Reflection Essay On Adolescence

This essay sample essay on Adolescence Essay offers an extensive list of facts and arguments related to it. The essay’s introduction, body paragraphs and the conclusion are provided below.

Did you know the most intimidating human developmental stage for most individuals is the Adolescence stage? The adolescence stage is between the childhood to adulthood stages. Major changes begin to take place in the physical, cognitive, social, moral, and personality aspects of human development during the adolescence stage. The changes which take place during the adolescence stage have various influences.

In addition to changes being influenced, factors affect physical, cognitive, social, moral, and personality development.

The adolescence stage consists of numerous complex concepts. Adolescent development is separated into three different stages. The three stages are known as: early adolescence, middle adolescence, and late adolescence. Individuals generally begin early adolescence between the ages of 12 and 14. The middle stage is normally experienced between the ages of 14 to 17. Late adolescence ranges from the age of 17 to 19.

Delcampo, 2005) Teenagers may experience some of these changes during the early adolescence stage: moodiness, friendships gaining importance, peer pressure toward certain interests and clothing styles, greater interest in privacy, or occasional experimentation with cigarettes, marijuana and alcohol.

During the middle adolescence stage teenagers are more likely to pay more attention to their appearance, examine inner experiences, and take an interest in moral reasoning. Santrock, 2005)  The late adolescence stage is when adolescents are starting to realize they are becoming adults so they begin to have more emotional stability, start determining the future, and engage in serious relationships.

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(Delcampo, 2005) Teenagers can become overwhelmed with all the influences and changes that occur, especially in the physical type of development. Physical development is any changes in biological nature this includes genes inherited from parents, changes in hormones, changes within the brain, height, weight, and motor-skills. Santrock, 2005)

What Is Physical Development In Adolescence

Physical changes are influenced by genotypes or genetic inheritance, as well as, environmental experiences. An example of an environmental influence on physical change is good nutrition allows adolescents to grow healthier. Adolescent physical development consists of rapid increases in height and weight, development of secondary sex characteristics also known as puberty, and continued brain development. (Huebner, 2000) During puberty girls begin their menstrual cycle, their breasts begin to grow, and the uterine develops as a result of their Estradiol hormone increase.

Depression can occur as a result of puberty within girls. Boys on the other hand start to grow hair on their chest, under arms, and face. The boys hormone testosterone level increases during puberty and causes the genitals to develop, the voice to change, increases their height; and high levels of testosterone are thought to influence violence and other problems. Due to the brain still developing during early and middle adolescence teenagers sometimes experience an “emotional rollercoaster. ” Adolescents not only experience physical developments, but they also experience cognitive developments.

Cognitive development is a change in an individuals thought, intelligence, and language. Cognitive development is influenced by hereditary and environmental factors. The environmental factors which influence cognitive development are school because this is where they are getting an education to succeed in a career. Another influence is parenting and family. Parents should allow their adolescent to explore and discuss different ideas in their mind. Some hereditary factors which influence cognitive development are birth defects or viruses, such as autism or a learning disorder.

During the time of adolescence teenagers are developing a more complex process of thinking known as formal logical operations. According to Piaget’s Theory, adolescents start to think more idealistically and logically. (Santrock, 2005) Teenagers also develop the ability to create hypothesizes and determine a problems best solution during the adolescence stage. Another cognitive development influence is adolescents develop their own view and perspective of the world, faith, spirituality, and beliefs. Uprising emotions although can interfere with an individual’s ability to clearly think. Huebner, 2000) Within the adolescent advancing in cognitive development, teenagers become more egocentric. Egocentrism is when an individual believes they are unique, invincible, and that everyone is preoccupied with them. Egocentrism influences adolescents to often put themselves at high risk for harm because they believe they are invincible.

Adolescents often engage in street racing, drug use, unprotected which can result pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases, or even attempt suicide in order to show they are invincible. Some of the following actions influence changes in social development as well. Social development is the changes in an adolescent’s relationship with others. There are five major issues adolescents experience during the adolescence stage. These issues are: discovering their own sense of identity, establishing autonomy and intimacy, becoming comfortable with one’s sexuality, and achievement. (Huebner, 2000) Discovering one’s identity is the most complex and important issue adolescents will experience.

Adolescents are constantly trying to answer the question, “Who am I? Erik Erikson’s life span theory states the identity versus identity confusion is the main issue of development during adolescence. (Santrock, 2005) Erikson’s theory states adolescents try to discover who they are, where they are going in life, and what they are all about, not what their parents are or want them to be. In order to answer these questions it is important for teenagers to be able and explore different careers, and alternative solutions to life roles. If adolescents are unable to explore various concepts, or parents push an identity on them they are more likely to experience identity confusion.

