For most young people, development through adolescence involves exposure to a variety of new social worlds. Parents provide increasing room for personal autonomy and take account of emerging skills and responsibilities. Peers become more important as confidants and as sources of support. Relationships with the opposite sex become more significant and move towards greater intimacy and commitment. Progress through school leads to clearer ideas about personal aspirations and career choice. Areas such as culture, social priorities and politics begin to attract more interest and involvement. The direction, nature and extent of the adolescent's engagement in each of these social worlds is influenced by factors such as personal history and characteristics, physical maturation and intellectual capacity. This book provides a detailed examination of a variety of these different social worlds. The processes involved in social interactions are considered with specific reference to adolescent development. A framework for analysing research dealing with relational contexts such as the family is presented and its application is illustrated and discussed. Further chapters focus upon more specific topics: physical maturation and social development; dating behaviour; relationships with parents and peers; stress and coping in adolescence; loneliness and its characteristics; relationships with the institutional order. The final chapter returns to theory and urges the need to develop a more realistic conceptual structure which is relevant to the real?life experiences of young people growing up in today's world. The book discusses new theoretical ideas and recent findings in both traditional and emerging areas of research on social development. In doing so, it provides an unusually detailed picture of the changing nature of social relationships and social contexts during the adolescent years.