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The transition between childhood and adulthood that begins with puberty. It involves accepting one's full-grown body, acquiring adult ways of thinking, attaining greater independence from one's family, developing more mature ways of relating to peers of both sexes and beginning to construct an identity.

Anorexia Nervosa

An eating disorder in which young people, mainly females, starve themselves because of a compulsive fear of getting fat and an extremely distorted body image.

Body Image

Conception of and attitude towards one's physical appearance.

Bulimia Nervosa

An eating disorder in which individuals, mainly females, engage in strict dieting and excessive exercise accompanied by binge eating, often followed by deliberate vomiting and purging with laxatives.

Formal Operational Stage

Piaget's highest stage, beginning around 11 years of age, in which adolescents develop the capacity for abstract, systematic, scientific thinking.

Growth Spurt

Rapid gain in height and weight that is the first outward sign of puberty.

Hypothetico-deductive reasoning

A formal operational problem-solving strategy in which adolescents begin with a hypothesis, or prediction, about variables that might affect and outcome. From the hypothesis, they deduce logical, testable inferences. They systematically isolate and combine variables to see which of those inferences are confirmed in the real world.

Imaginary Audience

Adolescents' belief that they are the focus of everyone else's attention and concern.


A womans first period.

Personal Fable

Adolescents' belief that they are special and unique. Leads them to conclude that others cannot possibly understand their thoughts and feelings and may promote a sense of invulnerability and danger.

Primary Sexual characteristics

Physical features that involve the reproductive organs (ovaries, uterus, and vagina in females; penis, scrotum, and testes in males).

Propositional Thought

A type of formal operational reasoning involving the ability to evaluate logic of propositions (verbal statements) without referring to real-world circumstances.


Biological changes at adolescence that lead to an adult-sized body and sexual maturity.

Secondary Sexual Characterisitcs

Physical features visible on the outside of the body that serve as signs of sexual maturity but do not involve the reproductive organs. For example breast development in females and the appearance of hair in males)

Secular Trend

A change from one generation to the next in an aspect of development, such as body size or pubertal timing.


Stimulate uterine lining growth; development and maintenance of female secondary sex characteristics


Support sperm formation; development and maintenance of male secondary sex characteristics.

Sexual Maturation

Girls - develop earlier, starting 9-11 years, ending at 14. Avg age in US 12. Uterus develops powerful muscles. Menarche - first period. Boys - bigger penis/testes to produce sperm. Age 11-12, avg is 13-14 in US. Voices deeper, muscle mass increases, body hair, heart becomes larger because it's a muscle and to pump more blood to the bigger body. Spermarche - when a guy can have an ejaculation. different for everyone.

Sexual Orientation

An enduring sexual attraction toward members of either one's own sex (homosexual orientation) or the other sex (heterosexual orientation).


The properties that distinguish organisms on the basis of their reproductive roles.

Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Diseases that are spread from one person to another during sexual contact.


A serious (often fatal) disease of the immune system transmitted through blood products especially by sexual contact or contaminated needles.


A sexually transmitted disease, the most common in developed countries, caused by the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis. Often producing no symptoms, it can cause infertility, chronic pain, or a tubal pregnancy if left untreated.


Common herpes-like virus, easily transmitted through direct or indirect contact with blood, urine, semen, breast milk, saliva, nasal and cervical secretions. Once contracted stays in blood can be latent. can cause seizure disorder, microcephaly, vision probs, MR/ learning disabilities.

Human Papilloma Virus

Virus transmitted by direct sexual contact that causes an infection that can occur on the skin or mucous membranes of the genital. LESIONS APPEAR AS CAULIFLOWER WARTS ON SKIN. look flat on genitals.


A sexually transmitted bacterial disease caused by a gonococcus bacterium that causes inflammation of the genital mucous membrane, burning pain when urinating, and a discharge

Herpes Simplex I/II

Cold sore, direct contant: genital herpes, sexual contact.


Sexually transmitted infection caused by a spirochete, which may involve any organ or tissue over time; usually manifests first on the skin with the appearance of small, painless red papules that erode and form bloddless urcers called chancres.


Period during which males achieve first ejaculation, no sperm in the actual ejaculation.

Substance Use/Abuse

Start and dependency on drugs and alcohol. Often appears in early adolescence and can progress over time.

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