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September 25, 2013

Adolescent Transitions

by Angel Pumila

Adolescent Transitions

Throughout development we go through many transitions that change our roles and responsibilities at a given time.  While transitions such as leaving elementary to begin middle school are marked by an event, there are other processes involved that affect who a person is and what they do on a daily basis.  The aforementioned example begins with socioemotional processes such as a social change, exploration, new relationships and experiences that impact one’s personality (Santrock, 2008, p. 20).  These changes also aid in evolving cognitive processes by changing thinking patterns through advancing education, new roles and reference point in which thinking is based upon.

The characteristics of developmental transitions apply across multiple domains: childhood to adolescence, adolescence to adulthood, and/or educational or career change.  While the introduction of new situations bring forth an unfamiliar set of problems to address, this does not threaten the developmental processes that each person experiences.  Studies find that day-to-day decision-making processes in these new situations are based upon familiarity and situational experiences of the past (Goodwin, 2012, p. 329).  As the new becomes the old, so does the frame of reference in which one uses to interact and identify their environment.  While there are stressors involved when transitioning to the unknown, the phenomena of human resilience reduces any long-term implications.  “Resilience does not come from rare and special qualities, but from the everyday magic of ordinary, normative human resources in the mind, brains, and bodies” of all individuals, “in their families and relationships, and in their communities” (Masten, 2001, p. 235).


Goodwin, N. P., Mrug, S., Borch, C., & Cillessen, A. N. (2012). Peer selection and socialization in adolescent depression: The role of school transitions. Journal Of Youth And Adolescence, 41(3), 320-332. doi:10.1007/s10964-011-9723-x

Masten, A. S. (2001). Ordinary magic: Resilience processes in development. American Psychologist, 56(3), 227-238. doi:10.1037/0003-066X.56.3.227

Santrock, J. W. (2008). Adolescence (12th ed.). Boston: McGraw Hill


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