Puberty, Developmental Processes, and Health Interventions

Authors: Russell Viner, Nicholas B. Allen, George Patton


Key dynamics of adolescent development and how they provide opportunities for intervention are examined in this chapter. Adolescence remains a time of great developmental plasticity and risk for the onset of a range of disorders that can carry a high burden of disease throughout the lifespan. It offers a critical developmental window of opportunity for intervention and prevention. Puberty and brain development during adolescence prove responsible for dramatic shifts in burden of disease, away from childhood conditions toward injuries and emerging noncommunicable diseases. Knowledge of the unique developmental processes that characterize adolescence and the role they play in both risk and opportunity during this phase of life has expanded rapidly. What remains includes the task of translating this knowledge into intervention and prevention methods that target modifiable, developmentally sensitive mechanisms to maximize the effectiveness of intervention approaches during this phase of life.


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