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Adolescence now lasts until age of 24

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Adolescence now lasts from the ages of 10 to 24, although it used to be thought to end at 19, scientists say.

Young people continuing their education for longer, as well as delayed marriage and parenthood, has pushed back popular perceptions of when adulthood begins.

Changing the definition is vital to ensure laws stay appropriate, they write in an opinion piece in the Lancet Child & Adolescent Health journal.

But another expert warns doing so risks "further infantilising young people".

 

When puberty begins

Puberty is considered to start when the part of the brain known as the hypothalamus starts releasing a hormone that activates the body's pituitary and gonadal glands.

This used to happen around the age of 14 but has dropped with improved health and nutrition in much of the developed world to around the age of 10.

As a consequence, in industrialised countries such as the UK the average age for a girl's first menstruation has dropped by four years in the past 150 years.

Half of all females now have their period by 12 or 13 years of age.

 

Social policy

This social change, she says, needs to inform policy, such as by extending youth support services until the age of 25.

"Age definitions are always arbitrary", she writes, but "our current definition of adolescence is overly restricted".

"The ages of 10-24 years are a better fit with the development of adolescents nowadays."

Prof Russell Viner, president-elect of the Royal College of Paediatrics & Child Health, said: "In the UK, the average age for leaving home is now around 25 years for both men and women."

He supports extending the definition to cover adolescence up until the age of 24 and says a number of UK services already take this into account.

He said: "Statutory provision in England in terms of social care for care leavers and children with special educational needs now goes up to 24 years," as does provision of services for people with cystic fibrosis.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-42732442

 

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Guest messiah

lol no shit, your brain isnt fully developed until youre around 25. So yeah, until then, just be an adolescence. 

Spoiler

Took an Adolescence Psychology class last semester. 

 

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