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Middle and Late Adolescence: Sex and Gender, Individuation, and Identity in Progression toward the Threshold of Adulthood 

Middle and Late Adolescence: Sex and Gender, Individuation, and Identity in Progression toward the Threshold of Adulthood
Chapter:
Middle and Late Adolescence: Sex and Gender, Individuation, and Identity in Progression toward the Threshold of Adulthood
Source:
The Little Book of Child and Adolescent Development
Author(s):

Karen J. Gilmore

and Pamela Meersand

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199899227.003.0007

This chapter describes the phases of middle and late adolescence, roughly corresponding to high school and college years, and distinguished by full immersion in the world of peers, assumption of adult sexuality, and a remarkable upsurge in risk behaviors attributed to heightened interest in sensation and action of all kinds, well ahead of the emergence of controls. The twin processes of individuation and identity formation are strongly supported by the concrete geographic move away from the family and the psychosocial moratorium provided by college. Deeper self-reflection, the emergence of independently determined beliefs, interests, and moral convictions, the sense of time, both past and future, the challenging reckoning with childhood trauma and disparate, conflicting components of identity, and the capacity to develop romantic, sexual relationships are the achievements of this epoch that extends into the early twenties.

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