Moving Into Adolescence: The Impact of Pubertal Change and School Context

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From the sociological point of view, adolescence traditionally has been described as a period of physical maturity and social immaturity. Adolescents reach physical adulthood before they are capable of functioning well in adult social roles. The disjunction between physical capabilities and socially allowed independence and power and the concurrent status ambiguities are viewed as stressful for the adolescent in modern Western society. It has been assumed that the need to disengage from parents during these years will result in high levels of rebellion and parent-child conflict. Moving into Adolescence follows students as they make a major life course transition from childhood into early adolescence.

Substantial controversy has been generated within the behavioral sciences concerning the difficulty of adolescence as a transitional period. On the one hand, there are those who characterize the period as an exceptionally and necessarily stressful time in the life course. On the other hand, many investigators treat this view of adolescence as their straw man. To them, the supposed tumult of adolescence is just that--supposed and mythical. The purpose of this book is to study the transition from childhood into early and middle adolescence in order to investigate change along a wide variety of psychosocial dimensions with a particular focus on the self-image.

The authors investigate the impact of timing of pubertal change and also the movement from an intimate, elementary school context into a large-scale secondary school environment. The first major movement into a large-scale organizational context may cause difficulty for the child, as may the dramatic changes of puberty. In addition, gender differences and changes in gender differences are studied. Both short- and long-term consequences of transition are examined focusing on is the role of pubertal change and school transition.

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