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Maturation

Maturation refers to progress toward the biologically mature state that occurs concurrently with physical growth and behavioral development. Growth refers to the increase in size of the body as a whole and to changes in body dimensions and composition, organs, and related systems, while development refers to the acquisition of behaviors—cognitive, social, emotional, affective, and moral—appropriate for and expected by the culture within which the individual lives. Although the three processes, growth, maturation, and development, dominate the first two decades of life, they have implications into adulthood. This entry examines the biological maturation of children and adolescents, exploring maturity status and timing, and then details maturity-related implications across the life span.

Defining Maturity

Biological maturation is viewed in terms of status, tempo, and timing. Status refers ...

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