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Topics for a Research Paper on Adolescents

by Eric Moll, Demand Media

    Writing about adolescence can cover any one of several topics. You can write about one of the many problems or issues confronting adolescents today, or you can write a more scientifically oriented piece about the changes taking place in the adolescent mind and body. You could also write about trends in adolescent social or political culture. Any of these topics can be improved by interviewing real teenagers to supplement research from books and websites.

    Self-Harm and Suicide

    Adolescents are more likely than other age groups to commit suicide or otherwise harm themselves intentionally. You can explore the ample research on why adolescents harm themselves, and you can also take a position on how friends and families can most effectively intervene.

    Eating Disorders

    Write about the various eating disorders that affect adolescents, such as bulimia and anorexia. Discuss their causes, which groups are most affected by them, their consequences and how they can be treated or prevented.

    Drug Abuse

    Though drug abuse often continues into adulthood, many addicts begin using drugs during their teen years. Discuss the effects of drug addiction, making sure to distinguish between the effects of different drugs. Write about techniques and strategies for combating drug abuse among teens, such as drug education programs.

    Alcohol Use

    Though alcohol is technically a drug, its use is so prevalent among adolescents as to warrant its own topic. Discuss the causes of alcohol use, including peer pressure or a family history of alcoholism, and explore its social and legal consequences. Write about alternatives to drinking and ways in which alcohol use can be discouraged.

    Sexuality

    The issue of teen sexuality is complex and controversial, meaning there will be plenty of material to write about. For example, you could discuss issues related to safe sex, pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, date rape and sexual education.

    Bullying

    Bullying often starts much earlier than adolescence, but it can be at its cruelest during teen years. Discuss the root causes of bullying, as well as its negative consequences and how it can be prevented.

    Media Influence

    Rather than simply discussing some issue that teens face, write about how the media influences the issue. This can very easily apply to drug use, alcohol use, sexuality, self-harm and eating disorders, because all of these problems are frequently portrayed by the media. You could also argue that the media makes problems worse by glamorizing sex and drugs or by creating unrealistic standards for beauty.

    The Science of Adolescence

    Write in scientific terms about the changes that take place during adolescence. Your discussion can tend more toward physical issues such as hormones, growth spurts and sexual maturity, or it can be more focused on the study of teen psychology.

    Trends

    Adolescents are often the most plugged in to pop culture, which is why they are often studied when it comes to trends in fashion and technology. Write about what is popular with adolescents, whether it's a particular fashion trend, social media and networking or a particular political figure or movement.

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    About the Author

    Eric Moll began writing professionally in 2006. He wrote an opinion column for the "Arizona Daily Wildcat" and worked as an editor for "Persona Literary Magazine." He has a Bachelor of Science in environmental science and creative writing from the University of Arizona.

    Photo Credits

    • Chad Baker/Ryan McVay/Digital Vision/Getty Images

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