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Development in Adolescence | Physical Mental Intellectual Social and Emotional

Childhood and Growing Up 


  • The early stage of adolescents development is also known as the pubertal period.
  • The term puberty is taken from the Latin word pubertas which means the age of manhood.

  • Thus, when a child enters the period of puberty, his physical growth and development become significant.
  • During adolescence physical growth and development are related to changes in general body build and voice.
  • These physical changes affect the behaviour of adolescents boys and girls.

  • The rising awareness of bodily changes leads to changes in the behaviour of adolescents particularly towards members of the opposite sex and towards adults.
  • Study of physical growth and development among adolescent boys and girls indicate that there is an upward trend in the growth of height. But individual differences are found.

  • Along with growth in height there is growth in weight during adolescence.

According to Crow & Crow, "The period of maximum growth progress in weight, as in height, is ar important factor in assessing an individual's relative peer status.”

  • The increase in height during adolescence takes place due to growth in the bones of the legs.
  • The arms of the adolescent also grow similarly in length.
  • The rise in weight is due to growth in the bones as well as in the muscles.

  • Because of the development in bones and muscles, adolescents become capable of greater physical work and achievements.
  • When an adolescent boy gains physical maturity, his interests and attitudes also change.
  • He becomes sex conscious because the secondary sex changes also occurs in this period.

  • Adolescent girls feel embarrassed on account of menstruation during this period and they feel anxiety.
  • Secondary sex changes in girls during adolescence are related to the development of the breasts, the widening of the hips, the appearance of public hairs.

According to Luella Cole, "Adolescence is a period of growth in all system of the body.



E. A. Peel has stated that, "The main features of the emotional life of adolescence concern the loyalties, gang, school and group and are intimately connected with the transitional nature of adolescents."

  • The adolescent is beset by problem of divided loyalties, accentuated through the lack of adult privileges and responsibilities.
  • He then appears excessively aggressive and then excessively shy, excessively affectionate and then quite suddenly detached and cool.

  • These are the all problems of the stress and strains of transition.

  • During adolescence anger comes mainly due to self consciousness.
  • The adolescent is very sensitive to any kind of attack on his prestige.
  • During adolescence anger is sometimes expressed through physical means.
  • But because the adolescent matures, the physical expression of anger is controlled.
  • The emotion of fear is aroused during adolescence mostly on account of physical development.
  • The adolescent boys or girl consider these physical changes as some kind of disease and therefore, they experience fear.

  • As the circle of loyalties of adolescent body and girls widens the emotion of affection is easily aroused.
  • According to E. A. Peel, "Adolescence is the period of 'crushes' for members of the same or opposite sex."
  • During adolescence boy and girl starts some kind of hero worship and his/her loyalties to his/her heroes or ago-ideals come in conflict with the loyalties of family and its adult members.



  • During adolescence boys and girls become active members of their peer groups and develop deep friendships.
  • Social development during adolescence is marked by a strong desire to follow the social pattern and style of life as approved, accepted and practised by the peer group or the gang with which the adolescent boys or girls are associated.

  • In connection with the social development of adolescents it is important to bear in mind that, "The adolescent is in a period of transition.
  • Half of him is treated as a child without responsibility and rights and the other half as a potential adults, answerable to himself for much what he does.
  • Social development during adolescence is marked by a desire for freedom and independence from adult controls.

  • Social development during adolescence is very much affected by the cultural patterns.
  • In some cultures there is a fixed rules for social training of adolescents while in other societies adolescents are left alone. This creates problems.
  • According to Cole. "Adolescents are tremendously sensitive to social stimuli; no other problems seem o them as serious as the formation of themselves in their own society."
  • Adolescent boy and girl react faster or prestige within his/her own group than to most forms of adul approval.



  • During adolescence mental and intellectual capacities develop rapidly.
  • Adolescent boys and girls start learning at a rapid rate.
  • They become interested in their own problems and try to solve them and also become aware of their own intellectual power.
  • According to Crow & Crow, "Although mental growth is relatively continuous during later childhood years and into adolescence, the rate of growth and the upper limit of growth vary with individuals."
  • Mental development during adolescence is indicated by the fact that the interests and activities of adolescent boys and girls become more specialized than they were in childhood.

  • "Although general adaptability in mentally stimulating situations (the g factor) continue to show itself in adolescent behaviour, special mental abilities (the s factor) become much more evident than they were during the less challenging childhood years."

  • During adolescence mental development requires appropriate environmental conditions.

  • If the appropriate environmental condition is missing; mental growth and development is hampered.



  • As to the intellectual development there is great intellectual awakening, but it does not show the same positive acceleration found in physical traits in this period.
  • Development in intelligence is assessed mainly by formal tests of intellectual growth.
  • However, like other aspects of growth, it reaches the final stage late in adolescence.
  • Children of inferior mental ability achieve their ultimate mental maturity at an earlier age than those of advanced intellectual capacity.

  • Adolescents engages in a larger and more complex range of activities.
  • Curiosity is a its height.
  • The adolescent may develop a special aptitude for music or language.
  • He may develop mechanical aptitude.
  • He may begin composing poems.
  • He begins to appreciate literature.
  • His vocabulary widens.
  • He enjoys debates and discussions and dramas, etc.

  • Urge for self-expression is very great which may result in writing, acting, painting, etc

  • The adolescent has a desire for responsibility.
  • He also has a tendency to be irresponsible.
  • He is impatient for the results and is very enthusiastic.