Physical Cognitive Development of Adolescence

Topics: Puberty, Adolescence, High school Pages: 11 (2192 words) Published: May 16, 2013
Physical and Cognitive Development in Adolescence


* Stanley Hall’s “storm and stress” – turbulent time charged with conflict and mood swings * Daniel Offer – healthy self images of adolescents were displayed * Personal experience + medial portrayals = public attitudes * Acting out and boundary testing are an adolescent’s way of accepting rather than rejecting parents’ values * Life course is influenced by ethnic, cultural, gender, socioeconomic age, and lifestyle differences

Physical Changes
1. Puberty
* Period of rapid physical maturation
* Hormonal and bodily changes in early adolescence
* Ends long before adolescence does
* Signs of sexual maturation and increase in height and weight

2. Sexual maturation, height and weight
* Male pubertal changes
* Increase in penis and testicle size, straight pubic hair, minor voice change, first ejaculation (masturbation), kinky * Pubic hair, maximum growth in height and weight, armpit hair growth, detectable voice changes, facial hair growth * Female pubertal changes

* Enlarged breasts, pubic hair, armpit hair, increase in height, wider hips than shoulders, no voice change * Menarche – first menstruation (late in pubertal cycle) * May be irregular and not ovulate until after a year or two * Breasts are rounder

* Weight
* Girls overweight boys until age 14 when boys surpass them * Height
* Girls are the same height until middle school years
* Growth spurt (beginning) – girls: 9; boys: 11
* Growth spurt (peak) – girls: 11 ½; boys: 13 ½
* Increase in height – girls: 3 ½; boys: 4

3. Hormonal changes
* Hormones – powerful chemical substances secreted by the endocrine gland via bloodstream * Testosterone – development of genitals, height and a change in voice * Estradiol – breast, uterine, and skeletal development * Hormone-behavior link is complex

4. Timing and variations in puberty
* Pubertal sequences
* Boys: 10-13 ½ until 13-17
* Girls: 9-15
* Precocious puberty – very early and onset of puberty * Before 8 years (girls) and before 9 years (boys)
* 10 times more in girls
* Treated by medically suppressive gonadotropic secretions * Short stature, early sexual capability, and engaging in age-inappropriate behavior

5. Body image
* Preoccupied with bodies – especially in early adolescents (dissatisfaction) * Gender differences
* Girls: less happy and have more negative body images – body fat increases * Boys: more happy – muscle mass increases

6. Early and late maturation
* Boys
* Early: self-views are positive; successful peer relations * Late: (at 30) stronger sense of identity
* Girls
* Early: greater satisfaction with figures; more age-inappropriate behavior * Late: (10th grade) are more satisfied than early-maturing girls; taller and thinner

The Brain
* Connections that are used are strengthened while those are not are replaced by other pathways – “pruning” * Fewer, more selective effective neuronal connections
* Activities of the adolescent affects the neural connections to be strengthened or destroyed * Corpus callosum (fibers connecting the left and right hemispheres) thickens – improves ability to process information * Prefrontal cortex (highest level of frontal lobes) – ends 18-25 years of age * Amygdala (seat of emotions) matures earlier


1. Developing a sexual identity
* Learning to manage sexual feelings and skills to regulate sexual behavior to avoid undesirable consequences * Sexual identity – physical, social and cultural factors * Activities, interests, styles of behaviors, orientation * Recognition of sexual orientation (mid-late adolescence)

2. Risk factors in adolescent sexual behavior
* Still not emotionally prepared to...
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