Developmental Characteristics During Adolescence

By — Pearson Allyn Bacon Prentice Hall
Updated on Jul 20, 2010


  • Physical changes (e.g., growth spurt and skeletal and structural changes) are rapid and visually apparent
  • Considerable diversity in physical developmental rates occur due to genetics, environmental factors, and health issues
  • Distinct gender differences are evident in size, strength, and age of growth spurt (e.g., girls around age 12 and boys around age 14)
  • Health risks increase due to behavioral issues such as eating disorders, sexual experimentation, and drug use


  • Friendships form and social interactions increase, which have the potential for boosting self-esteem and reducing anxiety
  • Distinct gender differences occur in socialization patterns (e.g., females tend to have smaller numbers of close friends and males tend to have larger "social networks")
  • Allegiance and affiliation shifts from parents and teachers to friends and peers
  • Social tasks and situations are handled without adult supervision and advice
  • Self-esteem changes due to adolescents' home and school lives
  • Preoccupations with the self lead to critical self-examination and, subsequently to the formation of self-perceptions
  • Argumentative and aggressive behaviors become evident and often disturb parents and teachers


  • Higher levels of cognitive functioning (e.g., reasoning and higher-level thought processes) develop
  • Moral and ethical choices are now possible and often guide behavior
  • Developmental diversity leads to varying abilities to think and reason
  • Cognitive ability is often affected by overall socialization
  • Perspectives about past, present, and future develop that allow enhanced perspectives of time
  • Language and overall verbalization skills increase, allowing improved communication in both school and home situations
Add your own comment
DIY Worksheets
Make puzzles and printables that are educational, personal, and fun!
Matching Lists
Quickly create fun match-up worksheets using your own words.
Word Searches
Use your own word lists to create and print custom word searches.
Crossword Puzzles
Make custom crossword puzzles using your own words and clues.