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Reflecting the multidimensional cutting-edges of research and insight, this volume offers a unique integrated treatment of the central themes in the contemporary study of adolescence—development, diversity, context, and application. Specifically, it helps readers understand the bases of the developmental changes young people experience during the adolescent period; appreciate the important instances of diversity of individuals, families, communities, and cultures that texture and give richness to adolescent development; recognize the important role played in adolescent development of the different instances of the context, or ecology, of human development (e.g., the family, the peer group, schools, communities, the media, and culture); and understand the ways in which knowledge about adolescent development, diversity, and context may be applied to promote positive development among young people. Includes special boxes on "Meet the Researchers," Applications in innovative youth-serving programs from around the world, and Parenting. The Laws And The Lore Of Adolescence. Theories Of Adolescence. Puberty, Physical Development, And Health. Cognitive Development. Moral Development, Behavior, And Civil Society. Identity: The Search For Self-Definition During Adolescence. Role Development And Work In Adolescence. Adolescents And Their Families. The Adolescent Peer Group. Sexuality In Adolescence. Schools And Education During Adolescence. The World Of Contemporary Adolescents. Problem Behaviors In Adolescence. The Potentials Of Adolescence: The Role Of Community Programs And Public Policy. For anyone involved with adolescents, including parents, teachers, nurses, social workers, psychologists, etc.
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Richard M. Lerner is the Bergstrom Chair in Applied Developmental Science at Tufts University. A developmental psychologist, Lerner received a Ph.D. in 1971 from the City University of New York. He has been a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences and is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Psychological Association, and the American Psychological Society. Prior to joining Tufts University, he was on the faculty and held administrative posts at Michigan State University, Pennsylvania State University, and Boston College, where he was the Anita L. Brennan Professor of Education and the director of the Center for Child, Family, and Community Partnerships. During the 1994-1995 academic year Lerner held the Tyner Eminent Scholar Chair in the Human Sciences at Florida State University. Lerner is the author or editor of 40 books and more than 275 scholarly articles and chapters, including his 1995 book, America's Youth in Crisis: Challenges and Options for Programs and Policies. He edited Volume 1, Theoretical Models o f Human Development, for the fifth edition of the Handbook of Child Psychology. He is known for his theory of, and research about, relations between life-span human development and contextual or ecological change. He is the founding editor of the Journal of Research on Adolescence and of the new journal, Applied Developmental Science.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
The word adolescence can be traced to the Latin word "adolescere," which means to grow into maturity. Growing into maturity involves change, and today, adolescence is regarded, perhaps with the exception of infancy, as the most change-filled period of life. It is a period of transition in which the biological, psychological, and social characteristics typical of children become the biological, psychological, and social characteristics typical of adults.
Most researchers define the second 10 years of life (from ages 10 to 20) as the adolescent period. All people who study adolescence—or who experience it, as either parents or as young people themselves—agree the period is characterized by numerous major changes and also dramatic ones that often are remembered for all the years of life thereafter.
The hopes, challenges, fears, and successes of adolescence have been romanticized or dramatized in novels, short stories, and news articles. It is commonplace to survey a newsstand and find a magazine article describing the "stormy years" of adolescence, the new crazes or fads of youth, or the "explosion" of problems with teenagers (e.g., involving crime or sexuality).
To what extent are these characterizations of adolescence correct? Just what do we know about adolescents and if some adolescents do experience problems, what can be done about it? In turn, aren't there strengths of adolescents? How may knowledge about adolescent development be applied in ways to promote positive, healthy development among all the diverse young people experiencing this period of life? How, in the span of 10 years, does the individual bridge the gap between coping with the several challenges of early adolescence and the launching of a young adult life?
The Goal of This Book
Answering these questions fascinates and engages the energies of scientists, practitioners, parents, teachers, and young people themselves. Providing the key information pertinent to providing answers to these questions is the goal of Adolescence: Development, Diversity, Context, and Application.
This book will help you to understand the bases of the developmental changes young people experience during the adolescent period; to appreciate the important instances of diversity of individuals, families, communities, and cultures that give texture and richness to adolescent development; to recognize the important role played in adolescent development of the different instances of the context, or ecology, of human development—for example, the family, the peer group, schools, communities, the media, and culture; and to understand the ways in which knowledge about adolescent development, diversity, and context may be applied to promote positive development among young people. In short, the aim of Adolescence: Development, Diversity, Context, and Application is to present the best information currently available about the adolescent period and the ways in which scientists and practitioners both understand the period and, take actions to promote positive development among youth.
How Is Adolescence Discussed in This Book?
Throughout this book I illustrate that, by understanding the relations of diverse adolescents and their contexts, we may formulate applications that may help improve these relations. These applications may involve community-based programs, professional practices, education curricula, and public policies. But all applications aim to resolve or ameliorate challenges to healthy adolescent development, to prevent problems of adolescent behavior from developing, or to promote positive development among youth.
Accordingly, this book emphasizes that adolescence is a dynamic developmental period marked by diverse changes for different youth, changes brought about because development involves changing relations among biological, psychological, and social/ecological processes. Together, these diverse developmental changes involve the relations adolescents have with their biological, social, and cultural contexts, and provide the basis for innovations, in the types of applications just noted, aimed at increasing societal ability to improve the lives of adolescents. If the basis of the development of young people lies in their particular relationships with their social world—with their specific family, peer group, schools, and neighborhoods—then by taking actions improve these relations we may be enacting the key steps needed to promote positive development.
You will find that the four themes in the title of the book—development, diversity, context, and application—are interwoven. Together these themes will help you understand how scholars and practitioners contribute to identifying knowledge that matters in respect to enhancing the lives of the diverse young people in the United States and around the world.
Foci and Features of the Book
The themes of developmental diversity, adolescent-context relations, and the links among theory, research, and applications to programs aimed at enhancing the life chances of young people are key foci in contemporary scholarship and practice pertinent to adolescence. As such, these themes frame the discussion in all chapters of this book. Across chapters, we emphasize several types of information:
The several foci of the book are not only interwoven throughout the discussions in each chapter but they appear as well in the feature boxes. The book includes "Implications for Parenting" boxes about parenting adolescents and "Applications" boxes about policies and programs pertinent to promoting positive adolescent development. In addition, "Meet the Researcher" boxes present personal reflections by leading scholars of adolescence about their current research or applied efforts.
The information in these boxes and in the text itself is enhanced by several learning tools: vignettes about adolescent development that begin the text of each chapter, chapter overviews, learning objectives, issues to consider, chapter summaries, discussion topics, and glossaries.
Aspirations for This Book
Certainly, it is a daunting task to understand the bases of the healthy and successful development of diverse adolescents and to apply such knowledge to ensure that young people are eventually capable of leading themselves, their families, their communities, and their nations productively, responsibly, and morally across the 21st century. I believe all citizens, worldwide, must rise to this challenge if we all are to not only survive but to prosper.
The young people of today represent 100% of the human capital on which the future health and success of all nations rest. To enhance the lives of adolescents requires that we continuously educate all citizens—young and old—about the best means available to promote enhanced healthy lives among all youth and the families, schools, and communities involved in their lives. It is my hope that Adolescence: Development, Diversity, Context, and Application will motivate you to contribute to this effort. In so doing, this book may play a role in an educational and community collaborative effort to help ensure, for the new millennium, a socially just and civil society populated by healthy and productive children and adolescents.
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