There are many factors that affect the physical, cognitive, social, moral, and personality development in an adolescent. Adolescence, as defined in the Webster dictionary, is the transition period from childhood to adulthood. It is a period that can bring various and drastic physical, social, and emotional changes. Adolescence begins with the onset of puberty and extends to adulthood. This usually occurs during the ages between twelve and twenty years old. Puberty, as defined in the Webster dictionary, is the period during which the reproductive system matures. This is a process characterized by a marked increase in sex hormones.
Adolescence is a time of tremendous growth and potential, but it is also a time of considerable risk. Most people would argue that being an adolescent today is a different experience from what it was even a few decades ago. Both the perceptions of this change and the change itself attest to the powerful influence of social contexts on adolescent development. Many of the thirty-four million adolescents in the United States are confronting pressures to use alcohol, cigarettes, or other drugs and to initiate sexual relationships at earlier ages. This makes themselves at high risk for intentional and unintentional injuries, unintended pregnancies, and infection from sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Many experience a wide range of painful and debilitating mental health problems as well.
Substance abuse is a major health threat. Legal and illegal substances available to adolescents include tobacco, caffeine, alcohol, glue, paint vapors, and pills to name a few. In a survey done in the beginning of the new millennium, it was found that thirty percent of adolescents reported using illicit drugs. These illicit drugs include drugs such as amphetamine and cocaine. The spread of AIDS infections by use of dirty needles increased... [continues]
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