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changes in physiology, anatomy, and physical functioning that develop a person into a mature adult biologically and prepare the body for sexual reproduction


period of the life span between the time puberty begins and the time adult status is approached, when young people are preparing to take on the roles and responsibilities of adulthood in their culture


sex hormones that have especially high levels in females from puberty onward and are mostly responsible for female primary and secondary sex characteristics


sex hormones that have especially high levels in males from puberty onward and are mostly responsible for male primary and secondary sex characteristics


the estrogen most important in pubertal development among girls


the androgen most important in pubertal development among boys

primary sex characteristics

production of eggs (ova) and sperm and the development of the sex organs

secondary sex characteristics

bodily changes of puberty not directly related to reproduction


first menstrual period


beginning of development of sperm in boys' testicles at puberty

secular trend

change in the characteristics of a population over time
-downward pattern in the age of menarche that has occurred in every Western country which records exist

puberty ritual

formal custom developed in many cultures to mark the departure from childhood and the entrance into adolescene

anorexia nervosa

eating disorder characterized by intentional self-starvation


eating disorder characterized by episodes of binge eating followed by purging


use of substance to relieve unpleasant emotional states

formal operations

Piaget's theory, cognitive stage beginning at age 11 in which people learn to think systematically about possibilities and hypothesis

hypothetical-deductive reasoning

Piaget's term for process by which the formal operational thinker systematically tests possible solutions to a problem and arrives at an answer that can be defended and explained

divided attention

ability to focus on more than one task at a time


capacity to think about thinking

adolescent egocentrism

type of egocentrism in which adolescents have difficulty distinguishing their thinking about their own thoughts from their thinking about the thoughts of others

imaginary audience

belief that others are acutely aware of and attentive to one's appearance and behavior

personal fable

belief in one's personal uniqueness, often including a sense of invulnerability to the consequences of taking risks
-"won't happen to me"

actual self

person's perception of the self as it is, contrasted with the possible self

possible self

person's conceptions of the self as it potentially may be; may include both an ideal self and feared self

ideal self

person one would like to be

feared self

person one imagines it is possible to become but dreads becoming

false self

self a person may present to others while realizing that it does not represent what he or she is actually thinking and feeling

gender-intensification hypothesis

hypothesis that psychological and behavioral difference between males and females become more pronounced at adolescence because of intensified socialization pressures to conform to culturally prescribed gender roles

preconventional reasoning

first level in Kohlberg's theory of moral development, in which moral reasoning is based on perceptions of the likelihood of external rewards and punishments

conventional reasoning

second level in Kohlberg's theory of moral development, in which moral reasoning is based on the expectations of others

postconventional reasoning

third level in Kohlberg's theory of moral development, in which moral reasoning is based on the individual's own independent judgments rather than on what others view as wrong or right


set of cultural beliefs that explain what it means to be human, how human relations should be conducted, and how human problems should be addressed


based on nonreligious beliefs and values


quality of being independent and self-sufficient, capable of thinking for one's self


degree to which two people share personal knowledge, thoughts, and feelings


small group of friends who know each other well, do things together, and form a regular social group


large, reputation-based group of adolescents


bullying via electronic means, mainly through the Internet

permissive culture

culture that encourages and expects sexual activity from their adolescents
-ex: Northern Europe

semirestrictive culture

culture that has prohibitions on premarital adolescent sex, but the prohibitions are not strongly enforced and are easily evaded
-ex: United States, Canada, most of Europe

restrictive culture

culture that places strong prohibitions on adolescent sexual activity before marriage
-ex: Asia and South America

sexual orientation

a person's tendencies of sexual attraction

coming out

for homosexuals, the process of acknowledging their homosexuality and then disclosing the truth to their friends, family, and others


fear and hatred of homosexuals

secondary school

school attended during adolescence, after primary school
-middle school and high school

rote learning

learning by memorization and repetition


an arrangement, common in Europe, in which an adolescent "novice" serves under contract to a "master" who has substantial experience in a profession, and through working under the master, learns the skills required to enter the profession

life-course-persistent delinquent (LCPD)

delinquent who shows a pattern of problems from birth onward and whose problems continue into adulthood

adolescent-limited delinquent (ALD)

delinquent who shows no evidence of problems prior to adolescence and whose delinquent behavior in adolescence is temporary

depressed mood

enduring period of sadness, without any other related symptoms of depression

major depressive disorder

clinical diagnosis that includes a range of specific symptoms such as depressed mood, appetite disturbances, sleeping disturbances, and fatigue


overcoming adverse environmental circumstances and achieving healthy development despite those circumstances

protective factors

characteristics of young people that are related to lower likelihood of problems despite experiencing high-risk circumstances
-high intelligence, physical attractiveness, parenting with effective balance of warmth and control, mentor

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