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October 17, 1986

Adolescent Medicine

JAMA. 1986;256(15):2060-2061. doi:10.1001/jama.1986.03380150070013

Primary -L rimary care practitioners are being challenged to provide preventive and curative services to adolescents. Adolescent health services are ideally provided by physicians knowledgeable about normal adolescent growth and development, the practice of adolescent medicine, and the causes of major morbidity and mortality in this age group.1

Under the influence of hypothalamic, pituitary, adrenal, and gonadal hormones, physical growth during adolescence is dramatic.2 Psychological development during adolescence is equally dramatic. Early adolescents (10 to 14 years of age) are focused on the present, in marked contrast to late adolescents (17 to 20 years of age), who usually have attained the cognitive capacity to think ahead about their personal, sexual, and vocational identities. Middle adolescents (14 to 17 years old) are in transition between the stages of early and late adolescence and usually present the greatest challenge because of their struggle with independence, autonomy, and identity.3