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Scientists say adolescence now lasts until the age of 24

Experts have argued the definition should be changed so that laws and social policy can be developed around it.

Image: Shutterstock/frantic00

SCIENTISTS HAVE SAID adolescence now last from the ages of 10 to 24.

In an opinion piece published in the Lancet Child & Adolescent Health journal, experts explained that the delays for young people now in exiting education, getting married and having children has shifted popular perceptions of when adulthood begins.

“Adolescence encompasses elements of biological growth and major social role transitions, both of which have changed in the past century,” they said. “Earlier puberty has accelerated the onset of adolescence in nearly all populations, while understanding of continued growth has lifted its endpoint age well into the 20s.”

The transition period from child to adulthood now occupies a greater portion of the life course than ever before, they argued, as “unprecedented social forces, including marketing and digital media, are affecting health and wellbeing across these years”.

The experts have said an expanded and more inclusive definition of adolescence is now essential for the development of appropriate laws, social policies and service systems.

“Rather than age 10–19 years, a definition of 10–24 years corresponds more closely to adolescent growth and popular understandings of this life phase and would facilitate extended investments across a broader range of settings.”

Read: ‘You can’t stop a student from competing because their mother is a scientist’>

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