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Aarons, Z.A. (1970). Normality and Abnormality in Adolescence—With a Digression on Prince Hal—"The Sowing of Wild Oats". Psychoanal. St. Child, 25:309-339.

(1970). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 25:309-339

Aspects of Normal and Pathological Development

Normality and Abnormality in Adolescence—With a Digression on Prince Hal—"The Sowing of Wild Oats"

Z. Alexander Aarons, M.D.

This paper is not an effort to deal with the many problems of adolescence, but rather is an attempt to discuss certain genetic factors that are of crucial importance for this developmental period. I shall also examine the main defense displayed, viz., that of "removal" from infantile object ties. The "successful" employment of this defense, peculiar and appropriate to adolescence, leads to what I have termed a "renewal" of object relatedness on a mature adult level in which there is reinvestment of libidinal energy (i.e., depregenitalized and neutralized in objects and interests. This is a progressive developmental accomplishment that may be expected to occur if object constancy has been secured in early childhood. Preservation of ego ideals, made possible by the establishment of object constancy, will, in spite of the vicissitudes of adolescent discontent and rebelliousness, insure the resolution of conflicts and the constructive employment of psychic energy. In other words, adolescence marks a turning point at which there either may be a reinforcement of pregenitality with its attendant destructive sexualization and aggressivization of relationships, or genitality may be consolidated, sublimations established, and tradition replicated. This "normal" development or resolution of the conflicts of adolescence is predicated upon the preservation of the ego ideal, inculcated but not yet integrated during childhood.

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