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Adolescent development or youth development is the process through which adolescents (alternately called youth or young adults) acquire the cognitive, social, and emotional skills and abilities required to navigate life. The experience of adolescence varies for every youth: culture, gender, and socioeconomic class are important influences on development. This development occurs throughout a young person's life, including formal and informal settings such as home, church, or school; and similar relationships, such as peer friendships, work, parenting, teaching, or mentoring.
Youth is an important developmental period described in, most psychological theories of human development from Sigmund Freud's theory of psychosexual development, Carl Jung, and in particular Erik Erikson.
Erikson's stages of psychosocial development identified adolescence is a time of identity formation). During each stage, behavior changes in response to biological maturation and changes in the social environment. The process of entering adulthood entails many decisions both conscious and not. The examination of this stage of life is rooted in the child development theories of John Dewey, Jean Piaget, and Erik Erikson.
- "As long as any adult thinks that he, like the parents and teachers of old, can become introspective, invoking his own youth to understand the youth before him, he is lost."
Youth development has been at the core of the mission of many youth organizations for almost 100 years. It is increasingly identified as an important component of school reform, led primarily by initiatives of the Carnegie Corporation and the Forum for Youth Investment. Other important international organizations include The European Knowledge Centre for Youth Policy and the Australian Clearinghouse for Youth Studies.
The sociological field of study that examines youth development is separated into myriad political examinations of young people, including positive youth development, or PYD, and community youth development, or CYD. Each of these entails particular connotations of the particular relevance or importance of young people to their families, schools, and communities. Important factors in each of these theories include youth/adult partnerships and youth voice. CYD also places high value on youth leadership and civic engagement.
- Child development
- Developmental age groups
- Developmental psychology
- Developmental stages
- Education reform
- Erikson's stages of psychosocial development
- Physical development
- Positive psychology
- Sex linked developmental differences
- Sexual development
- Youth culture
- Youth movement
- Youth organization
- Youth voice
- Youth leadership
- Youth work
- Center for Delinquency Prevention and Youth Development
- "What Is Youth Development? - from Academy for Educational Development
- "Positive Youth Development in the United States: Research Findings"
- "Journal of Youth Development"
- "Coming of Age in America" - An article by sociologist Mike Males situating Margaret Mead's perspectives on youth in the 20th century to the youth in the 21st.
- Center for Youth Development and Policy Research
- Global Youth Awards: Acknowledging youth achievement around the world
- National Youth Development Information Center
- Search Institute
- The Freechild Project An international youth development resource program of CommonAction that provides training and tools to young people and adults.
- What Kids Can Do
- Youth Taking Action - promoting youth leadership and involvement in social issues worldwide.
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