The Past, the Present, and the Future: A Conceptual Model of Time Perspective in Adolescence

  • Zena R. Mello
  • Frank C. Worrell


In this paper, we describe a conceptual model of time perspective that is multidimensional and developmental. We argue that time perspective is a cognitive-motivational construct that has a particular salience in adolescence, with implications for schooling, work, physical condition, and risky behaviors, such as substance use and delinquency. We trace early and contemporary research on time perspective to provide a foundation for a new, multidimensional conceptualization, including meaning, orientation, relation, attitude, and frequency, all of which have implications for how adolescents think and feel about the past, the present, and the future. This discussion highlights age-related variation in time perspective dimensions with a focus on adolescents. It is argued that as individuals mature from childhood to adolescence, they develop an increased capacity for a complex time perspective, given advances in cognitive abilities and the process of identity formation. Directions for additional research and intervention considerations are also presented.


Time Relation Time Orientation Developmental Outcome Time Perspective Time Attitude 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.San Francisco State UniversitySan FranciscoCalifornia
  2. 2.University of CaliforniaBerkeleyUSA

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