Storm and Stress

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For my final interview, I decided to do the phase of development that has nearly been completed in my own life: adolescence. In order to get adequate detail, I chose to interview a close friend of mine who is also nineteen. We ate lunch while I briefed her on the types of questions I would be asking her. Once we had finished off the queso and chips, we headed to her apartment where the real debriefing would begin. My goal in conducting the last interview was to find genuine, honest answers to the perplexity that lies in adolescence. According to Piaget, this stage is crucial to identity formation, so I wanted to focus on the role self esteem and self concept play into shaping our development (Belsky 307). Interview & Discussion

To start with an ice breaker between friends I asked at what age she had achieved the delight that is puberty. She recalled the event occurring at age twelve. Although a century ago, this number would be shockingly below the average, Belsky reveals a dramatic decline in which girls are reaching menarche, or first menustration. In the 1800’s the average was about seventeen compared to 1960 when the average dropped to a mere twelve and a half (Belsky 241). Many factors account for individual differences in the timing of menarche. I asked her if any of the early markers applied to her. Being African American, overweight, under considerable stress around the time of maturation, or simply being raised by a single mother can all contribute to an early start (Belsky 248). Mary was only slightly below the average, but she concluded that her parents’ divorce must have been the trigger. At eleven years old they decided to split, but sometimes divorce can take years to be finalized. Coincidentally, the court hearings took place a few weeks before her first menustration. For early maturing girls life stress can trigger the onset, and sometimes that is not where the turmoil ends. Early maturing girls are at risk for developing...
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