Why adolescence matters

An autobiography of a psychologist, by Dr John Coleman

In the course of my career many people have asked me why I study adolescence. Adolescence is without doubt the Cinderella subject within developmental psychology. It gets less attention than other topics in the textbooks, in the curriculum and on research agendas. So why would someone want to spend their life studying this rather unpopular stage of the life cycle?  Colleagues might suggest that the choice has something to do with my own experiences of the teenage years. Perhaps I am trying to understand my own “storm and stress”. Or am I someone who simply never grew up?

My own memories of adolescence are not unhappy ones, and I suspect that the reasons I study this topic are more to do with formative experiences in my early twenties than with any unresolved teenage trauma. Two things happened which influenced the direction of my career. In the first place, I spent my undergraduate years studying psychology at McGill University in Montreal. Unlike the situation in the UK, Canadian universities have long summer vacations, and these made it possible for me to find unusual vacation work placements. I spent one summer on the Lower East Side in New York, working in a church project with Latino youth. The long, hot months of June, July and August 1960 were taken up with attempting to keep the young people off the streets and out of trouble. In my second summer I got a job on a farm in Ontario, working with emotionally disturbed teenagers. These summers represented turning points in my career development, as I met inspirational adults, enjoyed myself hugely, and developed new skills.

Following graduation, I returned to England, and the second influential event occurred during the course of my PhD at University College, London. My supervisor had agreed to take me on as a postgraduate student on the condition that I would study the topic of aggression. She had four other students who were also working on various aspects of aggression. This was fine with me, as long as I could do something on children or young people. I came up with a proposal to study aggressive behaviour in the playground among 10 year-olds. My supervisor was dismissive. “That’s not good enough” she said. “Not much of a contribution to the literature in that!”.

For some weeks I wandered unhappily around North London, convinced I would never make the grade in the research world. Finally I had an inspiration. Why not study aggression in two age groups, rather than one?  By including 10 and 13 year-olds I would not only broaden the scope of the study, but I would also be able to look at that critical developmental phase – the beginning of adolescence.   My supervisor grudgingly accepted the idea, and so began a lifetime of interest in this topic.

Since that time I have worked with young people in a variety of settings, and in many different roles.  I have carried out a range of research projects, in schools, in the community, in prisons and in children’s homes.  I have worked as a clinical psychologist in adolescent units, and as the Director of a therapeutic community for very troubled teenagers.  I have been the Director of an independent research centre, and have held various academic positions, most recently as a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Oxford.  In the chapter that follows I will describe some of these experiences, and how they have shaped my views of adolescent development.

Whilst in many ways I have learnt an enormous amount during my career, it is true to say that many of the beliefs that motivate me now are no different from those that first inspired me in my early twenties. I believe that young people have significant strengths, as well as being wonderful companions.   Sadly adults too often see them as a threat rather than as a positive resource, thereby undermining many a good relationship.   I also think there is still a serious job to be done in demystifying adolescence for parents and for professional adults who spend much of their working life with this age group.   It is here that good research has such a valuable role to play.  Adolescent behaviour may appear puzzling and contradictory, but without too much effort it can be shown to make sense.  I see this as a key task for social scientists, who have a responsibility to make empirical knowledge accessible to the public.

 

A trip to Florida

In 1964 I was one year into my PhD, and was beginning to feel what will be familiar to many postgraduate students, a sense of frustration.  Although my research was interesting, I was spending most of my time very much alone with my thoughts and my books, interspersed with short visits to schools where I was attempting to collect my data.  I missed the atmosphere of North America, and wanted to recapture some of the excitement I had experienced in my undergraduate days.   I went to the library in London and identified a selection of child development research centres across the USA.  I wrote to them asking if they would take me on as an associate for a couple of months in the summer. It was a bold thing to do, and perhaps not surprisingly I received no replies!   I was just about to pack my bags and go off to spend the summer with my family in France when I received a letter from a Professor Wally Kennedy at Florida State University.  Yes, he replied, we would be happy to host you for the summer, as long as you do are not too fussy about what you do!

