What is adolescence? Adolescents narrate their lives in Lima, Peru

Angela M. Bayer, Robert H. Gilman, Amy O. Tsui, Michelle J. Hindin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


This study explores the lives of Peruvian adolescents in a low-income human settlement outside of Lima. Twenty 12-17 year olds were asked to narrate their own life stories using the life history narrative research method. Holistic content analysis was coupled with a grounded-theory approach to explore these data. Intergenerational responsibility, family tensions, economic pressures, racism and violence emerged without prompting and dominated the narrators' life stories, underscoring the degree to which these adolescents lack access to the supportive individuals and structures that are key to positive adolescent development. The challenges faced by these and the other 5.8 million 10-19 year olds in Peru require increased attention to the role of families, peers and communities in ensuring that adolescents are able to maintain their well-being and achieve their future expectations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)509-520
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Adolescence
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2010


  • Adolescents
  • Contextual factors
  • Life history
  • Peru
  • Qualitative

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Social Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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