Scientists are arguing that adolescence spans the ages of 10 and 24, instead of ending at 19 as previously thought.
Researchers from the Centre for Adolescent Health at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne said that because young people leave home, get married and finish education later these days, adulthood now starts later.
Director of the centre, Professor Susan Sawyer, says that a more realistic age range would help appropriately shape laws and social policy.
In an opinion piece for the Lancet, Professor Sawyer argues that “delayed timing of role transitions, including completion of education, marriage, and parenthood, continue to shift popular perceptions of when adulthood begins”.
The average age that puberty begins has got steadily earlier in most populations over the last few hundred years.
And although this letter argues that adolescence still starts at 10, they think the ripe old age of 24 better reflects “adolescent growth and popular understandings of this life phase”.
And considering wisdom teeth can come through as late as 25, there’s a biological argument for increasing the age bracket too.
So don’t feel bad if you’re under 25 and can barely adult – in the eyes of some scientists you’re barely more mature than a teenager.