Adolescent Psychosocial, Social, and Cognitive development : Social Development

Adolescent Psychosocial, Social, and Cognitive development


The cognitive and psychosocial development of adolescents is variable. Asynchrony among physical, cognitive, and psychosocial development may limit the adolescents’ ability to perceive and judge risk effectively and may result in adolescent views that are incongruous with parents or guardians. Pediatricians can help adolescents to transition through this important developmental period while simultaneously providing parents with appropriate guidance and support.


After completing this article, readers should be able to:

  1. Understand the stages of cognitive and psychosocial adolescent development.
  2. Understand the role of the imaginary audience and the personal fable in adolescent development.
  3. Recognize the implications of early pubertal timing.
  4. Be able to communicate effectively with adolescents and address developmental concerns that may arise.

Cognitive Development

Adolescence marks the transition from childhood into adulthood. It is characterized by cognitive, psychosocial, and emotional development. Cognitive development is the progression of thinking from the way a child does to the way an adult does.

There are 3 main areas of cognitive development that occur during adolescence. First, adolescents develop more advanced reasoning skills, including the ability to explore a full range of possibilities inherent in a situation, think hypothetically (contrary-fact situations), and use a logical thought process.

Second, adolescents develop the ability to think abstractly. Adolescents move from being concrete thinkers, who think of things that they have direct contact with or knowledge about, to abstract thinkers, who can imagine things not seen or experienced. This allows adolescents to have the capacity to love, think about spirituality, and participate in more advanced mathematics. Youth who remain at the level of a concrete thinker focus largely on physically present or real objects in problem solving and, as a result, may …

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Our adolescent peer groups influence our development in positive and potentially negative ways. Either way it is how we learn to conform to social norms, and when we move on from these peer groups we have an easier time adapting our behavior to other's expectations. For example, if you start a new job at a corporation with a well-defined culture you will find it easier to fit in if you have experience 'fitting in' as a youth. Those who have always felt on the outside continue to feel (and be) on the outside as adults and have a more difficult time becoming part of new new groups (study groups, project teams, key members of staff, and so on)

GRIN Verlag GmbH Adolescence: The physical, cognitive, social, personality, moral, and faith development of adolescence
eBooks (GRIN Verlag GmbH)