Parents have known since time immemorial, and social scientists have agreed since the turn of the 20th century, that adolescents are a people unto themselves - a "distinct developmental category". Yet it was not until the 1950s that a medical specialty specifically for teenagers came into being. In this volume, Heather Munro Prescott shows how the mid-20th-century emergence of adolescent medicine resulted from a combination of social changes that reached far beyond the field of medicine - changes that placed teenagers themselves at the centre of the national agenda. It draws on oral histories of physicians in the field, patient records from adolescent medical facilities, medical and popular advice literature, and letters from teenagers and their parents. Prescott examines the interplay between the emergence of adolescent medicine and changes in American family relationships, youth culture, popular perceptions about young people, and the social experience of adolescence. With special attention to the role of young people themselves in the shaping of this new discipline, her text follows the development of adolescent medicine from its origins in the work of J.
Roswell Gallagher at Boston Children's Hospital in the 1950s, to its uncertain prospects in the late 1990s. For despite heightened recognition of their specific medical needs, most teenagers still receive inadequate health care.
Heather Munro Prescott is Associate Professor of History at the Central Connecticut State University.
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