Child and Adolescent psychology is the treatment of mental and social issues in children and adolescents. With a period of dramatic change, adolescence brings a variety of biological and emotional challenges to the individual. This period of transformation into adulthood can be a revolutionary, dramatic experience. During this period, adolescents begin to think abstractly, become increasingly aware of their sexuality, and begin to become independent of their parents. Adolescent psychology explores the issues of adolescence, including whether adolescence is a discrete developmental period, a period of human development, or a social definition. Psychologists in this field treat conflict between adolescents and their parents resulting from the teen’s gradual separation of ties to the parent. Professionals also treat reactions to peer pressure, a major issue that is pervasive in Western society.
Master’s programs in Child and Adolescent Psychology feature courses that provide the student with the knowledge and theory required to treat the developmental issues facing children and adolescents. Courses explore such topics as prenatal, child, and adolescent development; familial, societal, and cultural influences; psychological and educational measurement theory; and research methodology. Graduates work in the social services, health care, government, and educational fields.