Normality and adolescence.


Diagnostic work with adolescents has always been difficult. The problem is to distinguish serious psychopathology from mild crisis. We can now say, however, that a severe identity crisis and emotional turmoil are just not part of normal growing up. Our belief is that we do not help adolescents who experience such crises or turmoil when we tell them not to worry about their problems because they are a normal part of adolescence and because they will "grow out of it." In summary, we have presented data on the self-image of a large number of adolescents. We have stressed three things. First, we used self-administered questionnaires to collect our data. Most important, our data are consistent, and they are congruent with results obtained from use of other psychologic instruments such as interviews or parents' evaluations of their children. Second, we found that the normal groups of adolescents we studied were characterized more by their similarities than by their differences. The continuity of values for all our samples over an 18-year period and across cultures was especially impressive. Third, we stressed the diversity of adolescents' view of their psychologic worlds. These youths define normal functioning and development. They reside in our communities, and before we can help their disturbed peers who need professional help, we need to know what the norm is. Only then can we correctly diagnose and successfully treat the adolescents who do seek our help.

Cite this paper

@article{Offer1990NormalityAA, title={Normality and adolescence.}, author={Dafna Offer and E Ostrov and Kenneth I. Howard and Robyn M Atkinson}, journal={The Psychiatric clinics of North America}, year={1990}, volume={13 3}, pages={377-88} }