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Adolescent Development

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An Introduction to Developmentalism

Although I’m only fourteen, I know quite well what I want, I know who is right and who is wrong, I have my opinions, my own ideas and principles, and although it may sound pretty crazy from an adolescent, I feel more of a person than a child. – Anne Frank, 1944

Over the last 125 years, developmentalismhas become a key concept in child and youth studies. The biopsychological model of development has become a widely accepted truth; part and parcel of the way we speak about, understand, and study children and youth. Development is understood as a universal acontextual trajectory; all young people undergo a similar pattern or stages of development. In those stages, the child is held in contrast to the adult; something “other.” Young people are assumed to be underdeveloped; on their way to becoming adult. Evidence of these ideas, in our society and in our science, is plentiful. The word childish itself is associated with a host of negative traits like...

Keywords

  • Youth development
  • Adolescent development
  • Developmentalism
  • Adultism
  • Decolonization
  • Youth work

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Notes

  1. 1.

    I use the term adolescent development intentionally and in place of the phrase “youth development.” Adolescent was chosen here to signify the connection to G. Stanley Hall and his Theory of Recapitulation. While often used interchangeably, there are growing divisions over the terms, “youth” and “adolescent,” with youth, youth studies and at times, youth development, being more generally used amongst social constructionists and adolescent and adolescent development being utilized more often by those adhering to a biopsychological frame of analysis.

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Correspondence to Katie Johnston-Goodstar .

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Johnston-Goodstar, K. (2022). Adolescent Development. In: Lester, J.N., O'Reilly, M. (eds) The Palgrave Encyclopedia of Critical Perspectives on Mental Health. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-12852-4_16-1

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-12852-4_16-1

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