19 Adolescent Health

Health Psychology


  1. Sheridan Phillips PhD,
  2. Sarah Edwards MD

Published Online: 26 SEP 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9781118133880.hop209019

Handbook of Psychology, Second Edition

Handbook of Psychology, Second Edition

How to Cite

Phillips, S. and Edwards, S. 2012. Adolescent Health. Handbook of Psychology, Second Edition. 9:IV:19.

Author Information

  1. University of Maryland School of Medicine, Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, Baltimore, Maryland, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 26 SEP 2012


Social changes in the past half-century have both expanded the concept of adolescence and markedly altered the threats to adolescent health. Biological changes in pubertal maturation have lowered the age at which adolescence begins, and economic and educational demands have expanded the upper limits of adolescence. Increased access to weapons, contraception, illegal substances, and motor vehicles, combined with changing social attitudes and reduced adult supervision (due to divorce and the increased proportion of working parents) have worsened the overall health status of contemporary American teenagers, compared with those in the 1950s and with Americans in all other age groups. At least 80% of morbidity and mortality in adolescence is behaviorally based and thus preventable or at least reducible. Improving adolescent health will require increased knowledge of effective prevention and treatment strategies, better dissemination of such information, and the willingness to make legislative and funding changes to enhance protective factors and reduce injury or risks.


  • adolescent health;
  • adolescent development and health;
  • adolescent sexuality and health;
  • new morbidity in adolescence;
  • morbidity and mortality in adolescence