Promoting Health through a Developmental Analysis of Adolescent Risk Behavior

By Curtis, Susan | Journal of School Health, November 1992 | Go to article overview

Promoting Health through a Developmental Analysis of Adolescent Risk Behavior


Curtis, Susan, Journal of School Health


By the year 2000, the number of U.S. adolescents ages 12 to 17 will exceed 22 million, representing a projected 26% increase during the 1990s for the only age group not to improve in mortality since 1960.[1] These statistics foretell an absolute increase in adolescent health problems and point to a need for interventions effective in improving health status during the second decade of life.

Adolescent health care professionals agree the epidemiology of mortality and morbidity in this population is largely social and behavioral.[1-4] Currently, violent death accounts for 77% of mortality in 15- to 24-year olds; two-thirds of these deaths are due to motor vehicle accidents, the remainder to homicide and suicide.[4] More than 50% of adolescent morbidity is attributable to consequences of sexual activity, substance abuse, or motor and recreational vehicle accidents.[1] While teen-agers may consult medical personnel about organic health problems, they seldom seek help from physicians for the social and behavioral problems responsible for most of their morbidity and mortality. Given the behavioral etiology of these health concerns, ideal intervention sites are not clinics but institutions with mandated universal participation - middle and high schools. This article examines adolescent morbidity and mortality from a developmental perspective, noting cognitive, psychosocial, and environmental factors influencing the health status of teens, and suggests implications for nurses and health educators in school settings.

ADOLESCENT DEVELOPMENT

Physical Development. Adolescence is the only time in the life cycle involving physical changes as rapid as those of infancy. Pubertal maturation affects teen-agers directly and indirectly. Not only are teens changing internally, they are changing as social stimuli to others. Their physical changes often overshadow developments in the cognitive or affective domains. Therefore, health professionals should be aware the domains develop asynchronously; a 16-year-old boy may attain adult height yet be reasoning like a 12-year old, while a prepubertal 14-year-old girl may be thinking like an adult.

Cognitive Development. Differences in the cognition of children and adults most often are interpreted according to Piaget's' [5] theory of intellectual development. During early adolescence the cognitive processes approach the level of formal operations which, to Piaget, represents a capacity to reason hypothetically and to deduce consequences independent of the intrinsic truth or falseness of the premises. Essentially, the processes of formal operations allow "thinking about thinking," so hypothetical thought becomes possible. Elkind[6] proposes that the capacity for formal operational thought is the precondition for emergence of two adolescent cognitive structures: the Imaginary Audience and the Personal Fable. The capacity to think about thinking, coupled with an egocentric preoccupation with their pubescent bodies, leads adolescents to believe that "everyone is thinking about what they are thinking about - themselves."[6] The Personal Fable follows when, believing he or she is the object of everyone's attention, the adolescent comes to the "logical" conclusion that he or she must be important and unique, and in certain respects, invulnerable.

Psychosocial Development. In contrast to Piaget's conception of adolescence as the period in which the epogee of cognitive development is attained, Erikson defined it as the fifth in a series of eight stages in the lifespan.[7] He conceptualized the dynamics of the adolescent task as a dialectic between establishing an identity and suffering identity diffusion. External sources initially defining identity in young adolescents are parents, but as emotional autonomy from parents increases, so does reliance on the peer group. Hofmann[2] notes the uniquely 20th century creation of a distinct adolescent subculture wherein youth are segregated with their peers in classrooms in lieu of participating in the heterogeneous community as workers or apprentices. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Promoting Health through a Developmental Analysis of Adolescent Risk Behavior
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.