Adolescence now lasts from 10 to 24, scientists suggest

'Adulthood' doesn't begin until mid-twenties - Scientists

Adolescence now lasts from 10 to 24

The study asserts that while the legal age, according to most laws, start at 18 years, in terms of biological changes, the brain continues to mature even after the age of 20.

The transition period from child to adulthood now occupies a greater portion of the life course than ever before, they argued, as "unprecedented social forces, including marketing and digital media, are affecting health and wellbeing across these years".

And young people are moving away from their parents, getting married, and having their own children later than at any other point in history. According to a study, gradual changes in biological growth and social role transitions - coupled with delayed marriage and parenthood - have pushed back the period of adolescence between ages 10-24 rather than the previously known 10-19 years.

For example, in industrialised countries, such as Britain, the average age of a girl's first menstruation had dropped by four years over the past 150 years, said a BBC report.

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While the brain would start thinking more maturely after 20 years of age, humans are in a rush to achieve the maximum in as minimum age as possible.

"My experience of young people is that they still need quite a considerable amount of support and help beyond that age". This showed an increase of nearly eight years since 1973.

Professor Susan Sawyer, director of the centre for adolescent health at the Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne, calls the dynamic "semi-dependency".

A realistic understanding of this transitional time "is essential for developmentally appropriate framing of laws, social policies, and service systems", the paper's authors argue. However, critics warn that doing so would only continue to infantilize the younger generations. In a 2012 study on the subject, she wrote that inconsistent age definitions only serve to compound the problem of addressing adolescent health concerns.

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