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SWK501 Human Lifespan And Social Ecology

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Evaluate the following statement and formulate a discussion from the multidimensional, social work perspective. In your discussion, combine research studies and examples to analyse the adolescent stage of life-span development.
"Adolescents stage is by large the most stressful period of human life-span development."





Adolescence is the transitional stage of growth and development between childhood and adulthood (Curtis, 2015). According to the world health organization, the adolescent is any individual or person between ages ten to nineteen (World Health Organisation, 2019). In various societies, the adolescence is intently equated with the puberty and the cycle of bodily alterations culminating in broader terms that encompass mental, moral and social terrain along with the strictly physical characteristics of maturation. Adolescence is the phase or period of great changes for young individuals when physical alterations are happening at the accelerated rate.  Throughout this stage, the individual faces various issues or problems like increased emotional separation from the carers or parents (Curtis, 2015). There are three different stages in the adolescent period; initial adolescence, middle or central adolescence and late or last adolescence. The early adolescence is recognized from 10 to 12 years, the middle one is identified with the age between 12 to 16 and the late adolescence is characterized by the age group of 16 to 19. In the early phase the growth rate has been increased, in the middle phase the peak of the height related velocity curve can be seen, and in the late phase the growth of secondary sex feature is completed (Mandarino, 2014). In this particular report, the discussion will be made on whether the adolescent stage is the most stressful period of the human lifespan or not.

Adolescents and stress 

The human life is all about joy, sorrows, achievements and failures, wellness and sickness, poverty and wealth. There is a little or no possibility that a person had no issues or problems in his or her life. Social, psychological and social issues arise at different stages of life. Most of the researchers and experts identified and state that the adolescent stage is the most stressful stage of human life. When alterations occur, people find it difficult to adjust or adapt and this might leads to an issue (Seiffge-Krenke, 2013). Education and training are one of the main phases of adolescents that may cause stress among young people. High school life at some extent felt stressful by the teenagers and their carers or carers as the curricular and extra-curricular happenings along with school life and family life leads to stress among them. There are three dissimilar stages of adolescence as mentioned above. In the early adolescence, the adolescents start initiating freedom or independence from the guardians or family and look for privacy. There might be a clash between the parental authority and the wish for adolescent’s autonomy. In the middle adolescence during this, the body is influenced by the genetic features and nutrition status. The eruptions if the secondary permanent menarche and molar closely correspond in timing (Seiffge?Krenke, Aunola, & Nurmi, 2009). During this stage the peer and school groups gain more importance, the decisions of education and vocations are made. The maturation can affect institute performance and desires for batter achievements as the physical effects of the pubertal developments turned in to incorporate into the self-image. In the late adolescence stage, the decisions associated with career are finally traced and the teenager gradually returns to the guardian or family on a novel footings.

One of the ultimate times of stress for relatives or families is the beginning of the Adolescent or teen years (Brougham, Zail, Mendoza, & Miller, 2009). In today's multifaceted communities, this period can be additionally stormy than ever before. The terrifying actualities of AIDS, drug usage, violence, and destroyed homes enhance a real element to stress that development being an adolescent one of the highest challenges a youngster may face. It is known that No parent is faultless. Irrespective of age, all youngsters face the stresses of lifespan and are just as disposed to stress responses as everyone else (Adkins, Wang, Dupre, Van den Oord, & Elder Jr, 2009).


Research studies related to adolescence and stress

According to Schraml, Perski, Grossi, & Simonsson-Sarnecki, (2011), higher than 30% of the high school learners reported feeling serious stress indications, while a subcategory of 8.2 percent were reported to have serious signs, which would be measured a sign of prolonged stress in than adults and thereby designate an intensified threat for stress- associated sicknesses later in life. They further revealed that teenage girls have also been reported to be additional sensitive than the boys to the opinions and assessments of others. They are likewise more negatively pretentious when they obtain feedback designating that they are not doing things adequately. Therefore, ladies’ levels of observed self-worth and, subsequently, even their overall well-being, are more probable to alter contingent on how they themselves or others, particularly parents assess their successes (Schraml, Perski, Grossi, & Simonsson-Sarnecki, 2011).

On the other hands Casey, Jones, Levita, Libby, Pattwell, Ruberry, & Somerville (2010), stated that both atmospheric and hereditary factors can worsen the unevenness between the limbic and control areas and in turn results in larger storm and stress in certain persons over other individuals.  They also found that augmented risk in puberty for storm and stress is related to different developing routes of subcortical emotional schemes and cortical mechanism regions. This distinction growth may results in an inequality in results by subcortical areas above prefrontal ones and amplified expressive reactivity (Casey et al., 2010).

