Adolescence: A Very Short Introduction

ISBN : 9780199665563

Peter K. Smith
152 Pages
111 x 174 mm
Pub date
May 2016
Very Short Introductions


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  • Defines what adolescence is and when it occurs
  • Considers adolescence as a life stage - encompassing puberty, cognitive changes, and the search for identity; relationship changes; leisure activities; risk-taking and anti-social behaviours; adolescent mental health and romantic development
  • Adopts an interdisciplinary perspective to the topic, incorporating approaches from biology, anthropology, developmental psychology, and sociology
  • Explores the cultural and historical context of adolescence

Adolescence is a turbulent period to live through, and a time of importance and concern to parents, teachers, and social workers. Marking the transition from the world of childhood to adult life, the adolescent faces many challenges and opportunities, including forming their own identity, relating to often conflicting demands from parents and peers, and negotiating first romantic relationships. 
In this Very Short Introduction, Peter K. Smith provides an engaging and informative overview of what we know and what we are learning about adolescence. Including both a guide to the classical research that has informed our knowledge, as well as the results of the modern research into the contemporary adolescent experience, Smith examines a number of aspects of adolescence, including the cultural and historical context, the biological changes to the adolescent brain, and the controversies that adolescence brings.


1: Adolescence as a life stage
2: Puberty: body and brain changes
3: Cognitive aspects of adolescence
4: Relationship changes: parents and peers
5: Leisure pursuits and adolescents in the cyberworld
6: Risk taking in adolescence
7: Mental health in adolescence
8: Romantic development
Further Reading

About the author: 

Peter K Smith, Emeritus Professor, Goldsmiths, University of London
Peter K Smith is Emeritus Professor of Psychology at the Unit for School and Family Studies, Goldsmiths, University of London, U.K. He is author of Children and Play (Wiley-Blackwell, 2010) and Understanding School Bullying: Its Nature and Prevention Strategies(Sage Publications, 2014). He is co-author of Understanding Children's Development(Wiley-Blackwell, 5th ed. 2011), and co-editor of the Handbook of Childhood Social Development (2nd ed., Wiley-Blackwell, 2010) and Cyberbullying through the new media: Findings from an international network (Hove: Psychology Press, 2013). He is currently Principal Investigator of a European-Indian Network Project on Bullying, Cyberbullying, and School Safety and Wellbeing (2012-2015).

"Through a clear and fairly accessible language, Smith has created a concise and useful vade mecum on adolescence." - Sara Pisani, The Psychologist

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