Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 49, Issue 12, pp 4807–4819 | Cite as

Pubertal Development Measurement in Children With and Without Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Comparison Between Physical Exam, Parent- and Self-Report

  • Blythe A. CorbettEmail author
  • Rachael A. Muscatello
  • Yasas Tanguturi
  • Emily McGinn
  • Sara Ioannou
Original Paper


Adolescence is a time of remarkable biopsychosocial change, which may be particularly challenging for youth with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), necessitating enhanced understanding and accurate assessment of pubertal maturation. The study compared physical examination to parent- and self-report measures in 200 participants (134 males and 66 females) ages 10.0–13.5 years. Both participants with typical development (TD, n = 78) and ASD (n = 122) were included. Concordance ranged from slight-to-fair for self-assessments (κ = .17–.32) and slight-to-moderate for parent-report (κ = .21–.44). Concordance of physical exam with self- and parent-report of the ASD group was somewhat lower than for the TD group. Findings indicate pubertal assessments by parent or child are not reliable indices of precise pubertal staging.


Autism spectrum disorder Pubertal development Tanner Adolescence 



This study was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (MH111599 PI: Corbett) with core support from the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (CTSA UL1 TR000445). None of the funding sources were involved in the study design, collection, analysis and interpretation of the data, writing of the report, or the decision to submit the article for publication.

Author Contributions

BAC conceived of the study, supervised the implementation of study protocols and data collection, contributed to diagnostic assessments, analyzed and interpreted statistical analyses, and drafted and finalized the manuscript. RAM participated in study protocols and neuropsychological assessments, contributed to statistical analysis and interpretation of findings, and contributed to the drafted and finalized manuscript. YT performed the majority of the physical examinations for the study and contributed to the final manuscript. EM recruited participants, organized study visits, assisted with study protocols, and contributed to the final manuscript. SI contributed to statistical analysis and interpretation, and contributed to the drafted and finalized manuscript.


This study was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (MH111599 PI: Corbett) with core support from the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (CTSA UL1 TR000445).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflicts of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the Ethical Standards of the Institutional and/or National Research Committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed written consent and assent was obtained from all parents and study participants, respectively, prior to inclusion in the study.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral SciencesVanderbilt University Medical CenterNashvilleUSA
  2. 2.Vanderbilt Kennedy CenterVanderbilt University Medical CenterNashvilleUSA
  3. 3.Vanderbilt Brain InstituteVanderbilt UniversityNashvilleUSA

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