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Physical and Cognitive Development in Adolescence


Chapter 9 Physical and Cognitive Development in Adolescence PowerPoints developed by Nicholas Greco IV, College of Lake County, Grayslake, IL (c) 2012 The McGraw-Hill ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Physical and Cognitive Development in Adolescence

Chapter 9
  • Physical and Cognitive Development in Adolescence
  • PowerPoints developed by Nicholas Greco IV,
    College of Lake County, Grayslake, IL

The Nature of Adolescence
  • Adolescence is a transitional period with
    continuity and discontinuity with childhood
  • Not just a time of rebellion, crisis, pathology,
    and deviance
  • More accurately, it is of a time of evaluation,
    decision making, commitment, finding a place in
    the world
  • Ethnic, cultural, gender, socioeconomic, age, and
    lifestyle differences influence the actual life
    trajectory of every adolescent

The Nature of Adolescence
  • Adolescents are exposed to complex options
    through the media
  • They face the temptations of drug use and sexual
  • Too many adolescents are not provided with
    adequate opportunities and support to become
    competent adults

  • Puberty is not the same as adolescence
  • most important marker of the beginning of
  • puberty ends long before adolescence does
  • Puberty -- period of rapid physical maturation
    involving hormonal and bodily changes
  • Puberty is not a single, sudden event
  • the most noticeable changes are signs of sexual
    maturation and increases in height and weight

Order of Male Pubertal Changes
  • Increase in penis and testicle size
  • Appearance of straight pubic hair
  • Minor voice change
  • First ejaculation (which usually occurs through
    masturbation or a wet dream)
  • Appearance of kinky pubic hair
  • Onset of maximum growth in height and weight
  • Growth of hair in armpits
  • More detectable voice changes
  • Growth of facial hair

Order of Physical Changes in Females
  • Breasts enlarge
  • Pubic hair appears
  • Hair appears in the armpits
  • Height increases and hips become wider than
  • Menarche, first menstruation, irregular and
  • Voice changes not comparable to males
  • By the end, breasts become more fully rounded

Weight and Height and the Growth Spurt
  • Girls tend to outweigh boys early in adolescence
  • At the beginning of adolescence, girls tend to be
    as tall as or taller than boys of their age
  • The mean age at the beginning of the growth spurt
    in girls is 9 and for boys, the mean age is 11

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Hormonal Changes
  • Hormones -- powerful chemical substances secreted
    by the endocrine glands and carried through the
    body by the bloodstream
  • Puberty is an interaction of the hypothalamus,
    the pituitary gland, and the gonads
  • Gonads -- the testes and ovaries -- are
    particularly important

  • Testosterone -- hormone associated in boys with
    the development of genitals, an increase in
    height, and a change in voice
  • Estradiol is a type of estrogen
  • in girls it is associated with breast, uterine,
    and skeletal development
  • Testosterone and estradiol are present in the
    hormonal makeup of both boys and girls
  • The hormone-behavior link is complex

Timing and Variations in Puberty
  • The average age of menarche has declined
    significantly since the mid-19th century
  • Basic genetic program for puberty is wired into
    the species
  • nutrition, health, and other environmental
    factors also affect pubertys timing and makeup
  • Average age for the pubertal sequence to begin is
    between 10 to 13.5 for boys and 9 to 15 for girls

Body Image  
  • Adolescents are preoccupied with their bodies and
    develop images of what their bodies are like
  • Girls are less happy with their bodies and have
    more negative body images than boys throughout
  • Boys become more satisfied as they move through
    puberty, probably because their muscle mass
  • (Bearman others, 2006)

Early and Late Maturation
  • Adolescents who mature earlier or later than
    their peers perceive themselves differently
  • Early maturation in girls increases vulnerability
    to problems
  • more likely to smoke, drink, be depressed, have
    an eating disorder, struggle for earlier
    independence from their parents, have older
    friends, date, and earlier sexual experiences

Brain Development
  • Adolescents brains undergo significant
    structural changes
  • corpus callosum -- thickens and this improves
    ability to process information
  • prefrontal cortex doesnt finish maturing until
    18 to 25 years of age or later
  • amygdala -- the seat of emotions such as anger --
    matures earlier than the prefrontal cortex

Insert Figure 9.2
Adolescent Sexuality
  • A time of sexual curiosity, exploration and
    experimentation, of sexual fantasies and
    realities, of incorporating sexuality into ones

Developing a Sexual Identity
  • Involves learning to manage sexual feelings (such
    as sexual arousal and attraction) and developing
    new forms of intimacy
  • Learning skills to regulate sexual behavior to
    avoid undesirable consequences
  • Sexual identity involves activities, interests,
    styles of behavior, and an indication of sexual
    orientation -- whether an individual has same-sex
    or other-sex attractions
  • (Buzwell Rosenthal, 1996)

The Timing of Adolescent Sexual Behaviors
  • The timing of sexual initiation varies by
    country, gender, or socioeconomic characteristics
  • Many early adolescents are not emotionally
    prepared to handle sexual experiences
  • Early sexual activity is linked with risky
    behaviors such as drug use, delinquency, and
    school-related problems
  • Low parental monitoring was linked with early
    initiation of sexual activity

Contraceptive Use
  • Two kinds of risks accompany sexual activity
  • Unintended, unwanted pregnancy
  • Sexually transmitted infections
  • Both can be reduced significantly with
    contraception use
  • Many sexually active adolescents still do not
    use contraceptives, or they use them
  • Younger adolescents are less likely to take
    contraceptive precautions

Sexually Transmitted Infections  
  • Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) --
    infections contracted primarily through sexual
    contact, including oral-genital and anal-genital
  • annually, more than 3 million American
  • about one-fourth of those who are sexually
  • (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2008)

