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March 17, 1993

Promoting the Healthy Development of Adolescents

JAMA. 1993;269(11):1413-1415. doi:10.1001/jama.1993.03500110081040

ADOLESCENCE is a period of great risks and opportunities. The dramatic biological changes that accompany this transition are essentially the same as they have been for millennia, but the social context in which they occur is very different from earlier times and continues to change rapidly. Changes in the American family, the economic structure, the media, and the community have all affected the way adolescents live and interact with peers and with the rest of society. Within this social context, adolescents need to find ways to develop a vision of the future, to formulate an image of what adulthood offers and demands, and to work out a perception of opportunity and paths toward practical implementation of such opportunity.1

The profoundly transformed conditions of contemporary society present remarkable opportunities to shape behavior in ways that establish healthy life-styles that are likely to endure through the adult years, yet they also