Adolescence: A foundation for future health

Centre for Adolescent Health, Royal Children's Hospital, Parkville, VIC, Australia.
The Lancet (Impact Factor: 45.22). 04/2012; 379(9826):1630-40. DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(12)60072-5
Source: PubMed


Adolescence is a life phase in which the opportunities for health are great and future patterns of adult health are established. Health in adolescence is the result of interactions between prenatal and early childhood development and the specific biological and social-role changes that accompany puberty, shaped by social determinants and risk and protective factors that affect the uptake of health-related behaviours. The shape of adolescence is rapidly changing-the age of onset of puberty is decreasing and the age at which mature social roles are achieved is rising. New understandings of the diverse and dynamic effects on adolescent health include insights into the effects of puberty and brain development, together with social media. A focus on adolescence is central to the success of many public health agendas, including the Millennium Development Goals aiming to reduce child and maternal mortality and HIV/AIDS, and the more recent emphases on mental health, injuries, and non-communicable diseases. Greater attention to adolescence is needed within each of these public health domains if global health targets are to be met. Strategies that place the adolescent years centre stage-rather than focusing only on specific health agendas-provide important opportunities to improve health, both in adolescence and later in life.

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Available from: Susan Sawyer, Oct 09, 2015
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    • "At this developmental stage, ranging in age approximately from 18 to 25 years, young people today face the challenges of identity formation and educational and occupational preparation which Erikson (1950) described in his day as occurring in late adolescence. Young adulthood is a period of life now characterised by continuing education, financial dependence and identity exploration, with comparatively delayed commitment to marriage and parenthood (Arnett, 2007; Sawyer et al., 2012). Social relationships are highly salient to young adults' success in their developmental challenges, and hence this paper explores the adolescent precursors of young adults' satisfaction with their available social support. "
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    ABSTRACT: The importance of socially supportive relationships in assisting people to cope with stress and adverse events is well recognised, but the trajectories whereby individuals develop the capacity to attract those supports have been infrequently studied. Taking advantage of a substantial longitudinal data set, we aimed to explore the precursors during mid-adolescence, of satisfaction with social supports in young adulthood. Both personality factors (extraversion, neuroticism) and adolescent experiences of high-quality interpersonal relationships with parents and peers were hypothesised to predict subsequent satisfactory supports; we wished to compare the influence of these factors. Participants in a study of the school to work transition (N = 558) provided psychosocial information at 16–17 years of age and then again six years later at 23, using paper and online questionnaires and standardised measures. Personality and family climate variables both predicted adult social support, with family cohesiveness and neuroticism having the largest roles. The possible implications for mental health promotion are discussed.
    Journal of Adolescence 10/2015; 44:70. DOI:10.1016/j.adolescence.2015.07.004 · 2.05 Impact Factor
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    • " it is comparatively normal to witness a divergence between the age at which an individual is legally and psychologically capable of living an autonomous adult ' s life and the individual or contextual conditions—like a particularly prolonged education , or the prices of housing and living—that may make this socially or subjectively unaffordable ( Sawyer et al . , 2012"
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    ABSTRACT: There are several reasons why adolescence is interesting. It is in this phase that an individual finds herself fully facing the external world: basically equipped with the kind of social cognition that s/he has acquired at home, at school and through the media during childhood, s/he has now to meet a host of other, diverse views of what " reasonable, " " appropriate, " or " expected " courses of thought and emotions are, in the wild with friends and peers, romantic or sexual partners, teachers and employers, and the society at large. Furthermore, she is also expected, both at home and in the external world, to have a wholly new degree of control over such courses. While the idea that the development of social cognition still progresses after infancy (and possibly throughout the life span) is clearly gaining consensus in the field, the literature building on it is still scarce. One of the reasons for this probably is that most tests used to study it focus on its basic component, namely theory of mind, and have been mostly devised for us with children; therefore, they are not suitable to deal with the hugely increasing complexity of social and mental life during adolescence and adulthood. Starting from a review of the literature available, we will argue that the development of social cognition should be viewed as a largely yet-to-be-understood mix of biological and cultural factors. While it is widely agreed upon that the very initial manifestations of social life in the newborn are largely driven by an innate engine with which all humans are equally endowed, it is also evident that each culture, and each individual within it, develops specific adult versions of social cognition.
    Frontiers in Psychology 09/2015; 6. DOI:10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01011 · 2.80 Impact Factor
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    • "Adolescence and young adulthood are often considered to be among the healthiest periods of life, after the relatively vulnerable years of early childhood and before the health problems associated with ageing. However, young people across the world also face significant health challenges and barriers to care (WHO, 2012; Sawyer et al., 2012). The problems are typically magnified in lowincome settings: Sub-Saharan Africa, which has the highest proportion of adolescents and young people worldwide, also has the worst adolescent/youth health profile (Patton et al., 2012; UNICEF, 2012). "
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    ABSTRACT: The African communications 'revolution' has generated optimism that mobile phones might help overcome infrastructural barriers to healthcare provision in resource-poor contexts. However, while formal m-health programmes remain limited in coverage and scope, young people are using mobile phones creatively and strategically in an attempt to secure effective healthcare. Drawing on qualitative and quantitative data collected in 2012-2014 from over 4500 young people (aged 8-25 y) in Ghana, Malawi and South Africa, this paper documents these practices and the new therapeutic opportunities they create, alongside the constraints, contingencies and risks. We argue that young people are endeavouring to lay claim to a digitally-mediated form of therapeutic citizenship, but that a lack of appropriate resources, social networks and skills ('digital capital'), combined with ongoing shortcomings in healthcare delivery, can compromise their ability to do this effectively. The paper concludes by offering tentative suggestions for remedying this situation. Copyright © 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.. All rights reserved.
    Social Science [?] Medicine 08/2015; 142:90-99. DOI:10.1016/j.socscimed.2015.07.033 · 2.89 Impact Factor
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