Big brain evolution: adolescence ends when? (Evolution)

by David Turell @, Thursday, February 22, 2018, 17:54 (295 days ago) @ David Turell

Note this Nature article:

"Generations of researchers have painted adolescence as a span of unremitting hazards on the road to adulthood. In 1904, US psychologist G. Stanley Hall wrote an influential two-volume opus on adolescence, which he concluded was between the ages of 14 and 24. Hall, who focused his analysis largely on white boys, promoted the idea that adolescence is a time of upheaval. He blamed the mass media — in the form of cheap fictional pamphlets called ‘penny dreadfuls’ — as well as ‘immoral’ activities such as drinking and dancing for leading youths astray.


"But in many societies today, the conventional markers of adulthood are slipping to later in life. Young people spend more years at school, live with their parents for longer, and delay marriage and parenthood. Marriage, in particular, has historically been a key marker for adulthood in many cultures, says anthropologist Alice Schlegel at the University of Arizona in Tucson. The average age of women at first marriage has risen by two years globally over the past two decades, according to the United Nations. In some countries, that increase is more dramatic: in Brazil the average age has increased by 6 years to 27, and in several European countries the age is creeping over 30 (see ‘Age at marriage’).


"The hotchpotch of definitions in research articles, social policies and laws around the globe reveals a wide range of opinion about the end of adolescence (see ‘Sliding scales’). The World Health Organization set its boundaries at ages 10 and 19, but Susan Sawyer, chair of adolescent health at the University of Melbourne in Australia, and her colleagues have argued that this upper boundary should be raised to 24. In 2017, New Zealand revised its regulations regarding children in protective care: rather than sending them out on their own at the age of 18, the government continues to provide support into their twenties. The change came in response to reports that the adolescents were not coping well with independence at younger ages."

Comment: Age 25 still fits. Look at the graphic titled 'sliding scales'. These are generalities. Everyone matures differently and background parenting helps. I was not a risk taker in any sense. I was married and out of med school just after my 25th birthday, full of purpose and rigid ethics. I smoked a cigarette at 16, never again. Got drunk once at age 17 in college with my introduction to beer, and a second time at my first wine tasting in my 30's. Learned quickly, never again. I'm in general agreement with Tony's comments, but adolescent deserves lots more study.

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