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Free Event

Early Adolescence (Ages 10–14): A Pivotal Window of Opportunity for Improving Developmental Trajectories of Behavioral and Emotional Health

Ronald E. Dahl, MD
Professor, Community Health Sciences/Joint Medical Program • Director, Institute of Human Development • Founding Director, Center for the Developing Adolescent • UC Berkeley School of Public Health

Learning objectives:

The developmental transition from childhood into adolescence represents a pivotal inflection point in the trajectory of the human life course. This combination of biological changes (as puberty begins) and a myriad of social and learning challenges, creates a new period of vulnerability for mental health problems emerging in adolescence. It is equally a window of opportunity—a sensitive period of social and relational learning and burgeoning social competence. Scientific insights into this transition can inform early intervention. Insights, for example, as to when and how to intervene in the cascading interactions between pubertal changes in sleep, bedtime worry/rumination, and social anxiety that can lead to adolescent depression. Insights into how pubertal changes in the incentive salience for social value feedback appears to be a key feature in formative social learning in early adolescence—in ways that have implications for behavioral and emotional health. This work also raises compelling questions about how to advance a more integrative interdisciplinary understanding of this pivotal transition—in ways that can help address what is increasingly being recognized as a crisis in youth mental health. 


Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences Grand Rounds presentations are for educational purposes and intended only for behavioral/mental health professionals and clinical providers.

Continuing education (CE) credit is available for physicians, psychologists, nurses, and therapists who participate in this activity.

Event Details

  • Mary Beth Steinfeld

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