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Strean, H.S. (1962). On Adolescence. A Psychoanalytic Interpretation. By Peter Blos. New York: The Free Press of Glencoe, Inc., 1962. Pp. xii+269. $5.00.. Psychoanal. Rev., 49D(4):128-129.

(1962). Psychoanalytic Review, 49D(4):128-129

On Adolescence. A Psychoanalytic Interpretation. By Peter Blos. New York: The Free Press of Glencoe, Inc., 1962. Pp. xii+269. $5.00.

Review by:
Herbert S. Strean

In 1905 Freud ended his essay, “The Transformations of Puberty,” by stating: “The starting point and the final aim of the process are clearly visible. The intermediate steps are still in many ways obscure to us. We shall have to leave more than one of them as an unsolved riddle.” Dr. Blos, one of the country's leading authorities on adolescents, has gone a long way in resolving many unsolved riddles by concentrating on the “intermediate steps of adolescence.” His book offers a truly systematic presentation of the normal adolescent process with a unified theory of adolescent development based on psychoanalytic principles.

Not only does pertinent case material illuminate the stages of adolescent development in terms of the intrinsic conflicts, liabilities, tasks and resolutions typical for each phase, but the specific contribution each phase has to make toward the attainment of adulthood is highlighted by liberal and colorful literary quotations from Mann, Joyce, Goethe and Anderson. Throughout his study, Dr. Blos clearly differentiates between male and female adolescent development, and shows how they are related to the earlier phases of personality development specific for each sex, stressing the orderly sequence of developmental stages.

Blos views adolescence not only as a transition between childhood and adulthood but also as a separate and distinct stage of development. In consonance with the trend in psychoanalytic theory the author attributes a weighty significance to the pregenital and preoedipal phases of drive and ego development.

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