The Kennedys were warm and hospitable, and made me very welcome during my visit to Tallahassee, a city I have not even heard of beforehand.  One of the enduring memories of that time was of taking a boat on the weekends through the swamps and bayous of central Florida to the Kennedy’s river house, built on stilts and sitting above the water and well away from the alligators.  The Kennedys would invite a selection of students and colleagues for a couple of days in the wilds, and we would go fishing, eat wonderful food, and discuss psychology.  What a way to spend a weekend!

I worked as an assistant in the clinic in the Psychology Department at Florida State that summer, helping with assessments, doing interviews, and doing basic statistics for some of the staff.  I roomed with postgraduate students from Taiwan and Hong Kong, and learnt rudimentary Mandarin.  It was all so completely different from London, and fired my enthusiasm for different approaches in clinical interventions with families.  I began to think about family therapy, and to consider how to evaluate interventions in an ethical and rigorous manner.  However the most important lesson from that summer was a realisation that it was possible to combine research and practice. I had never contemplated the possibility of a university department offering clinical services.  This was a model that interested me greatly, since In England there appeared to be a rigid distinction between the academic world and the world of clinical practice.  I was much influenced by my experiences at Florida State, and in much of my subsequent work I have tried to find ways of bringing the two worlds together.

 

Whitechapel, in the East End of London

Following the completion of my PhD I undertook a training in clinical psychology.  In those days, in the mid-1960s, training was not as regulated as it is today, and as long as one was working with an identified senior psychologist and completed two years, involving experiences in two different settings, then that was considered sufficient.  I was enormously lucky, in that I was able to spend most of my training on placement in a children’s centre at the Middlesex Hospital in central London, working jointly with paediatricians and psychiatrists.  This provided me with an invaluable background in basic child and mental health, but it also introduced me to medical education, as the Middlesex was a teaching hospital as well as a centre of excellence in my field.

I was even more fortunate in that this was a period of expansion in medical education in the UK, and a new department of Psychiatry was being established at one of the oldest teaching hospitals in the capital – known as the London Hospital in the East End.  New posts were being advertised, including one for a Lecturer in Clinical Psychology.  I did not believe I had a chance, as I was too young for such a post, but I was encouraged by a colleague at the Middlesex to apply.  At that time I had never even travelled to the East End, and I remember asking someone how to get there!  I will never forget the moment when I stepped out of the tube station for the first time, to be met by the sights and sounds of the Whitechapel market.   No-one could avoid being struck by the noise, the variety of colours, the crowds of every nationality, and the sense of having arrived in a vibrant and diverse community.

The new academic unit of psychiatry was headed by an unusual man, Desmond Pond, one of the earliest proponents of community child psychiatry.  The post offered not only the chance to teach psychology to medical students and to do research, but also the opportunity to set up an innovative service for children and young people in this most deprived area of London.  Again I was fortunate in the extreme to have the chance to work in this setting, and to be able to collaborate with a group of remarkable colleagues.  It was not long before I was asked to appoint other lecturers in clinical psychology, and to plan a new service that would serve families in the East End.  This was a time when the term “non-accidental injury” in relation to young children was becoming widely used.  Many clinicians were wanting to address the needs of families, and to consider how to intervene early enough to prevent such things happening.

Whilst I continued to think about adolescence, and to retain an interest in this age group, I was asked to lead on the establishment of what become known as the London Pre-School Unit, a service for families with children under five who were considered to be at risk.  This unit was supported by the establishment of another initiative, the formation of the Family Research Unit, and so the two centres were able to work together, a model that I continue to believe is an ideal one for demonstrating how research and practice can facilitate and enhance each other’s efforts.  When one looks back it seems like a golden age. Funding was available for such initiatives, and there was every encouragement from the community and from other professionals for work of this sort. Indeed it was considered exciting and innovative that, rather than remaining in the clinic waiting for families to attend, we should go into the community and reach out to families who otherwise would never get as far as the clinic door.

