- Menopause- Period of time during which a womens menstrual cycle wanes and gradually stops, usually between the ages of about 45 and 50.
- Older person- Anyone who is over the age of 65. The term is preferred to elderly, old, or pensioner, which are considered to be more negative.
- Role Strain- The pressure and diffuculties that may result from the conflicting demands of a person's different social roles.
- Social role- Expected pattern of behaviour associated with a particular social status.
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Early and Later Adulthood
- Adulthood is the life stage associated with physical and emotional maturity and social freedom.
- Its the stage in which people generally associate with independence.
- Adulthood is still however a continually changing life stage during which you experience physical, intellectual, emotional, and social development.
- Physical and intellectual attributes and capacities are maintained for much of this period, and the social and emotional patterns of your earlier life are often repeated, both in the new relationships you develop and in the long-term ones you preserve from earlier periods of your life.
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Physical Change in Adulthood and Old Age
- Life stage in which we reach physical maturity.
- As a young adult you are likely to have more muscle tissue, stronger bones, better eyesight, hearing and smell, greater oxygen capacity and more efficient immune system, than any other point in your life.
- The ageing process takes over from maturation, affecting the way you change physically as well as your cognitive and psychological functioning.
- From the middle of adulthood onwards, physical ageing is concerned with the gradual loss of function and with decline.
- One of the major physical changes experienced by women during adulthood is the onset of the menopause.
- Human vision and hearing become less acute, bones become more brittle and less porous, and people become more susceptible to chronic health problems and disability.
- The pace of physical change and the age-related decline in their physical abilities quickens between the ages of 60 and 70 and accelerates rapidly between the ages of 75 and 80 years of age.
- Changes occur in the physical structure of the brain as well as in the body
- There is a reduction in brain weight and loss of the brain's grey matter
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Physical Changes Experienced In Adulthood
- Vision- age 40-45- Thickening of the lens of the eye, leading to poorer vision and more sensitively to glare
- Hearing- age 50- Loss of ability to hear very high and very low sounds
- Muscles- age 50- Loss of muscle tissue, especially fibres used for bursts of strength and speed
- Bones- after menopause, and later for men- Loss of calcium in bones, and wear and tear on the joints
- Heart and lungs- age 35-40- Decline in most aspects of function when measured during or after exercise but not at rest.
- Reproductive system- age 35- Increased risk of reproductive problems and lowered fertility
- Skin elasticity- age 40- Increase in wrinkles due to loss of elasticity.
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Intellectual Developement in Adulthood and Old Age
- Nancy Denney (1982) developed a model of change that shows how human cognitive performance rises. then falls, over the life course as you age.
- Denney's research also showed that, in the middle years of adulthood, a persons cognitive ability can continue to develop where the intellectual tasks that they attempt are based on highly practised skills or specific learning.
- Intellectual development tends to decline around 75 years of age.
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