Adolescence is a Period of Storm, Changes and Stress

About this sample

About this sample


Words: 1342 |

Pages: 3|

7 min read

Published: Aug 14, 2023

Words: 1342|Pages: 3|7 min read

Published: Aug 14, 2023

Table of contents

  1. Hormonal Changes and Physical Growth
  2. Causes and Effects of Cognitive Changes
  3. Emotional Development During the Adolescent Years
  4. Conclusion
  5. References

Adolescence is a period of storm and stress as we face with drastic changes in our bodies. Within this essay we will analyse what is going on with bodies and minds during adolescence stage of development. We will touch spheres of physical, cognitive, social and emotional changes. 

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Hormonal Changes and Physical Growth

To begin with, adolescence is when our bodies reach maturity which is typically found in the teenage years. During adolescence, our bodies go through many changes. Physical growth is brought about by the pituitary gland and at the same time, sex hormones are released by the reproductive system. In boys, testosterone increases muscles, hair growth, and shoulder broadness. In girls, estrogen increases breast growth, the maturation of the uterus and vaginal, and hip broadness. When these hormonal changes occur it is called puberty. The book, Psychology: From Inquiry to Understanding (4th Edition), defines puberty as “the achievement of sexual maturation resulting in the potential to reproduce”. Likely due to an increase in health and nutrition, children tend to reach adolescence at younger ages nowadays. It typically occurs in girls around the ages of 13-15 and boys around the ages of 9-10.

Causes and Effects of Cognitive Changes

Now let’s dive into the cognitive changes in adolescence. According to Piaget, the most abstract stages of reasoning and ability occur when we reach adolescence, and our cognitive development extends. While most of a human’s brain maturation happens before birth and in childhood; adolescence is when our frontal lobes become fully mature. Since the frontal lobes help us in planning, decision making, and impulse control, it becomes obvious why sometimes impulse decisions are made throughout adolescence. Along with this, limbic structures in the brain are more active in adolescence. What this means is that social rewards become present which causes teens to give in to peer-pressure and further risky experiences. Another thing that changes is connectivity in the brain. Some become more connected all while others become less connected. The result of this is a change in behaviors involving learning motivation, etc. Oftentimes, the risk-taking nature of teens is thought to be due to the fact that they feel invisible. However, that isn’t the case. Most adolescences know the risks they are just willing to take them even if they have to deal with the consequences. The last change in cognitive development change is adolescences’ attitudes toward knowledge. The main cause of this occurs when students are not given clear-cut answers. When students are given a question that doesn’t have an actual right or wrong answer they are often faced with confusion. So, in return, they form their answers not necessarily to what they believe but to what they think their professors will like. Over time, however, students will overcome this and realize there are many different ways to look at as well as answer questions.

Emotional Development During the Adolescent Years

The adolescent years can sometimes be thought of as good times and also sometimes thought of as bad times. Through research, however, it was found that only 20% of teens underwent turmoil; while the rest of teens went through the years without disorder or confusion. Research to prove this has found that the primary reason for the turmoil in teens is due to the fact that they cannot control their emotional reactions and, therefore, their problems are more noticeable. One big change that occurs during our adolescent years is finding our identity. The book defines identity as, “our sense of who we are, as well as our life goals and priorities”. With this in mind, Erik Erikson came up with a theory of the development of identity. Erikson’s model included 8 stages which spanned all through human-development. In each of the stages, there is a different psychosocial crisis. The book defines a psychosocial crisis as, “a dilemma concerning an individual’s relations to other people”. When these psychosocial crises occur we begin to understand who we are. While Erikson’s theory has had a large impact, it isn’t necessarily supported by very much evidence. For instance, there aren’t necessarily 8 stages and the order in which we go through them may be different. For a long time, anyone under 18 was termed and adolescent and anyone older than 18 was an adult. However, now the stage of life between 18-25 is called emerging adulthood. The book defines emerging adulthood as, “a period of life when many aspects of emotional development, identity, and personality become solidified”. In this time period, identities change and we ultimately become who we want to be. Along with this, moral development grows as well. As children become older and reach their adolescent years they understand what is morally correct. The last point to this is found through research from Lawrence Kohlberg. He researched morality throughout a person’s lifespan. In his research, he found the morality occurs in three stages: preconcentional morality, conventional morality, and postconventional morality. Preconcentional morality is when we are rewarded for doing things right and punished for doing things wrong. Conventional morality is when we focus on what society deems as right and wrong. And lastly, postconventional morality is when we focus on what is good for human rights and what isn’t. Kohlberg stated that everyone goes through these stages, however, they do so at different rates. Even though Kohlberg’s findings have had great significance, there has been criticism as well. An example is, many people argue that moral reasoning comes after emotional reactions, which differs from Kohlberg’s findings. Another example is, moral development doesn’t necessarily explain moral behavior. This being due to the fact that people may do morally incorrect things for different reasons, and some may be more justifiable than others.