It was a time of rapid learning for me, and many of the principles of developmental psychology served me well in an applied setting.  Through the use of video and a one-way mirror we helped parents to see their children in a different light. Behavioural concepts such as positive and negative reinforcement, and contingencies, were explained to mothers who had never thought of such ideas before. There was much discussion of theories of attachment, especially since writers such as Bowlby were influential in Britain at that time. Many of the mothers were depressed, vulnerable, and with a low sense of self-efficacy.  This was the time when new attempts were being made to understand parenting, and to recognise some of the factors that contribute to abuse.  Diana Baumrind, Mavis Hetherington and others were beginning to write about parenting styles, and I remember it as a time when contributions from psychologists were welcomed by other clinicians.

Once the Pre-School Unit was established and running well I had time to turn my attention to my other research interest – adolescence.  Following the completion of my PhD I had determined to take further the idea of a longitudinal study of this age group.  My doctoral research had identified, not surprisingly, many interesting differences between the 10 and 13 year-olds, and it seemed to me that this would be a fertile field for further investigation. After much deliberation I decided to carry out a study of four age groups, 11, 13, 15 and 17 year-olds.  Although a longitudinal study was out of the question because of the time it would take, I was able to plan a cross-sectional study looking at the way concepts and experiences of relationships differed over this age span.  This research culminated in my first book “Relationships in adolescence” (1974).

It was from this research that I formulated my focal theory of adolescent development.  The findings came out at a time when there was heated debate over the question of “storm and stress” in adolescence.  Many empirical studies had published evidence showing that the majority of young people coped reasonably well during this life stage, directly contradicting the notion that adolescence was a period of disturbance and turmoil. Thus these results posed a challenge to the theoretical positions of commentators such as Erik Ericson, most famously expressed in “Identity, youth and crisis” (1968).   Ericson was one of the pre-eminent writers at this time, and with his notion of this stage as one of “identity crisis”, he was seen as a champion of the “storm and stress” view. Yet empirical results did not support this idea, so how could one explain the disparities between theory and evidence?

A further question that fascinated me was how young people managed to adjust to the physical, emotional and social changes that were a part of this developmental stage. If most coped reasonably well, and yet they had to face a considerable array of developmental challenges, how did they do this?  My own findings showed that certain relationship issues came to the fore at different ages, so that, for example, concern over friendship choice peaked at one age, whilst anxieties about relationships with parents were more prominent at another age.  As a result of this evidence I formulated a model that reflected this phenomenon.  I called it the focal model, arguing that the majority of young people coped reasonably well with the challenges of this stage by focussing on different issues at different times, spacing out the problems and concerns they had to face.  Where this was impossible, because of environmental or contextual factors, development was rendered more problematic. One other feature of the focal model that I wanted to highlight had to do with agency.  Inherent in my model, I argued, was the notion that young people, by spacing out the issues, were expressing agency and showing how they were able to take control over their lives.  This remains a central feature of my current thinking (Coleman, 2011), and I am glad to say has been picked up my many other writers and researchers over the years (e.g. Goossens, 2006).

 

A therapeutic community for troubled teenagers

Ever since I had worked on a farm treating disturbed adolescents during a summer vacation in Canada, I had wanted to continue my work with troubled teenagers.  I had always dreamed of setting up such a facility in the UK, and from the mid-1970s I began to think seriously about whether such an enterprise might be possible.   As a preliminary step to the setting up of a new community, I obtained research funding for a project on children in care, I joined the Board of an organisation engaged in providing services for troubled adolescents, and I spent a summer visiting residential facilities in the USA.  This was a seminal experience, and helped me formulate how I would like to organise and run any centre that was to be established in England.  As part of my “tour d’horizon” I visited Boy’s Town in Omaha, Nebraska, as well as a variety of other facilities including a “boot camp” in Illinois and a very “alternative” therapeutic community in Maine.   What did I learn?

