Biological-Psychosocial Interactions in Early Adolescence

Biological-Psychosocial Interactions in Early Adolescence

Biological-Psychosocial Interactions in Early Adolescence

Biological-Psychosocial Interactions in Early Adolescence

Excerpt

Early adolescence is a period of pronounced biological, psychological, and social changes and, as such, it is often a period of profound importance for the individual and his or her parents, teachers, and peers. The early adolescent undergoes changes in his or her physiology, physical appearance, and cognitive, emotional, and personality functioning; in addition, new social relationships develop, and these are often ones that occur in institutions that differ from those of childhood.

These changes may not occur independently of each other. Biological changes may be the most dramatic, scientifically accessible, and universal of these alterations, and the methods to assess them may be the most elegant; but few scientists -- of any discipline -- would argue that biology is the driver of all the changes that occur at other levels of anlaysis, and most would not deny the possibility that psychological development and social change may influence adolescent biological functioning. Is there evidence to support the presence of such bidirectional relations among biological, psychological, and social variables? It is the purpose of this book to explore the nature and extent of biological-psychosocial interactions in early adolescence. We bring together scholars whose theoretical and empirical work pertains to how such interrelations may and do occur, and the outcome of their contributions is to provide an understanding of current knowledge of the conditions under which biological functioning contributes to, constrains, or is influenced by the early adolescent's pyschosocial functioning.

Our focus on biological -- psychosocial interactions in early adolescnce not only elucidates issues particular to this period of life. In addition, early adolescence-because of the large number of changes at all levels of functioning -- is an ideal life period within which to explore issues of importance to understanding development across the life-span. Thus, issues relevant to continuity and change . . .

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