Adolescence. The Transitional Years by J. Roy Hopkins

By J. Roy Hopkins

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Among the mothers, who were born between 1894 and 1917. 9 (Damon, Damon, Reed, & Valadian, 1969). Origins of these women were predominantly European. A similar trend holds for other ethnic groups. The Japanese Ministry of Education has compiled physical measurements on essentially all children in school since 1900 (except during the Second World War). Records of all girls who were 6 years old in 1900 and in 1950 were examined for age of menarche. 6 (Kimura, 1967). Similarly, average age of menarche among samples of girls in THE SECULAR TREND 35 FIGURE 2-2 Median ages at menarche in selected north­ ern European countries and the United States from 1845 to 1969.

Hypothalamus, pituitary, adrenal cortex, and gonads are interrelated in a complicated fashion. Sex hormones op­ erate as a link in a feedback mechanism because the hypothalamus modifies its action on the pituitary when the level of hormones in the bloodstream exceeds a certain threshold. This feedback mechaF I G U R E 2-4 M a j o r endocrine glands that convert cholesterol to sex-steroid hormones. ) Hormone produced in major amounts Hormone produced in minute amounts Major effects Ovaries Testes Adrenal Cortex Females only Males only Both males and females Cholesterol Cholesterol Cholesterol 1 !

A third transition concerns one's sense of identity, and fol­ lows directly from the first two. Identity is based in part on the re­ actions of others, and undergoes changes that parallel the physical and social transitions. Although these three elements cannot be isolated from each other, we may consider physical changes as the cornerstone, the transition that sets the process of status change in motion. Growth of the body toward mature sexual functioning dictates new interests and desires. Further, people begin to react differently toward the adolescent who is now more adultlike in behavior and appearance.

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