An introduction to adolescence

Originating from the Latin term “Adolescence” which means to grow up, the individuals undergoes physical and mental development. Such a transition involves no only biological (i.e. pubertal) but also psychological and social changes. Of these, the physiological and biological changes are the easiest to measure objectively. Although historically, the onset of adolescence and teenagers has often been associated with puberty, (1, 2) of late, this perspective has taken a change as the initiation of puberty has shown a slight increase in preadolescence (especially in case of females, as seen with precocious and early puberty); and adolescence has extended occasionally beyond the teenage years (this, in case of males). These changes have resulted in increased difficulty of being able to rigidly define the time frame of occurrence of adolescence (3, 4, and 5).

Also, the termination of adolescences and the start of adulthood is subjective to function and country. Sometimes, even the differences in a single nation- culture or state can result in various ages at which they are considered to be mature enough (legally and chronologically) to understand and interpret the needs of the society. These include serving the national army, having legal sexual relations, driving, and consumption of alcohol, voting rights, entering a contract, marrying and completion of certain levels of education, amongst many others. Adolescence is a phenomenon usually accompanied by less supervision and increased liberty permitted by parents or guardians, contrary to pre-adolescence.

Family and peers occupy an undisputed place of prominence in the adolescent’s life. During this phase of life, individuals spend most of their time in the company of their peers (Brown & Klute, 2003) and focus on peer relations as the significant element of their identity (Pugh & Hart, 1999).

A large number of mothers today are working for various purposes, from money to career development. Particularly, the Indian society does not support or encourage women with children working outside as it is believed to hamper the child’s growth and development, particularly females. Thus, this study is aimed at understanding the impact of maternal employment on female adolescents, their emotional maturity and academic achievement. It also aims to create a comparative analysis of working and non-working mothers on these elements in order to arrive at a conclusion regarding the better prospect for female adolescents.

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