New Guidelines for where Adolescence Ends and Adulthood Begins

by Rachel Baker on September 23, 2013

In London, child psychologists have been given new directives which say the age range they work with is increasing from 0-18 to 0-25. Not sure if this applies in the United States yet, but here’s the story in the BBC:

The new guidance is to help ensure that when young people reach the age of 18 they do not fall through the gaps in the health and education system. The change follows developments in our understanding of emotional maturity, hormonal development and particularly brain activity.

“Neuroscience has made these massive advances where we now don’t think that things just stop at a certain age, that actually there’s evidence of brain development well into early twenties and that actually the time at which things stop is much later than we first thought,” says Antrobus.

There are three stages of adolescence – early adolescence from 12-14 years, middle adolescence from 15-17 years and late adolescence from 18 years and over.

Neuroscience has shown that a young person’s cognitive development continues into this later stage and that their emotional maturity, self-image and judgement will be affected until the prefrontal cortex of the brain has fully developed.

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