Fuhrmann, Knoll, & Blakemore (2015), revealed that the involvement of acculturation pressure attributable to relocation, for instance, forecasts longitudinally adopting signs like depression and concern in teenage years. There is an indication; too, however, that mistreatment or bullying in early teenage years also has permanent effects on bodily and mental wellbeing in adulthood. Adolescence might also be a profound period for retrieval from the involvement of communal stress. Distress extinction knowledge is crucial point for a strong reaction to stressful events, for instance. For psychiatric situations such as after trauma stress disorder (PTSD), stress continues even after the stress causing agent does no longer exist. Fear extermination knowledge has been establish to be lessened in adolescence as associated with babyhood and maturity in humans.


Another study conducted by Heim, & Binder (2012) reported that adolescence is the maximum stressful phase of humanoid life. They further found that initial life stress takes place throughout dissimilar age groups in childhood, with the earliest age group of one to three years being most exaggerated.  The teenage stage is not a relaxed stage by any criteria. The Teenage struggles between the dependency and freedom. They are held between what their guardians or parents expect from themselves and what they desire. They are tangled about what they actually want to sort out and remain. Community on the complete does not create things easy.

Adolescence is particularly problematic for boys and girls to manage with, for two causes. First, during childhood, their difficulties were encountered and solved in fragment at least by parents and educators resulting in numerous Adolescents being inexpert in coping with difficulties alone (Mueller, Maheu, Dozier, Peloso, Mandell, Leibenluft, & Ernst, 2010). Second, as Adolescents sense that they are self-governing, they request the right of managing with their own individuality, they request the right of managing with their own glitches, regulating the efforts of parents and educators to support them. Their incapability to cope with glitches or issues results in their discovery that the answers do not every time come up to their prospects (Mueller, et al., 2010).


Changes in the expression of emotions are another issue of adolescents' experience. Emotional expressions of teenagers are significantly influenced by adulthood and training. They do not direct their emotions openly like young kids but have excessive regulation over them. Feelings become less common and more particular in expressions. With mature guidance, they are capable to control childish anger, distrust, panic etc (Skeer, McCormick, Normand, Buka, & Gilman, 2009). They learn from them to use those feelings, which are additional likely to be publically accepted; in case of a Teenage, the amplified emotionality occurs from the bodily and glandular alterations (Chawla, Keena, Pevec, & Stanley, 2014). Occasionally, these alterations make it problematic for them to make essential adjustments to novel forms of behavior and new communal expectation. As an outcome, the Teenage may suffer from concern and social stress. Hence this phase is also called the age of storm and stress (Skeer, et al., 2009)


According to Sigmund Freud theory, conflict is the critical part of the bodily variations of Adolescence; Freud observed conflict as the preparatory sensation to the genital phase of matured grown-up’s sexuality. Anna Freud reflected the Teenage years additional important for the creation of personality. She supposed that the libido that quieted during the latency years revives in Adolescence and intimidates to distress the subtle stabilize the ego and id. The subsequent anxiety appeals forth such an ego protection mechanism as intellectualization and the asceticism (Rudolph, & Flynn, 2009).

  1. Stanley Hall clarifies the "storm and stress" of Puberty. Hall, the chief psychologist to express a theory of Adolescence suggested that the main physical variations that happen at this period cause major mental changes. He supposed that young individual’s efforts to regulate their altering bodies escorted in a time of "storm and stress" (Hollenstein, & Lougheed, 2013). Hall observed Adolescence as the period of penetrating, fluctuating feelings from which young persons might emerge ethically stronger. Though this opinion of Adolescence as a customarily stormy phase of life was broadly accepted for numerous years, the leading opinion nowadays is that storm and stress are not predictable for most Teenagers (Hashmi, 2013).

According to Yusoff, M. S. B. (2010) the occurrence of stress amongst secondary school learners in a Malaysian supervision school was great. Academic-associated difficulties were the main stressor amongst the scholars. The most recurrent managing approaches being used by the learners were optimistic coping approaches. A study conducted by Ang et al. (2009), on 289 Canadian and 310 Singaporean adolescents and found that Singaporean teenagers have shown that burdens to succeed academically reproduce the stress to excel in the institute and to acquire a high paying occupation with high position. Singaporean youngsters reported a considerably advanced level of educational stress ascending from self-hopes, other prospects, and overall educational stress paralleled to Canadian teen-agers.

On the other hand, Doremus-Fitzwater, Varlinskaya, & Spear (2009), reported that even though Teenage years is linked with possibly stressful encounters, and teen-agers might vary from grown-ups in their pressure quickly, nonetheless it is not clear that whether the adolescents experience more stress than adults or not.  Social encounter at numerous levels, changeable from shared levels to particular social assemblies, like the family or friend groups, can upsurge stress that has destructive significances for healthiness and the well-being of kids and teen-agers



