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Jan 21, 2018

Should we consider adolescence to last until age 24?

Thinking of adolescence as lasting until age 24 “corresponds more closely” to how the lives of young people today work, writes an expert in adolescent health.

Compared to earlier generations, youth today are staying in school longer, marrying and having kids later, and buying a house later, writes Susan Sawyer, the chair of adolescent health at the University of Melbourne, in an op-ed published today in the journal The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health. The transition period from childhood to adulthood lasts far beyond age 19, when it is popularly thought to end. As a result, she writes, we should change our policies and services to better serve this population.

Sawyer is hardly the first to notice these lifestyle changes. In 2010, The...

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