Adolescence is a period of time in an individual’s life when they undergo the transition from childhood to adulthood. During this time there are a number of changes that occur within a person which can characterise the remainder of their life. Throughout history many intellectuals have made attempts to gain a better understanding of this time and a plethora of different theories on the subject now exist. The thread that binds them is the idea that adolescence is a time of significant ‘storm and stress’, fraught with hardships which are necessary to develop the skills one needs for life. Before describing these theories it is important to understand the definitions of the word ‘adolescence’ as well as gaining an insight into the intellectual origins of the study of adolescence and the notion of ‘storm and stress’.
Adolescence is derived from the Latin word adolescere which means ‘to grow in maturity.’’ Zastrow & Kirst-Ashman (2010) Boyd & Bee (2008) define adolescence as a ‘transitional period between childhood and adulthood’. Through both of these definitions it is clear that adolescence is a time of transition and thus this is a naturally fertile ground for an individual to endure stress.
Adolescence is a short period of time in which an individual has to develop, mentally, physically and socially; childhood is but a memory and adulthood is in front, this itself causes individuals stress as they set out to explore their capabilities and at the same time discovering their inner selves. When individuals start to experience problems at this stage, the period of ‘storm and stress’, then makes its way into their lives as a coping mechanism. This stage in Erikson’s psychosocial theory is called the ‘identity versus role confusion’.
Erikson (1969) was a neo-Freudian theorist who looked at the interaction between internal drives and cultural demands......