As I set out in my writing at that time (Coleman, 1980), I came to the conclusion that the theoretical model mattered less than other key features of any regime attempting to treat these young people.  The three features I considered to be critical were effective leadership, care of the staff team, and equality among the different professional backgrounds of staff.  I decided that, if staff were expected to provide support and nurturance to extremely deprived and needy teenagers, then the organisation had to demonstrate that the staff themselves were to be nurtured too.   I was also influenced at that time by a book called “The other 23 hours”.  In this book the author argued that it was all very well for psychiatrists or other trained staff to come in to the residential facility and provide “treatment” for an hour a day, but it was really what happened during the rest of the day and at night time that mattered as much, if not more.

When I finally did leave my post in London and moved down to Sussex to establish a residential community these principles were enshrined in the ethos of the centre.  I had also retained my interest in the model that I had seen working in Florida many years previously, and I hoped to set up at Chalvington a centre which would carry out training and research as well as providing a residential facility for the young people.  This was a joint venture with other like-minded colleagues, and without their support Chalvington would never have become a reality.  However, looking back now, I can see that our aspirations were very idealistic.  The task of actually running a residential therapeutic centre 24 hours a day 7 days a week, appointing and managing staff, and persuading those responsible for very troubled and troubling young people to refer them to our new facility proved daunting in the extreme.  Our finances became stretched, as referrals were at first slow to come in.  Staff who had initially signed up to the principles of the therapeutic community became less committed as they experienced sleepless nights working with young people who had climbed on to the roof at three in the morning.

In the first year it sometimes seemed more like anarchy than a well-organised community, and the strain took its toll on all who were associated with this venture.   Some thought that I had been naive in imagining that it would be possible to put into practice the principles that I had developed on paper.  I argued that it takes many years to establish a facility of the sort I had envisaged, and that we had to have faith and patience.  Some of the goals had to be abandoned, so the research took a back seat, and there was less training than I had hoped for.  However the residential work began to take root, the education began to show results, and as more young people were referred the community began to settle down.

Funding was a continual challenge.  When the plans had been drawn up, it was at a time when local authorities had sufficient finances to be able to send young people in care to new and innovative facilities, especially if they were open all year round, providing both education and treatment.  However during the 1980s local authority finances shrunk, and it became more difficult to persuade local authorities to use Chalvington for their most troubled teenagers.   Throughout the 1980s this proved the major obstacle to the work of the community.  For much of the time the place was full up, taking in its total complement of 20 young people.  However it was always hard to maintain the stability of the population, something that is essential for both staff and young people. Without the opportunity to establish long-term relationships it was always going to be a challenge to provide the therapeutic care that was Chalvington’s key objective.

As the beginning of the 1990s there was a general move away from the type of provision exemplified by Chalvington.  Many other therapeutic communities had to close due to lack of funding, and we were affected like everyone else by the pressures on local authorities.  Even if social workers believed that a placement at Chalvington was the right choice for a particular teenager, they found themselves unable to make the referral because of policies which blocked such placements.  In 1993 Chalvington closed its doors.  It was a brave attempt to put into practice a model of therapeutic care that would address all the needs of some of the most troubled young people in the country.  During the years it was open Chalvington helped more than 150 adolescents.  Many of them have made good progress, and it is rewarding to hear from them about their families and their achievements.  I have no regrets, but it was a hard  lesson in the clash between ideals and reality!

