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young people presents a unique opportunity for development and social growth in the developing world, notwithstanding variability in levels and areas of investment, fertility levels, dependency ratios, opportunity structures within the economy, socioeconomic situations of families, and level of development of communities and nations.

Adolescence is a critical stage in the development of gender roles and responsibilities. Individuals in this transitory period attempt to cope with many life options and choices, including those related to friendship, courtship, marriage, education, employment, reproductive life and health, family formation and childbearing, lifestyles, and nutrition. Within any society, these options and choices influence and determine the timing, sequencing, and readiness to experience events marking the passage from adolescence to adulthood as well as the well-being and quality of life at later ages.

Adulthood is characterized by a number of roles expected from people treated as adults. Role is a behavioral concept well established in social science and has special appeal within the multilevel framework, owing to the unique quality of the role concept as a link between the social and individual levels, because communities, households, families/extended families, and social groups are all structural contexts where individuals live and exercise their roles and responsibilities. The sequential pattern of those roles over the life cycle defines to some extent the adult life course. Adult life in all societies is more compartmentalized than the life of children because it is dominated to a greater extent by formalized expectations and obligations as expressed in the legal, social, cultural, and moral codes of conduct and behavior. These aspects of adult life are well captured by the concept of role and adult behavior.

To pinpoint the extent to which transitions are successful/unsuccessful or healthy/unhealthy for an adolescent within a given social context, one must come up with some role properties. Role properties, both positive and negative according to the legal, social, cultural, and moral codes of conduct and behavior, have relevance for understanding the changes in status of individuals as they experience events portraying specific transitions through their life course. As the life of an individual at any moment can be thought of as the array of roles that he or she enacts, so can the person’s life course be conceptualized as a sequence of roles enacted. Throughout the life course, each person occupies a variety of roles involving opportunities and resource constraints as well as expectations and demands. Some of these roles are age dependent (e.g., being enrolled in school), while others are both age and sex dependent (e.g., being pregnant).

During the life course, attachment in the relatively uncompartmentalized life of the infant is seen as analogous to more diverse forms of social support in various adult role settings. The constructive aspects of adult roles embedded in experienced states are features of successful transitions,



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