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Public Health Nurs. 2004 Mar-Apr;21(2):144-52.

Autonomy and adolescence: a concept analysis.

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Director of Graduate Studies, Liberty University, Lynchburg, Virginia 24502-2213, USA.


During the developmental stage of adolescence, young people strive for independence and begin to make decisions that impact them for the rest of their lives. The purpose of this descriptive study was to examine the literature over the past 15 years to analyze the concept of autonomy in adolescence and to identify possible relationships between autonomy and health behavior. The findings indicate that few studies have been carried out that address the issue of autonomy as it relates to adolescent lifestyles or "ways of living," particularly related to health behaviors. Additional study is warranted to develop more defined theoretical and operational definitions of the concept of autonomy, which will be of value for the development of instruments for measurement and continued research. Furthermore, understanding the antecedents and consequences of adolescent autonomy will facilitate the development of more appropriate health-promoting interventions based on developmental needs.

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