 

The Trust for the Study of Adolescence

At the end of the 1980s, once I had stepped back from a direct management role at Chalvington, I began to think again about some of the other objectives that had been in my mind a decade earlier.  I wanted very much to see a centre established that pursued some of the objectives that had been put to one side at Chalvington.   I wanted to see if it was possible to create an organisation that did at least combine research and some sort of direct practical work, even if this was with adults living and working with young people, rather than with adolescents themselves.  Many of my family and friends thought I should go back to an academic career, but I was still determined to pursue my ideals.  Since I had already taken a path that lay outside the established institutional structures of the university world, I made the decision that I was not ready to go back to that sort of career.

Two factors made this possible.  In the first place I had for some years been an advisor to the Prince of Wales’ charities, known at that time as the Princes’ Trust.  I received a great deal of support from all the people associated with the Trust, and the Trustees were generous enough to provide a grant enabling me to set up the new centre.  The second factor that played a key role in this initiative was the encouragement of colleagues who believed in my vision.  Some were brave enough to come and work with me, whilst others became members of a Board which provided the necessary framework for the project.

The Trust for the Study of Adolescence, or TSA as it became known, started work at the beginning of the 1990s.  It was based in Brighton in Sussex, and had as its objectives to pursue research on adolescence, to provide training for professionals working with young people, and to offer support to parents of teenagers.   It is important to say that there was no similar organisation in Britain, nor as far as I was aware, in any other country.  Whilst some university staff in the UK were carrying out research on this stage of the life course, funding was scarce, and at most there were one or two people in any academic institution interested in the topic of adolescence.

TSA grew from a handful of staff in the early years to a complement of 32 staff when I left in 2005.  The first few years were hard-going, and we were often asked why we bad established ourselves as an independent unit, rather than basing ourselves in a university setting.  We were clear, however, that only by being independent would it be possible to combine research and practice in the way we wanted.   We developed very close links with universities, especially those in the south of England, but retaining our autonomy enabled us publish materials, run training courses, and concentrate on taking the evidence base to the public in a way that would have been impossible in an academic setting.  In the early years we concentrated on projects that would raise our profile, as well as meeting our main objectives.  Thus, for example, we developed educational materials for parents of teenagers, and we ran conferences on neglected topics such as young fathers, suicide in adolescence, and the experience of leaving care.

One question that dominated the early years of TSA was how to choose the topics upon which to focus.  Within the field of adolescence there were clearly a wide range of areas to concentrate on, and we were often challenged to indicate our central interests.  Many people expected that we would focus on educational topics, and carry out our work in schools, whilst others assumed that we were based in social work or counselling.  In fact we made our choices based on a number of very different principles.  We wanted to raise the general level of understanding of the teenage years, and address the predominantly negative stereotype of adolescence that is prevalent among the general public. We wanted to inform and educate people about this stage of life.  We also wanted to influence Government policy, so we chose topics, such as teenage pregnancy, that were either completely ignored by politicians or were misunderstood by those making policy decisions.   However we were also very much affected by the availability of financial support, so in our choice of work it was necessary to match a pragmatic approach with a set of principles about what was important.

Our work on adolescent suicide was a good example of this approach.  One of the staff came to TSA with an interest in this, and she asked if she could run a short course on the topic.  It so happened that a Prison Governor attended the course, and was impressed. He persuaded the Prison Service to support a number of workshops on adolescent suicide for prison staff, and that in turn led to our being asked to develop a wider training for all staff in young offender institutions in England and Wales on understanding adolescence.  That was successful, and led to many approaches from other organisations. In addition TSA went on to carry out research on suicide among young people, and to develop training materials on suicide and self-harm.

Not all of our work developed in this way, however.  A different model is exemplified by the work we carried out on pro-social behaviour.  We were keen to highlight what is now known as an “asset model”, or a strengths-based approach to adolescence, and to demonstrate that young people make significant contributions to society rather than being a drain on resources and a trial to their parents.  We needed funding in order to carry out this work, but it was almost impossible to find suitable sources of grant money, and a number of our applications were turned down.  We could have given up, and moved on to other topics, but there was a determination among staff and Trustees that this was a topic that should not be ignored.  It took us five years to obtain funding, but finally a Swiss Foundation indicated that they were willing to provide finance for research in this area. With their support we carried out two major studies on volunteering and campaigning among young people in Britain, work of which we were all very proud.  This enabled us to publish academic papers on the topic as well as briefing papers for policy makers, and we also ran a number of conferences to highlight the findings.

