Difference Between Youth and Adolescence

Youth vs Adolescence

Youth and adolescence are both terms that refer to the early stages of an individual’s life. Because of the similarity and the close relation of these two terms, adolescence and youth often tend to be used interchangeably and at times, it is acceptable to do so. However, by definition, adolescence and youth convey different connotations because of which the two terms must be carefully examined prior to employing them in relation to certain contexts.

What is Youth?

Youth is a general term that is used to convey the early stages of an individual’s life. It is often used to refer to young persons who have not yet reached adulthood. However, the most widely accepted belief is that youth refers to the time period between childhood and adulthood while the term itself can also be used to imply the characteristics of a young person such as appearance of freshness, spirit, vigour, etc. Usually, what is referred to as youth is individuals between the ages of 16 and 24. However, age-based definitions have not been known to be consistent over the years and, as a result, youth has come to mean a general term to refer to daring, fresh and energetic mindset and an exuberant physicality.

What is Adolescence?

Derived from the Latin word adolescence is translated into “to grow up.” Adolescence is a term that is used to refer to the stage of growing up which spans between puberty and legal adulthood. This is a transitional stage of physiological and physical development and is closely associated with teenage years. Adolescence can also extend to early twenties and is known to begin prior to puberty, especially in females while physical growth is mostly observed distinct from puberty during these years, particularly in males. However, a comprehensive definition of adolescence is yet to be defined as definitions of adolescence tend to shift according to various factors from one instance to another. Adolescence is normally associated with attributes of growing up such as raging hormones, pubertal and biological changes, changes in height, weight and muscle mass, changes in brain structure, etc. However, adolescence in society depends upon various factors such as sociology, biology, history, psychology, anthropology, etc.

What is the difference between Youth and Adolescence?

It is quite difficult to discern the veritable differences between youth and adolescence, especially, as there seems to be no fixed definition to adolescence and youth. However, despite the apparent similarity of the two words, youth and adolescence convey two different meanings.

• Youth is a term that is used to refer to young people in general. Adolescence in general terms refers to teenage years.

• Youth is characteristic of energy, exuberance, freshness, etc., characteristics typical to young persons. Adolescence, on the other hand, is usually associated with physical and psychological changes, puberty, raging hormones and biological changes.

• Youth is a general term that can be used to describe both attitude and the age of an individual. Adolescence is a term that refers specifically to age.


For further Reading:

1. Difference Between Teenager and Adult