Adolescence and adulthood

  • Tony Malim
  • Ann Birch


Sometime after the age of 10, humans mature sexually and become capable of reproducing. The period of time during which the reproductive processes mature is known as puberty. Although the most obvious signs of development during puberty are physical, changes also occur in cognitive functioning, social interactions, emotions and the sense of self. Adolescence is a longer period of time, and is generally defined as the period from the onset of puberty up to adulthood.


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Further reading

  1. Bryant, P.E. and Colman, A.M. (eds) (1995). Developmental Psychology. Harlow: Longman. J.C. Coleman in Chapter 4 gives a very good overview of psychoanalytic and sociological theories in relation to adolescence, as well as presenting up-to-date research evidence. The chapter also considers cognition in adolescence and relationships with adults. Chapter 5, written by J.C. Cavanaugh, considers a range of cognitive, social and personality issues in relation to ageing.Google Scholar
  2. Durkin, K. (1995). Developmental Social Psychology: From Infancy to Old Age. Oxford: Blackwell. Chapters 18 and 19 consider theories and research into young, middle and late adulthood.Google Scholar
  3. Turner, J.S. and Helms, D.R. (1995). Lifespan Development, 5th edn. Orlando, FL: Harcourt Brace. An interesting and comprehensive account of theory and research into development through the lifespan. The chapters on adulthood are particularly useful and consider a number of critical life events such as marriage, parenting and divorce.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Tony Malim and Ann Birch 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tony Malim
  • Ann Birch

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