Adolescence is a period characterized by significant developmental changes spanning multiple domains of functioning: biological, cognitive, emotional, and psychosocial. In addition to stress inherently associated with adolescent development, external stressors (for example, family conflicts, health problems, financial stress) also contribute to the stress load during these years. This chapter summarizes the unique biological, cognitive, emotional, and psychosocial developmental transitions occurring throughout these years. It then discusses assessment and evaluation of prevalent stressors during this developmental period and the interplay of stress and alcohol and drug use behaviors of youth. Adolescent-specific stressors, gender considerations, and consequences of life stress for substance involvement and later development are presented. It highlights empirical findings that clarify the bidirectional relations of stress and the initiation, progression, and escalation of substance use in youth. Risk and protective factors, moderating influences, and cumulative developmental consequences are considered in this chapter.
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