Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 14, Issue 3, pp 227–235 | Cite as

The effects of pubertal timing on body image, school behavior, and deviance

  • Paula Duke Duncan
  • Philip L. Ritter
  • Sanford M. Dornbusch
  • Ruth T. Gross
  • J. Merrill Carlsmith
Article

Abstract

Variation in the timing of pubertal maturation may result in behavioral differences among early, mid-, and late maturers. Using data from the National Health Examination Survey, a national probability sample of children and youth aged 12–17, we investigated the relationships between maturational timing and body image, school behavior, and deviance. In terms of body image, the early maturing boys were the group most satisfied with height and weight. The early maturing girls were most dissatisfied with weight, with 69% wishing to be thinner. This great dissatisfaction with weight reported by early maturing girls is probably not an affect of early maturation, but a concomitant of maturation in general. The majority of girls became dissatisfied with their weight as they matured, and females from the higher social groups were more likely to want to be thinner than females from lower groups. Thus, a normal developmental process is being viewed negatively by females and positively by males. Male early maturers more often had deviant behavior, but there were no consistent findings for girls. There was no effect of maturational timing on teacher reports of school absence, adjustment, popularity, need for discipline, or grade repetition.

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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paula Duke Duncan
    • 1
  • Philip L. Ritter
    • 2
  • Sanford M. Dornbusch
    • 2
  • Ruth T. Gross
    • 3
  • J. Merrill Carlsmith
    • 2
  1. 1.University of VermontUSA
  2. 2.Stanford Center for the Study of Youth DevelopmentStanford UniversityUSA
  3. 3.Stanford University School of MedicineUSA

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