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Differences between adolescence and puberty


Many confuse the terms puberty and adolescence. There are those who even consider them synonymous. And they are completely wrong.

Adolescence is a period of life between childhood and adulthood. Puberty is already the stage where the development of the body occurs, due to hormones, being a phase of adolescence.

Puberty is the period from the time is marked when hormones are outcropping and begin to be felt bodily changes such as appearance of hair, hoarseness, emergence of sines, among others; that is, a child may be going through puberty

 Although adolescence is preceded by the physical changes that take place during puberty, it is known to become more evident about two years after its onset. Puberty, on the other hand, is a “movable party” in its beginnings, which vary according to climatic and hereditary factors (characteristic family history), and which can be triggered or delayed by multiple causes.

Puberty is best described as the period during which the body acquires adult characteristics, and adolescence as the time in which the person grows and develops psychologically, emotionally and socially. One author proposed the term pubescence to designate the period of bodily transformation that culminates in puberty.

The point is that, at any given moment, the whole growing organism accelerates its rhythm: the child begins his puberty. Until recently, girls and boys grew at a similar rate, but now they begin to differentiate remarkably. In the girl, the pubertal process, with the striking spurt, begins between the ages of 9 and 10 (note here that the development of women is generally two years prior to men), reaching their maximum values ​​between the 12 and 13 years. On the other hand, the male begins to grow between the ages of 11 and 12, reaching beyond the values ​​of the other sex between 14 and 15 years. Of course, both are not only differentiated by the different forms of growth, but also because there is a period where the interests of the two sexes are separated: while the girl observes that she is becoming a woman, the boy continues with his existence as a prepubescent child. At age 14, the male reaches an average height greater than the girl, who has generally ended her puberal push. After these years, the dialogue between the two sexes … which is already in a situation of equality.

 Puberty is the time of life in which there is a pluriglandular crisis that affects the whole body and marks the beginning of sexual life which are already in a situation of some equality.

It has been said that the onset of puberty is an act of nature and adolescence an act of man. Certainly, puberty is an inevitable biological fact, while-in a sense-adolescence is a social creation. In essence, the term adolescence refers to psychological growth related (broadly) to the processes of physical growth defined by the term puberty. In other words, adolescence begins in biology and ends in the culture of a particular society (for example, when children achieve a reasonable degree of psychological and / or economic independence from their parents). One point to remember is that the main task of the adolescent stage is to configure and consolidate one’s identity as a single and mature person.

In spanish the distinction between adolescence and puberty was clear. It first meant the transition to adulthood, and the second meant sexual transformation, especially that of the male. In fact, the term puberty comes from the Latin term pubes, meaning hair (short, soft hair that covers certain parts of the body). The Romans considered the hair as a sign of virility. Thus, the verb pubesceré means to cover up with hair, to become pubescent, to enter into adolescence, and pubertas means puberty proper, sign of puberty, virile faculty (it is not spoken of pubic girl, and it is said more of her which is nubil, of nubilis :of marriageable age). The phenomenon of the appearance of the hair is the one that most attracted the attention of our Roman ancestors, and it seemed to them a sign of the acquisition of the virile faculty (it is necessary to notice that the appearance of the hair in the pubis is still a current medical criterion for determine puberty).

Summary of the difference between adolescence and puberty

Unlike puberty, which begins at a certain age at 10 or 13 due to hormonal changes, adolescence can vary greatly in age and duration in each individual as this relates not only to maturation of the individual’s psyche but also depends on broader and more complex psycho-social factors, originating mainly in the family.

Adolescence is a longer period than puberty , puberty is actually a stage of adolescence.

Puberty is a act of nature  while adolescence is a social creation .

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