The Foundations of Psychiatry

By Silvano Arieti | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 17

THE JUVENILE AND
PREADOLESCENT PERIODS
OF THE HUMAN LIFE CYCLE

E. James Anthony


The Juvenile Period

Definition

The juvenile period, outside its legal sense, was a term incorporated by Sullivan24 into his developmental system, but others have classified the same chronological span of time in ways more reflective of their particular professional viewpoints. To the educator, for example, these are the years passed in grade school and bifurcated for good educational reasons into a primary triennium from grades one to three and an elementary triennium from grades four to six. For the developmental psychologist this is the era of middle childhood, a time of relative quiescence interposed between the turbulences of preschool and adolescence. This is the case both physically and psychologically. In the context of physical development there is a plateau extending from the preschool to the pubertal growth spurts; Stone and Church22 have called this the "growth latency," suggesting that it may be a physiological counterpart of the Freudian sexual latency between the passing of the Oedipus complex and its reactivation in early adolescence. For the dentist the juvenile stage begins with the last of the baby teeth and ends with the complete eruption of the permanent set, minus the "wisdoms." In different theoretical systems of development, other prime characteristics have been accentuated. Piaget has pointed to the concrete operational mode of thinking, Sullivan to cooperation within interpersonal relationships, and Erikson to the opposing tendencies of industry and inferiority that can make or mar the school child. There would appear to be, therefore, some grounds for believing that the middle years of

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