Identity confusion results in individuals isolating themselves from friends and family, or the adolescent lose themselves in the crowd. Erikson’s theory suggests environmental factors which affect social development range from parenting, to peer pressure, relationships with friends, family dynamics, and schooling. According to James Marcia, for an individual to complete the development their identity they will have to experience the two dimensions of identity, exploration and commitment. Identity status contains four combinations of exploration and commitment.

These combinations are identity diffusion, identity foreclosure, identity moratorium, identity achievement. (Santrock, 2005) The diffusion stage is when an individual as not explored or committed to personal values or a career. Identity foreclosure is when an individual makes a commitment without exploring. Identity moratorium is the stage when and individual has explored but has not yet committed. Finally, when an individual has explored and committed to personal values and a career they have reached identity achievement.

Social development can also be influenced by biological or hereditary influences such as birth defects, viruses, and diseases such as autism or speech impediment. Teenagers often feel overwhelmed with the changes that occur in social development during adolescence. Along with social development adolescents will experience some changes in moral development as well. Moral development is changes with age in thoughts, feelings, and behaviors regarding the principals and values that guide what people should do. Santrock, 2005) Moral development has two different dimensions, interpersonal (morals when interacting with other individuals) and intrapersonal (basic individual values).

Moral development is influenced by environmental factors such as peer pressure, family dynamics, society, neighborhood quality, and schooling. (Hart and Carlo, 2005) One of the most well known theories in moral development is Kohlberg’s theory. In Kohlberg’s theory moral development has three different levels, each with two stages. The first level is preconventional. The first stage in the preconventional level is punishments.

An example of this would be going to jail for stealing something. The second stage is rewards. An example is not stealing something so the owner can make a profit. The second level is conventional. Conventional level is when an individual follows a set of standards. Standards set by parents are the first stage in conventional and third stage in Kohlberg’s theory. The second stage in conventional is the standards set by societies law. The third level is postconventional. Postconventional level is when an individual discovers alternative moral courses.

The first stage in postconventional and fifth stage in Kohlberg’s level is social contract or utility and individual rights. The sixth stage is universal ethical principles. Most adolescents are at stage 3 or 4. (Santrock, 2005) Another theorist of moral development is Carol Gilligan. The main point of Gilligan’s theory is that gender and that Kohlberg did not give enough attention to relationships. During adolescence girls have to decide to appear selfish or selfless, and because they experience this issue they become insecure or less confident. Santrock, 2005)

Gilligan’s theory also draws attention to social experiences with parents and others influence behavior and patterns of behavior become personality characteristics. Personality development is the development of the organized pattern of behaviors and attitudes that makes a person distinctive. (Laberge, 2008) There are three components in the development of personality. The first is temperament or inherited traits that determine the adolescence approach to the world. This is because some genes determine the development of the nervous system which controls behavior.

The second component is environment such as parenting and schools. The third component is character. Character is emotional, cognitive, and behavioral patterns learned for experiences. (Laberge, 2008) Culture is another important environmental factor in the development of personality. The adolescence stage is when individuals experience the most dramatic changes in cognitive, social, moral, and personality development. Influences like family and friends may be environmental factors but they play an important role. Genetic inheritance can influence the outcome of the changes for adolescents as well. All of the changes which occur during adolescence allow individuals to transform in adulthood from childhood. This is why it is such an intimidating time for teenagers.


  • Carlo, and Hart, D. (2005) Moral Development in Adolescence. Retrieved July 03, 2008, from Ebscohost. com http://swtuopproxy. museglobal. com/MusesessionID=bf807f788aaad7a19df5df7f5b344e7/MuseHost=web. ebscohost. com/MusePath/ehost/pdf? vid=4&hid=120&sid=3765fedc-5e4a-4417-a02c-dbe82a4cda33%40sessionmgr107vf
  • Delcampo, D. S. (October, 2000) Understanding Teens: Normal Adolescent Development. Retrieved July, 03, 2008, from New Mexico State University: Bringing Science to Your Life Website. http://cahe. nmsu. edu/pubs/ f/f-122. pdf
  • Laberge, M. (2008). Personality Development. Retrieved July 06, 2008 from Answers. com Website: http://www. answers. com/topic/personality-development? cat=health
  • Huebner, A. (2000) Adolescent Growth and Development. Retrieved July 06, 2008, from Virginia Cooperative Extension: Knowledge for the CommonWealth Website: http://www. ext. vt. edu/pubs/family/350-850/350-850. html
  • Santrock, J (2005). Psychology (7th ed. ). New York, New York: Mcgraw-Hill.

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Reflection Essay On Adolescence. (2019, Dec 07). Retrieved from

Reflection Essay On Adolescence
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