Skip main navigation

Developmental theories of adolescence

Watch as Katherine Main talks about the developmental theories of adolescence.

As we know, adolescence is now recognised as a time of opportunity and growth. It is a stage of development which strongly influences the future lives of young people.

In this video we will consider early adolescence as an important stage where changes in young people align with the onset of puberty and other significant physical, cognitive, social and emotional changes.

We will consider how experiencing positive relationships, being genuinely engaged in learning and developing high self-esteem can have a major and lasting impact on young people’s lives.

In the next step we’ll take a look at adolescent development across the four domains: physical, social, emotional and cognitive.

Your task

Watch the video and note down some of the key concepts discussed, then search the web for further resources that support the outcomes of the research by Laurence Steinberg.1

Share the links to the resources you find in the comments.

Don’t forget to take a look at the resources other learners have shared.


  1. Steinberg L. Age of opportunity: Lessons from the new science of adolescence. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; 2014. 

This article is from the free online

Supporting Adolescent Learners: Social and Emotional Wellbeing

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Reach your personal and professional goals

Unlock access to hundreds of expert online courses and degrees from top universities and educators to gain accredited qualifications and professional CV-building certificates.

Join over 18 million learners to launch, switch or build upon your career, all at your own pace, across a wide range of topic areas.

Start Learning now