Early adolescence image: youth relating to positive peers

Autonomy, relatedness, and competence support transitions in early adolescence.

Support for autonomy can improve self-esteem and encourage physical activity at this time. Puberty can be a time when youth experience shifts in their self-esteem and anxiety about participating in programs.

Relatedness, particularly with positive peers, is crucial during the transition to high school. Youth need to feel like they belong and have peers to rely on as they enter a new environment.

Social competence in early adolescence has lasting impacts as youth transition to secondary school and into adulthood.