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When Is the Endpoint of the Adolescence?
Psychoanal 2015;26:3-17
Published online April 30, 2015
© 2015 Korean Association of Psychoanalysis.

Geon Ho Bahn, Ji Eun Ryu, Yeon Jung Lee, Juhee Han, Aram Lee, and Minha Hong

1Department of Psychiatry, Kyung Hee University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
2Kyung Hee University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
3Department of Psychiatry, Soonchunhyang University Seoul Hospital, Seoul, Korea
4Department of Psychiatry, Kyung Hee University Hospital, Seoul, Korea
5Department of Psychiatry, Myongji Hospital, Goyang, Korea
cc This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
In the past, the human life span has been divided into childhood and adulthood. The importance of education has been evident since the Industrial Revolution, thus, a transitional stage called “adolescence” has emerged. Although adolescence was once consistent with puberty, when the release of hormones increases sharply, the definition of adolescence has been changing with socio-cultural changes. In Korea, social problems related to adolescence, such as suicide, internet gaming, juvenile delinquency, violence, and dropping out of school, are increasing. Apart from external problems, internal problems such as Japanese Hikkikomori are also increasing. With these changes, there is an important need to discuss the nature of adolescence. Whereas childhood is the stage that requires care-giving, adolescence is the stage when duty and responsibility emerge. In late adolescence, there is a transition period into adulthood and participation in society. Currently, as the importance of adolescence has been highlighted from various sectors, “the endpoint of the adolescence” is a stimulating theme in the psychiatric field. From a neuro-biological perspective, a greater understanding of adolescence becomes more important to solve adolescents’ emotional problems and for the legal demarcation of adolescence related to school violence and juvenile delinquency. If adolescence is not just the transition stage between childhood and adulthood, the exact endpoint for adolescence should be determined. Therefore, in this article we try to define the stage of adolescence in modern society from various approaches, including the historical background, the process of changes in the definition, and psycho-socio-bio-cultural aspects.
Keywords : Adolescence · Endpoint · Cultural · Spiritual · Biological · Puberty · Psychoanalytic psychotherapy

April 2020, 31 (2)
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