Adolescent Pregnancy  
  • United States has one of the highest adolescent
    pregnancy and childbearing rates in the
    industrialized world however, recent declines
    are noted
  • Reasons for these recent declines include
    increased contraceptive use and fear of sexually
    transmitted infections such as AIDS

Birth Rates for U.S. Adolescents from 1980 to 2008

Risks of Becoming Pregnant as an Adolescent
  • Health risks for both the baby and the mother
  • Infants are more likely to have low birth weight
  • Infants have more neurological problems and
    childhood illness
  • Adolescent mothers often drop out of school
  • Even if they resume their education, they
    generally never catch up economically

  • Adolescent mothers are more likely to come from
    low-SES backgrounds
  • Many were not good students before they became
  • Some adolescent mothers do well in school and
    have positive outcomes
  • All adolescents can benefit from age-appropriate
    family-life education

Issues in Adolescent Health
  • Many of the behaviors that are linked to poor
    health habits and early death in adults begin
    during adolescence
  • Early formation of healthy behavior patterns,
    such as regular exercise and a preference for
    foods low in fat and cholesterol
  • has immediate health benefits
  • helps in adulthood to delay or prevent disability
    and mortality

Nutrition and Exercise
  • The percentage of overweight teens in the United
    States increased from the early 1990s through
  • Compared to adolescents in 28 countries, U.S. and
    British adolescents ate more fried food and less
    fruits and vegetables
  • U.S. boys and girls become less active as they
    reach and progress through adolescence

Nutrition and Exercise
  • Adolescent boys are more likely to engage in
    moderate to vigorous exercise than were girls
  • Exercise is linked to a number of positive
    physical outcomes
  • Lower weight, reduced triglyceride levels, lower
    blood pressure, a lower incidence of type II
    diabetes, lower drug use

Percentage of U.S. High School Students Who Ate
Fruits and Vegetables Five or More Times a Day

Sleep Patterns
  • Only 45 percent of adolescents studied got
    inadequate sleep on school nights (fewer than 8
  • inadequate sleep resulted in feeling more tired
    or sleepy, cranky and irritable, falling asleep
    in school, being in a depressed mood, and
    drinking caffeinated beverages
  • adolescents biological clocks undergo a shift as
    they get older this seems related to a delay in
    the nightly release of the sleep-inducing hormone
  • (National Sleep Foundation, 2006)

Leading Causes of Death in Adolescence  
  • The three leading causes of death in adolescence
    are accidents, homicide, and suicide
  • More than half of deaths for ages 15 to 24 are
    due to unintentional injuries three-fourths
    involve motor vehicles
  • Homicide is the second-leading cause of death,
    especially among African-American males
  • The adolescent suicide rate has tripled since the

Substance Use and Abuse
  • Proportions of U.S. students who used any illicit
    drug declined in the late 1990s and first years
    of the 21st century
  • The United States still has one of the highest
    rates of adolescent drug use of any
    industrialized nation
  • Early onset of drinking linked to increased risk
    of heavy drinking in middle age
  • Parents play a role in preventing drug abuse
  • Peers also influence whether adolescents become
    substance abusers
  • (Johnston others, 2010)

Trends in Drug Use by U.S. 8th, 10th, and 12th

Anorexia Nervosa
  • Anorexia nervosa -- eating disorder that involves
    the relentless pursuit of thinness through
  • Three main characteristics of anorexia nervosa
  • weighing less than 85 percent of what is
    considered normal for a persons age and height
  • having an intense fear of gaining weight
  • having a distorted image of ones body shape

Bulimia Nervosa  
  • Bulimia nervosa -- eating disorder in which the
    individual consistently follows a binge-and-purge
  • Bulimics go on an eating binge and then purge by
    self-inducing vomiting or using laxatives
  • Bulimics are preoccupied with food, have a strong
    fear of becoming overweight, and are depressed or

The Formal Operational Stage
  • According to Piaget, the fourth and final stage
    of cognitive development, the formal operational
    stage, begins in adolescence
  • Formal operational thought is more abstract and
    logical full of idealism and possibilities
  • Hypothetical-deductive reasoning involves
    creating a hypothesis and deducing its

Adolescent Egocentrism
  • Adolescent egocentrism is the heightened
    self-consciousness of adolescents
  • David Elkind (1976) cited two key components
  • imaginary audience
  • personal fable
  • Adolescents also often show a sense of
    invincibility or invulnerability

Information Processing
  • Executive functioning involves higher-order
    cognitive activities such as reasoning, making
    decisions, monitoring thinking critically, and
    monitoring ones cognitive progress
  • Improvements in executive functioning permit
  • more effective learning
  • making decisions and engaging in critical thinking

Decision Making and Critical Thinking
  • Young adolescents are more likely to generate
    different options, examine a situation from a
    variety of perspectives, anticipate the
    consequences of decisions, and consider the
    credibility of sources
  • The social context plays a role in adolescent
    decision making
  • Cognitive changes that allow for improved
    critical thinking are
  • Increased speed, automaticity, and capacity of
    information processing
  • More benefits of content knowledge
  • Increased ability to construct new combinations
    of knowledge
  • Greater range and more spontaneous use of
    strategies or procedures for applying or
    obtaining knowledge

School Issues
  • Top-dog phenomenon -- moving from being the
    oldest, biggest, and most powerful to being the
    youngest, smallest, and least powerful students
  • Consequence of moving from middle to high school
  • U.S. high school dropout rates have declined
  • Service learning -- form of education that
    promotes social responsibility and service to the

Trends in High School Dropout Rates