The Analysis of Adolescent Development
The effective utilization of assessments requires a clear understanding of the constructs being assessed. This is true whether we are trying to assess level of cognitive functioning, need for autonomy, or risk for suicide. It follows that any attempt to develop tools or procedures for assessing adolescents must be based on an understanding of adolescent development. It is in this sense that theory and research regarding adolescent behavior become so important.
This chapter presents, first, an overview of different aspects of adolescent development that have been the focus of concern and the various environmental influences on development. This is followed by a review of the major types of theoretical efforts relevant to adolescent development, including both traditional theories of development and some of the more recent theoretical advances. The intent of the discussion in this chapter is to provide background to an understanding of the various problems associated with adolescent development to be discussed in the following chapter and the subsequent review of tools and procedures for assessing adolescents. The reader is referred to Compas, Hinden, and Gerhardt ( 1995), Crockett and Crouter ( 1995), Jackson and Rodriquez- Tome ( 1995), and Lerner ( 1993) for extended discussions of this literature.
Many efforts to analyze adolescent behavior have focused on describing the course of development. These efforts are of interest from a scientific perspective, but they are also valuable to parents, teachers, clinicians, and youths