The term “adolescence” is a social construct

The term “adolescence” is a social construct, like other developmental phases in human growth and development, but unlike others, it breeds a lot of ambiguity. However, some experts view the term as a construct applied by adult members of the society to describe the person who is in the transition to acquire biological features peculiar to the adu1t population group. The term is derived from the Latin word meaning to grow up’ or ‘to grow into maturity’. Adolescence begins with the onset of physiologically normal puberty, and ends when an adult identity and behaviour are accepted. This period of development corresponds roughly to the period between the ages of 10 and 19 years, which is consistent with the World Health Organization’s definition of adolescence. Those responsible for providing healthcare to adolescents must a11ow sufficient flexibility in this age span to encompass special situations such as the emancipated minor or the young person with a chronic condition leading to delayed development or prolonged dependency.
According to Stanley Hall (1904) adolescence is a marvelous new birth, for the higher and more completely hwnan traits are now born. Adolescence is a period of marked change in the person’s cognitive, physical, psychological, and social development and in the individual’s relations with the people and institutions of the social world. In essence, the meaning of adolescence and the ages at which it begins
and ends, differ from culture to culture. Papalia (1993) defined adolescence as one yet in the nest and vainly attempting to fly while its wings have only pin feathers. Selman (1980) and Buhrmester and Furman (1987) stated that adolescence introduces a period of transition in family and social role expectations coupled with increase in the range and intimacy of social relationships. Patil (2003) reported that adolescence is accompanied by some stress, related to school, family and peers, and this stress can at times be difficult to control.
In some situations, the term is used interchangeably with youth even though they are significantly different. Adolescence like youth is a unique period of joy, vigour, opportunities as well as challenges as the individual begins to appreciate more vividly phenomena in his or her environment in a more personal manner (Ikorok, 2004). Adolescence is a period of change more rapid than at any other time in human development other than infancy. For the adolescent, this period is a dramatic challenge, one requiring adjustment to changes in the self, in the family, and in the peer group and also in the institutions