In culmination, the journey through adolescence is an intricate tapestry woven with dynamic threads of physical, cognitive, social, and emotional changes. This transformative phase, though often marked by challenges and complexities, is a crucible of growth, resilience, and self-discovery. The physical metamorphosis that shapes the body, the cognitive leaps that expand the mind, the social connections that mold identities, and the emotional surges that color experiences all converge to form the mosaic of this developmental period.

As individuals navigate the storm and stress of adolescence, they are presented with opportunities to sculpt their identities, cultivate their skills, and forge connections that extend into adulthood. The cognitive maturation equips them with the ability to reason, problem-solve, and reflect, empowering them to make informed choices and shape their futures. The ebb and flow of emotions and the nuances of social interactions contribute to the emergence of empathy, resilience, and interpersonal understanding.

Adolescence, though marked by its tumultuous moments, is also marked by its potential. It is a chapter of life where both the turbulence and the triumphs contribute to the sculpting of unique individuals, each embodying a mosaic of experiences, insights, and aspirations. Through the lens of physical, cognitive, social, and emotional changes, it becomes evident that the path through adolescence is not merely a transition, but a transformative journey that ultimately shapes the trajectory of an individual's life.


Social Changes:

  1. Brown, B. B. (2004). Adolescents' relationships with peers. Handbook of adolescent psychology, 2, 363-394.

  2. Steinberg, L. (2014). Age of opportunity: Lessons from the new science of adolescence. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

  3. Collins, W. A. (2016). More than myth: The developmental significance of romantic relationships during adolescence. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 26(1), 1-4.

Emotional Changes:

  1. Larson, R., & Richards, M. H. (1991). Daily companionship in late childhood and early adolescence: Changing developmental contexts. Child Development, 62(2), 284-300.

  2. Steinberg, L., & Morris, A. S. (2001). Adolescent development. Annual Review of Psychology, 52(1), 83-110.

  3. Arnett, J. J. (1999). Adolescent storm and stress, reconsidered. American Psychologist, 54(5), 317-326.

Cognitive Changes:

  1. Piaget, J. (1970). Genetic epistemology. Columbia University Press.

  2. Casey, B. J., Getz, S., & Galvan, A. (2008). The adolescent brain. Developmental Review, 28(1), 62-77.

  3. Keating, D. P. (2004). Cognitive and brain development. Handbook of Adolescent Psychology, 45-84.

Physical Changes:

  1. Brooks-Gunn, J., Warren, M. P., Rosso, J., & Gargiulo, J. (1987). Validity of self-report measures of girls' pubertal status. Child Development, 58(3), 829-841.

  2. Tanner, J. M. (1978). Foetus into Man: Physical Growth from Conception to Maturity. Harvard University Press.

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  3. Steinberg, L. (2017). Adolescence. McGraw-Hill Education.

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Adolescence is a Period of Storm, Changes and Stress. (2023, August 14). GradesFixer. Retrieved April 19, 2024, from
“Adolescence is a Period of Storm, Changes and Stress.” GradesFixer, 14 Aug. 2023,
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