Parenting was another area of work which was central to the development of TSA.  I mentioned that we developed educational materials for parents, and in the early years we established a reputation for having some expertise in this area.  When the Labour Government came to power in 1997 they wanted to introduce programmes for parents of teenagers who were engaged in offending behaviour.  However very little was known about interventions for parents of teenagers at that time in Britain, and TSA was asked by the Government to act as advisors.  This was an exciting opportunity, and, as with the work on suicide, led on to many other related projects.  TSA continued for a number of years to provide training and advice to local authorities, to custodial settings, and to practitioners themselves.  We were also given the chance to carry out research on this topic, to develop videos and other training materials, and to work directly with groups of parents.   We published a number of books on this subject, and our training materials are still being used a decade later in many parts of the country (Coleman and Roker, 2001;  Roker and Coleman, 2007)

I retired from TSA in 2005, having reached the age of 65.  It proved difficult to attract a new Director, and the two Assistant Directors – Debi Roker and Kevin Lowe –  agreed to take over as Co-Directors.  This is never easy, and they faced an uphill struggle to maintain funding levels. They each brought different skills to their work, and their commitment to TSA proved invaluable. They were able to continue some programmes, as well as to develop new work on important topics such as the evaluation of interventions, and support for young fathers.  Sadly, however, the global financial problems which followed the banking crisis of 2008, together with the change of Government in the UK in 2010, led to a reduction in funding for voluntary sector organisations, and TSA closed in 2011.

The establishment of TSA represented an important experiment in the social sciences.  It showed that it is possible to forge a tangible link between empirical research and both policy and practice.  Furthermore it did so by choosing a relatively unpopular subject – adolescence – as its main focus.  It remains a puzzle to me that so few people recognise the importance of this stage of life.  By any account the teenage years are of obvious significance for education, for the economic success of a country, for health and social services, and for family life.  Why is it that adolescence is ignored in professional training, and accorded so little attention in academic circles?  By establishing TSA my colleagues and I attempted to address this problem.  We were able to show that there is a need for an organisation that uses the skills and knowledge of researchers, working on a topic of universal significance such as adolescence.

 

Retirement to Oxford

As with most other colleagues who reach retirement age, I had no clear idea of what was going to come next.  I hoped that I would be asked to do some consultancy, but beyond that I had not been able to formulate a coherent plan for my retirement.  I was fortunate, therefore, to be asked to go to the Department of Health in London as a policy advisor for a period of six months in order to assist in the development of Government policy on the emotional health and well-being of young people.  As a clinical psychologist I was only too familiar with psychiatric disorder, but I had given very little thought to the promotion of well-being.  This was becoming a topic of great interest to Government at that period, and I learnt a lot from my time working in the civil service.  However the frustrations of policy making at this level soon began to weigh on me, and I found it hard-going.    The contrast with my previous freedom at TSA, where I had been able to identify my own priorities, was striking, and I was not sorry to come to the end of my stint in the Department of Health.

At this point a colleague who I had known since my days in the East End of London took a hand in my fate!   Ingrid Lunt was at that time the Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Education at Oxford University, and it was as a result of her kindness and support that I was offered a post in this department.  It was a remarkable opportunity, and enabled me to pursue my work on adolescence in a most congenial atmosphere.   Here I have been able to teach, contribute to research, and most importantly, continue work both in the policy field as well as in the community.  I have collaborated with a local Oxford charity to run workshops for parents of teenagers, and I have set up links with local teachers to raise awareness of the importance of understanding adolescent development.  I have now been in Oxford since 2006, and at the time of writing there seems to be no end to the opportunities for continuing to study adolescence, and for trying to make research relevant to the world of practice and policy.

