Stead Family Department of Pediatrics

  • Issues Unique to Adolescence


    Adolescence represents the stage of human growth and development when the individual undergoes striking physical changes in addition to cognitive and psychosocial maturation. Medical problems common in adolescents reflect, in part, the interplay between physical and psychosocial development.


    • Recognize unique features of the physician-patient relationship during adolescence, including confidentiality and consent.
    • Describe strategies for interviewing and counseling adolescents.
    • Outline the sequence of pubertal development.
    • Identify on an illustration or a patient the physical characteristics of each stage of pubertal (sexual) maturation (i.e. the Tanner Stages).
    • Discuss the characteristics of early, mid, and late adolescence in terms of physical, cognitive, and psychosocial growth and development.
    • List the major causes of mortality and morbidity in adolescents.
    • Review the concepts of "risk-taking behavior" and "high-risk" youth.
    • Discuss approach to preventive counseling and identification of risk behaviors for these keys areas: sexuality/sexual activity (sexual orientation, contraception and sexually transmitted diseases), substance abuse, and personal safety (firearms, violence, motor vehicles).
    • Identify medical and psychosocial difficulties encountered by adolescents with chronic diseases (also see section on "Chronic Disease").
    • Recognize the features of psychosocial and mental health problems common in adolescence, including school avoidance/failure, eating disorders, depression and suicide