Lifespan Development and Personality Paper

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Lifespan Development and Personality Paper

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 the seriousness of this health threat. Eating disorders have also increased dramatically among adolescents, majority in females. Anorexia nervosa as stated in the Webster dictionary is a voluntary weight loss of at least twenty-five percent of body weight. The dramatic change in thinness may lead to other health problems such as cessation of menstruation. Another popular eating disorder is bulimia. Bulimia, as stated in the Webster dictionary, is an eating disorder characterized by binges, purges with laxatives, and self-induced vomiting. Some people have alternating patterns of the two problems. A prolonged period of either eating disorder can result in serious health problems or in severe cases death. In today’s society more and more adolescence feel the pressure to be perfect, to be thin. Anorexia and bulimia is the leading types of disorders that adolescences face. Suicides and attempted suicides have also increased among adolescents at an alarming rate in recent decades. Research findings suggest that the suicidal adolescent has usually had, since childhood, a history of stress and personal problems. Attempts to resolve these problems such as running away from home or an increasing social isolation, withdrawal and acting out, may precipitate an attempted suicide. Early professional help is often needed to prevent this drastic action. Sadly, when the signs are clear it is usually too late. Cognitive development, as defined in the Webster dictionary, states that cognitive development is a time when the development of the ability to think and reason is being learned. Adolescence marks the beginning development of more complex thinking processes. This is also known as formal logical operations. These logical operations include but not limited to abstract thinking (thinking about possibilities), the ability to reason from known principles (form own new ideas or questions), the ability to consider many points of view according to varying criteria...
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