Adolescent Development Explained and other key resources from OPA

Published March 2021

Adolescent Development Explained

Adolescence is a time of enormous transition. Although adolescence may appear to be a turbulent time, it is also a period of great potential as young people engage more deeply with the world around them. Adolescents typically grow physically, try new activities, begin to think more critically, and develop more varied and complex relationships.

Adolescent Development Explained guide  

The Office of Population Affairs worked with the Johns Hopkins University, Bloomberg School of Health, Center for Adolescent Health to create a guide that examines the major developmental changes that occur in adolescence. Adolescent Development Explained provides suggestions on how parents and caring adults can support young people as they navigate through this critical period. OPA has recently refreshed this content to be fully accessible on its website.

The Five Areas of Adolescent Development

Adolescent Development Explained focuses specifically on the five areas of adolescent development:

  • Physical (hormonal changes and development)
  • Cognitive (changes in the way the brain functions)
  • Emotional (how adolescents process emotions and stress)
  • Social (changes in familial, social, and romantic relationships)
  • Morals and values (how adolescents regard their place in the world)

It is important to note that these five areas often overlap and intersect. Parents and other adults who care for and work with adolescents need to learn about adolescent development and continuously educate themselves about the realities of adolescent lives today. Teens’ lives are complex, can change quickly, and can present issues that did not exist (e.g., social media) or were not fully acknowledged (e.g., mental health disorders) for prior generations of adolescents. If parents and caring adults understand the challenges and opportunities that adolescents face today, they can provide more effective support and encouragement for the young people in their lives.

In Adolescent Development Explained, parents, caring adults, and professionals will learn about:

  • Changes that are a normal and necessary part of adolescence;
  • Different ways that adolescents experience these changes and reasons for this variation; and
  • How adults can support adolescents’ optimal health and development by guiding young people and helping them build the skills they need to thrive in the future.

Explore Adolescent Development Explained Online


Submit a Proposal to Present at the Title X Grantee Conference

To showcase the experience and expertise in delivering high-quality family planning-related preventive healthcare services, OPA is requesting grantees and other organizations submit proposals by March 29, 2021 to present at the Title X Grantee Conference on July 13-16, 2021. You don’t need to be a Title X grantee to present at the Title X National Grantee Conference! Presenters may be from academic, research, healthcare, or community settings.


Evaluation Training and Technical Assistance

OPA offers training and technical assistance materials to ensure that program evaluations are designed and implemented to meet research quality standards. Explore these recent publications:

Learn more about OPA’s research and evaluation activities to expand evidence and advancing best practices to improve adolescent health, reproductive health, and family planning.


Locate Your Nearest Title X Clinic

There are currently more than 2,600 public and private nonprofit health and community-based clinics in the United States that provide access to a broad range of family planning and related preventive health services to women, men, and adolescents. Title X services are voluntary, confidential, and provided regardless of one’s ability to pay. For many clients, the Title X clinic is the only ongoing source of healthcare and health education.

To help people find services in their area, you can direct them to the Family Planning Clinic Locator. They can type in a zip code or city into the search bar and the Family Planning Clinic Locator can pull up clinics within a 50-mile radius.

  Title X Clinic Locator image

May is National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month

National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month (NTPPM)—hosted annually in May by the Office of Population Affairs (OPA)—highlights the historic declines in the rates of teen pregnancy and births in the United States. Join OPA this May to celebrate the progress we have made in the past 10+ years and to explore how we can reduce disparities by focusing on populations with the greatest needs. Thank you to OPA’s Teen Pregnancy Prevention grantees and Title X Family Planning Program grantees for the work they have done and their accomplishments in preventing teen pregnancy.


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