Adolescence, typically defined as the second decade of life, serves as the crossroads between childhood and adulthood. It is a developmental period characterized by rapid physical, biological, cognitive, and social changes. Many challenges of adulthood, including substance use and mental health challenges, often have their roots in adolescence, and positive experiences and advantages during adolescence often translate into more advantaged outcomes in adulthood, such as greater educational attainment and economic well-being. Life course theory provides a useful lens for understanding the developmental advances occurring during adolescence; it views lives as dynamically unfolding in transaction with social contexts.

Specifically, life course theory views adolescence as a tapestry of intertwined developmental trajectories (physical, cognitive, and psychological growth) and linked lives (growing and changing webs of interpersonal relationships) embedded ...

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