Storming into Adulthood

o be normal during the adolescent period is by itself abnormal”   Anna Freud.

Ever since G. Stanley Hall first described the “storm and stress” seen in most adolescents, the perception of young people as emotional volcanoes ready to explode has taken on a life of its own.   In his 1904 book on adolescence, Hall suggested that storm and stress was an inevitable part of adolescent development.   His storm and stress hypothesis refers to the decreased self-control seen in adolescents (the “storm” part of the hypothesis) versus the increased sensitivity in adolescents to various arousing stimuli around them (the “stress”).    For Hall, storm and stress affected adolescent behaviour in three basic ways:

  • Conflict with parents
  • Mood disruptions
  • Risky behaviour

Though not all adolescents necessarily go through the storm and stress stage of development, Hall’s ideas about adolescence were fairly popular for their time.   In the decades that followed,  researchers and academics have tried to place their own spin on Hall’s developmental hypothesis and whether adolescent tension was due to biological factors or upbringing.

To read more, check out my new Psychology Today post.


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