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April 1989

Adolescent HealthSynopsis of a Conference

Am J Dis Child. 1989;143(4):466-470. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1989.02150160096019

• Adolescence can be subdivided into three interrelated components: biological, psychological, and sociocultural. Although the biological and psychological development of adolescents are largely generic processes, the social and cultural aspects strongly influence how these two processes are experienced. The plenary sessions of the First Annual American Medical Association Congress on Adolescent Health focused on the sociocultural factors that are currently influencing the adolescent experience. The lack of adult mentors in the job market, at home, and at school have left adolescents with minimal opportunities to interact with and learn from adults. Firm guidelines for responsible adult behavior have diminished, both through the subverting influence of television and the trend toward a value-neutral approach in education and preventive programs. Productive roles for adolescents have also dwindled; adolescents are primarily regarded as consumers. Physicians can help address these sociocultural issues by being a receptive and concerned adult to adolescents and to probe beyond simple presenting medical complaints to identify underlying development problems.

(AJDC. 1989;143:466-470)