Adolescence (from Latin adolescere ‘to grow up’) is a transitional stage of physical and psychological development that generally occurs during the period from puberty to legal adulthood (age of majority). Adolescence is usually associated with the teenage years, but its physical, psychological or cultural expressions may begin earlier and end later. For example, puberty now typically begins during preadolescence, particularly in females. Physical growth (particularly in males) and cognitive development can extend into the early twenties. Thus, age provides only a rough marker of adolescence, and scholars have found it difficult to agree upon a precise definition of adolescence.
A thorough understanding of adolescence in society depends on information from various perspectives, including psychology, biology, history, sociology, education, and anthropology. Within all of these perspectives, adolescence is viewed as a transitional period between childhood and adulthood, whose cultural purpose is the preparation of children for adult roles. It is a period of multiple transitions involving education, training, employment, and unemployment, as well as transitions from one living circumstance to another.