Adolescence is a transition period between childhood and adulthood. It is a stressful developmental period filled with major changes in physical maturity and sexuality, cognitive processes (ways of thinking and thought content), emotional feelings, and relationships with others.
Addressing the health care needs of this age group requires not only addressing identified health concerns, but also considering the complicated interactions of developmental changes on health care needs, the effectiveness of treatment, health education, and health promotion.
As adolescents begin to take responsibility for their own health, education and promotion of preventive health care is very important. Teaching preventive health care (about topics such as pregnancy prevention, sexually transmitted diseases, the effects of smoking, the need for immunizations, and substance use) and providing health education regarding specific health care needs to adolescents requires special consideration and effort to ensure understanding and encourage compliance.