Adolescence stage is defined as the transitional phase of progress and development of human lifespan.  The prevalence of stress among adolescents is more serious than other epidemiological studies associated with the child or adults stress.  The stress among the secondary school learners of government schools in Malaysia was recorded high. An individual in his or her life experiences various adverse situations that lead to psychological or emotional problems.  Adolescents face more different or issues in their life like emotional serration. This particular discussed whether the adolescents' phase more stressful events in their life span or not. Various researchers and experts supported the fact that adolescence is the most stressful stage of human lifespan development and found that the stress can occur from different sources such as academics, love life, family conflicts, biological factors, parents separations, and changes in the emotions and expressions. Some of the theories related to stress in adolescents like Sigmund Freud theory and storm and stress theory suggested that adolescents face more stress in their life span.  Sigmund Freud theory suggested that in this stage the ego ad id balance is usually disturbing and the anxiety occurs due to this cause activation of ego defense mechanisms which ultimately results in stress.   Although different studies do not support the statement after reviewing different articles and theories it can be concluded that the statement “Adolescent stage is by large the most stressful period of human life-span development” is relatively correct and convincing.



Adkins, D. E., Wang, V., Dupre, M. E., Van den Oord, E. J., & Elder Jr, G. H. (2009). Structure and stress: Trajectories of depressive symptoms across adolescence and young adulthood. Social Forces, 88(1), 31-60.

Ang, R. P., Klassen, R. M., Chong, W. H., Huan, V. S., Wong, I. Y., Yeo, L. S., & Krawchuk, L. L. (2009). Cross-cultural invariance of the academic expectations stresses inventory: Adolescent samples from Canada and Singapore. Journal of Adolescence, 32(5), 1225-1237.

Brougham, R. R., Zail, C. M., Mendoza, C. M., & Miller, J. R. (2009). Stress, sex differences, and coping strategies among college students. Current psychology, 28(2), 85-97.

Casey, B. J., Jones, R. M., Levita, L., Libby, V., Pattwell, S. S., Ruberry, E. J., ... & Somerville, L. H. (2010). The storm and stress of adolescence: insights from human imaging and mouse genetics. Developmental Psychobiology: The Journal of the International Society for Developmental Psychobiology, 52(3), 225-235.

Chawla, L., Keena, K., Pevec, I., & Stanley, E. (2014). Green schoolyards as havens from stress and resources for resilience in childhood and adolescence. Health & place, 28, 1-13.

Curtis, A. C. (2015). Defining adolescence. Journal of Adolescent and Family Health, 7(2), 2.

Doremus-Fitzwater, T. L., Varlinskaya, E. I., & Spear, L. P. (2009). Social and non-social anxiety in adolescent and adult rats after repeated restraint. Physiology & behavior, 97(3-4), 484-494.

Fuhrmann, D., Knoll, L. J., & Blakemore, S. J. (2015). Adolescence as a sensitive period of brain development. Trends in cognitive sciences, 19(10), 558-566.

Hashmi, S. A. B. A. (2013). Adolescence: An age of storm and stress. Review of Arts and Humanities, 2(1).

Heim, C., & Binder, E. B. (2012). Current research trends in early life stress and depression: Review of human studies on sensitive periods, gene-environment interactions, and epigenetics. Experimental Neurology, 233(1), 102-111.

Hollenstein, T., & Lougheed, J. P. (2013). Beyond storm and stress: Typicality, transactions, timing, and temperament to account for the adolescent change. American Psychologist, 68(6), 444.

Mandarino, K. (2014). Transitional-age youths: barriers to accessing adult mental health services and the changing definition of adolescence. Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment, 24(4), 462-474.

Mueller, S. C., Maheu, F. S., Dozier, M., Peloso, E., Mandell, D., Leibenluft, E., & Ernst, M. (2010). Early-life stress is associated with impairment in cognitive control in adolescence: an fMRI study. Neuropsychologia, 48(10), 3037-3044.

Rudolph, K. D., & Flynn, M. (2009). Adolescent depression. Handbook of depression, 2, 444-466.

Schraml, K., Perski, A., Grossi, G., & Simonsson-Sarnecki, M. (2011). Stress symptoms among adolescents: The role of subjective psychosocial conditions, lifestyle, and self-esteem. Journal of Adolescence, 34(5), 987-996.

Seiffge-Krenke, I. (2013). Stress, coping, and relationships in adolescence. Psychology Press.

Seiffge?Krenke, I., Aunola, K., & Nurmi, J. E. (2009). Changes in stress perception and coping during adolescence: The role of situational and personal factors. Child development, 80(1), 259-279.

Skeer, M., McCormick, M. C., Normand, S. L. T., Buka, S. L., & Gilman, S. E. (2009). A prospective study of familial conflict, psychological stress, and the development of substance use disorders in adolescence. Drug and alcohol dependence, 104(1-2), 65-72.

World Health Organisation (2019). Adolescent health and development. Retrieved from:

Yusoff, M. S. B. (2010). Stress, stressors and coping strategies among secondary school students in a Malaysian government secondary school: Initial findings. ASEAN Journal of Psychiatry, 11(2), 1-10.

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