Healthy Adolescent Development

Risks and Opportunities
  • Nancy Leffert
  • Anne C. Petersen
Part of the The Plenum Series in Culture and Health book series (PSCH)


Adolescence is a time that is filled with opportunity, challenge, and risk. It is a time of opportunity because the child enters the period generally still possessing the “little girl” or “little boy” body and mind and leaves the second decade of life with a new body, many new skills, and the thinking and reasoning ability to use those new skills in sophisticated ways (Petersen & Leffert, 1995a). Along the way, the adolescent is confronted with many challenges, some of which are risky because they involve making decisions about behaviors that could endanger a healthy lifestyle in the future (Crockett & Petersen, 1993). In this chapter we will examine adolescence as a time of special health risk and opportunity. We will review the concept of adolescence as a developmental transition, critical aspects of development that may contribute to health risks, the domains of adolescent health risk, and opportunities for health promotion during adolescence.


Young People Problem Behavior Parenting Style Early Adolescence Adolescent Health 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nancy Leffert
    • 1
  • Anne C. Petersen
    • 2
  1. 1.Search InstituteMinneapolis
  2. 2.Institute of Child DevelopmentUniversity of MinnesotaMinneapolis

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