Date of Award

Spring 1972

Document Type





Some people define adolescence simply as an affliction Others, probably looking back, follow G. B. Shaw in describing it as such a wonderful time of life that it’s a shame to waste it on children, Freudians describe the period as dominated by sexual maturation and the flowering of sexual desire and heterosexual attachments. Some define the boundaries of the period as set by the beginning of puberty to the end of the maturation process. Probably a useful perspective is to set the lower limit physiologically (not earlier than the onset of puberty) and the upper limit socially (not later than the assumption of marital and occupational duties). Stated otherwise, adolescence does not begin before one is capable of reproduction and does not extend past entry into wedlock or full-time work. Prom a socialization perspective, it is essential that one defines adolescence as a system of rights and duties, a social role, and in order to do so one must set it in a social space. To do this, one need not speak chronologically but in terms of social expectancies. In turn, it is required to specify what particular society is being talked about, and in the present instance, except where otherwise noted for comparative purposes, the focus is on modern American society.