Adolescence: Disease, Disorder, or Disaster

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Originally published in Contemporary Psychology: APA Review of Books, 1978, Vol 23(11), 943–945. Reviews the book, Theory and Problems of Adolescent Development. 2nd ed by David P. Ausubel, Raymond Montemayor, and Pergrouhi (Najarian) Svajian (1977). The authors present adolescence as a disease caused by biological factors, of sudden onset, and (in American culture) of long duration. It is cured by adulthood. Adolescence is to be endured rather than understood, consisting of “bleak, frustration-laden years of transition” from child to adult status. The book is illuminated with discussions of adolescent development in a variety of cultures. The goal of the book is laudable, but it is not achieved for both stylistic and substantive reasons. It is not intended to guide those doing research on adolescence. Readers are given little idea about how to evaluate research in this area. Although there is a section describing methodology in developmental research, in the remainder of the text results are almost never discussed from a methodological standpoint. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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