Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 14, Issue 4, pp 355–372 | Cite as

Adolescent maturational changes and psychosocial development: A dynamic interactional perspective

  • Richard M. Lerner
Article

Abstract

Models of reciprocal biological-psychosocial relations may be quite usefully studied in adolescence. This period of life represents a “natural laboratory” for assessing these relations, and may be an ideal “sample case” illustrating their role in life-span development. In this article a dynamic interactional model of these relations is described and evaluated. This model stresses that on the basis of his or her characteristics of individuality (e.g., bodily characteristics that result from his/her maturational status), an adolescent will evoke differential reactions in his/her socializing others; these reactions will feed back to the adolescent and influence his/her further development. The nature of the feedback (e.g., its positive or negative valence) will depend on the goodness of fit between the adolescent's individual characteristics and the “demands” (e.g., the preferences, expectations, values, or behaviors) of significant others (e.g., parents, peers, teachers). The model is evaluated in regard to its use in understanding data pertinent to the role of characteristics of physical individuality in adolescent development. Conclusions pertain to the importance of studying the processes by which adolescents, and particularly early adolescents, attain good fits with their contexts.

Keywords

Health Psychology Individual Characteristic School Psychology Interactional Model Early Adolescent 

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  • Richard M. Lerner

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