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Dealing with adolescents always has been a challenge for both parents and clinicians. In today’s society, adolescence is a prolonged developmental stage that lasts approximately 10 years, nominally described as between the ages of 11 and 22 years. An adolescent progresses through stages of biologic development as well as changes in psychological and social functioning. It is in this period that a person becomes both physically and psychologically mature and capable of independent living. Although some recent data show that 75% of adolescents and their families have a transitional experience that is trouble-free, many have described this period as one of “storm and stress.” Physicians caring for adolescents need to know how the influences of family and the adolescent peer group affect teenagers as they progress through the early (11 to 14 y), middle (15 to 17 y), and late (18...

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