In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Adolescents

  • Introduction
  • Introductory Works
  • Reference Resources
  • Treatment and Preventions
  • Substance Abuse
  • Eating Disorders
  • Sexuality

Related Articles Expand or collapse the "related articles" sectionabout

Forthcoming Articles Expand or collapse the "forthcoming articles" section


Social Work Adolescents
Lisa Rapp-Paglicci
  • LAST REVIEWED: 24 March 2021
  • LAST MODIFIED: 14 April 2011
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195389678-0037


The developmental period of adolescence has been a predominant area of inquiry since the late 1980s, with many scholars from many different fields examining this developmental stage. Many nonurban-agrarian cultures outside of the United States do not consider adolescence a specific or special developmental stage, but instead believe that children simply develop into adults without much ado. However, most scholars deem adolescence as quite critical for the successful development of an individual into a healthy adult. The domain of adolescence is very expansive and includes the study of development across multiple dimensions, including biological, physical, cognitive, emotional, and social. Culture, class, and diversity also impact this developmental trajectory and need to be considered. The greatest task of adolescence is identity formation, or determining who one is. This development stage also encompasses the study of peers, family, groups, emotions, love, sexuality, work, school, and stress. In addition, adolescents are vulnerable to specific problems, such as obesity, violence, substance abuse, mental illness, and suicide. This bibliography will cover the broad area of adolescence and three subtopics: substance abuse, eating disorders, and sexuality.

Introductory Works

The following introductory works provide an overview of the topic and a prologue to the subtopics. Readers interested in a beginning source that covers a wide variety of areas should begin with Adams and Berzonsky 2003, Kaplan 2004, or the website KidsHealth. Those interested in more theoretical information should read Cobb 2010. Dryfoos and Barkin 2006 offers an introduction to effective interventions and preventions for problems in adolescence, while Epstein 2007 offers a counter-viewpoint that questions the authenticity and necessity of the developmental stage of adolescence.

  • Adams, Gerald R., and Michael Berzonsky, eds. 2003. Blackwell handbook of adolescence. Malden, MA: Blackwell.

    Written by leading authors in the area of adolescence; each chapter includes cutting edge theory and research. Topics include biological, genetic, and cognitive information, personal relationships, and problem behaviors.

  • Dryfoos, Joy G., and Carol Barkin. 2006. Adolescence: Growing up in America today. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

    Examines major aspects of adolescent life and offers solutions to problems based on state-of-the-art prevention and treatment.

  • Cobb, Nancy. 2010. Adolescence: Continuity, change and diversity. 7th ed. Sunderland, MA: Sinuaer Associates.

    Emphasizes several theoretical perspectives and places a strong emphasis on identity and diversity issues. Also provides extended information on bullying and issues occurring in early and late adolescence.

  • Epstein, Robert. 2007. The case against adolescence: Rediscovering the adult in every teen. Sanger, CA: Quill Driver Books/Word Dancer Press.

    The author presents a compelling argument for dispelling the mythical stage of adolescence that society has created and treating teens as young adults. Seen as controversial, the book challenges parents, educators, and all adults to approach adolescents in a more adultlike manner and provide opportunities to facilitate their initiative and reduce their problem behavior.

  • Kaplan, Paul. 2004. Adolescence. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

    Utilizes multiple theories and current research to discuss the developmental stage of adolescence. Issues pertinent to this stage, like violence, drug use, and stress, are also examined.

  • KidsHealth.

    Provides a comprehensive overview on children and adolescence for parents and youth. Topics include health, safety, eating, substances, sexuality, schools, and more.

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