If someone asked you from when to when does adolescence extend, what would your answer be? Some would say around 12 to 18, 19 or 20 years old, and we’d probably think they’re right, at least partially.
However, a new British study seems to contradict this popular belief, marking the beginning of adolescence earlier than many of us would think, and the end much later. What are your reasons?
It must be considered, before anything else, that the definition of adolescence has been changing over the centuries and the decades of the second half of the 20th century have had a certain influence on popular beliefsespecially with the rise of the “misunderstood teenager” figure, like the iconic Holden Caulfield of the book The Catcher in the RyeSalinger’s.
In this way, adolescence has been “lengthening” over time, and what before would be considered a fully mature person, such as someone 25 years old, today would qualify as a man or woman still developing. Science supports this notion, since At approximately 24 years of age, the human brain fully develops..
This is indicated by a study published in the academic journal The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health titled the age of adolescenceaccording to which, as we mentioned, adolescence is the period of development between 10 and 24 years of age.
The reason why the onset of adolescence occurs at such an apparently early age is that improvements in the quality of life, particularly in developed countries, has led to the acceleration of the onset of puberty (around 10, instead of 14 as before), while the arrival of some key milestones of the adolescent-adult transition such as completion of education and marriage have been “delayed” in recent decades.
In this way, adolescence actually begins earlier than anticipated, and ends when they are well into their 20s.
But what does this mean for us? Does it mean that we should “tolerate” adolescent behavior from people who would traditionally be considered young adults? Does it mean that we are not ready for important responsibilities before the age of 25?
What do you think? Do you agree with the study’s conclusions? Do you think that the “traditional” limits of adolescence are more adequate than those of this research? Tell us what you think in the comments.