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Determining the consequences of such societal-level changes for adolescent development presents formidable challenges. Social change on one or more dimensions must be documented, the complex processes through which social change may affect adolescents must be identified, and the hypothesized causal processes must be linked empirically to adolescent outcomes. In this chapter, we discuss these challenges and the conceptual issues they raise. We begin with one example of social change and use it as a springboard for discussing four questions:
1. What kinds of contextual changes are produced by social change?
2. How (through what mediating processes) do these changes affect adolescent development and well-being?
3. What individual and contextual factors appear to moderate these processes and their outcomes?
4. What are the implications of social change for adolescent adjustment?
Finally, we outline the organization of the present volume as it relates to these issues.