This chapter outlines the underlying question which was the starting point of the authors, namely is there any evidence that social change was responsible for the rise in emotional and behavioural problems experienced by adolescents in the last 30 years? It introduces the changing context for adolescence in the UK between 1975 and 2005 and sets out the key changes in adolescent experience explored in more detail in later chapters: the expansion of further and higher education; changes in living arrangements; the extension of adolescence; changes to family structure; changes in sexual behaviour and relationships; globalisation and demographic shifts. The background to the research reviews in the context of the Nuffield Foundation's Changing Adolescence Programme is also explained.
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