In addition to my enduring interest in parenting, four other themes have dominated my work during this period.  In the first place I have wanted to provide a picture of adolescence based on statistical information already in the public domain.  This initiative first started at TSA in the shape of a publication called “Key data on adolescence”, and has continued to appear on a biennial basis, most recently thanks to the Association for Young People’s Health (Coleman, Brooks and Treadgold, 2011).  Secondly I have not lost my interest in emotional health and well-being, and have managed to lecture and to publish on this topic (Coleman, 2009).  Thirdly the subject of adolescent health has come to have a higher profile than was the case in previous decades, and I have very much enjoyed working to improve services for this age group and encouraging the need for more research on adolescent health (Coleman, Hendry and Kloep, 2007).  Finally I have attempted to champion a positive perspective on this age group, and to do everything I can to promote a focus on resilience and on a strengths-based approach (Coleman and Hagell, 2007).

To conclude, the first thing to say is that the study of the adolescent years has changed beyond recognition since I started my career.    Research methods have continued to alter and to evolve, so that, for example, we can now draw on longitudinal data sets that did not exist in the 1960s and 1970s.   There is more clarity about the empirical basis of evidence, and theoretical contributions are judged more rigorously today than was the case in the past.  New techniques such as scanning have opened up the field of neuroscience, and behavioural genetics are making, and will continue to make, a major impact on developmental psychology.  All this has influenced the study of adolescence, and it could be argued that, far from having solved all the puzzles, we are just at the beginning of a very exciting period of research in this field.

What I believe has changed less are the attitudes of the academic institutions to the importance of combining research with policy and practice.  It is true that in the current Research Excellence Framework in the UK the concept of “impact” has been included, encouraging universities and other research centres to consider how their work will affect the communities they serve.  Yet there is a long way to go before there is a genuine marriage between those who work directly with young people and those who carry out empirical investigations.  When I work with parents of teenagers, or with teachers, there is a hunger for high quality research evidence.  Both professionals and the public want to know what research can tell us, and yet by and large as psychologists we have not done a good enough job at making this evidence widely available.

Finally I would say that it is difficult to see why so few psychologists study adolescence.  After all many of life’s challenges occur during these years.  From child to adult, the adolescent period represents one of the greatest psychological transitions we experience.   Raising untold theoretical questions, it is a stage that offers ideal opportunities for original research.  What makes it all worthwhile, however, is that working with adolescents is so very enjoyable.

 

References

Coleman, J (1974)   Relationships in adolescence.  Routledge and Kegan Paul.  London.
Coleman, J (1980)  Central issues in the residential care of young people.  Journal of Adolescence.   3.  175-186.
Coleman, J (2009)   Well-being in schools:  empirical measure or politician’s dream?   Oxford Review of Education.  35.  281-192.
Coleman, J (2011)  The nature of adolescence: 4th Edition.  Routledge.  London.
Coleman, J, Brooks, F and Treadgold, P (2011)   Key data on adolescence: 8th Edition.  Association for Young People’s Health.
Coleman, J and Hagell, A (2007)(Eds.)   Adolescence:  risk and resilience.  John Wiley.  Chichester.
Coleman, J, Hendry, L and Kloep, M (2007)(Eds.)  Adolescence and health.  John Wiley.  Chichester.
Coleman, J and Roker, D (2001)(Eds.)  Supporting parents of teenagers: a handbook for professionals.   Jessica Kingsley.  London.
Goossens, L 2006)  Theories of adolescence.  In Jackson, S and Goossens, L (Eds.)   Handbook of adolescent development.  Psychology Press.  Hove, Sussex.
Roker, D and Coleman, J (2007)(Eds.)   Working with parents of young people: research, policy and practice.  Jessica Kingsley.  London.

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