Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 14, Issue 4, pp 317–337 | Cite as

Family contexts of pubertal timing

  • Stuart T. Hauser
  • Wendy Liebman
  • John Houlihan
  • Sally I. Powers
  • Alan M. Jacobson
  • Gil G. Noam
  • Bedonna Weiss
  • Donna Follansbee


This study examined the influence of pubertal timing upon family interactions in normal and psychiatric adolescent samples. An important feature of our approach is its emphasis upon micro-analysis of family behaviors (individual speeches) and family processes (theoretically specified speech pairings). Rather than assume that global family patterns (e.g., power) shift in response to pubertal changes, we follow how types of speeches and speech sequences are associated with different pubertal timing. Using the previously constructed family coding system, the Constrainig and Enabling Coding System, we found that on-time adolescents and their parents differed from both off-time groups (early or late). These results are discussed in terms of current implications and suggestions for future research.


Health Psychology School Psychology Code System Pubertal Timing Family Context 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Adams, G. R. (1983). The study of intraindividual change during early adolescence.J. Early Adoles. 3: 1–2, 37–46.Google Scholar
  2. Adelson, J. (ed.) (1980).Handbook of Adolescence, Wiley, New York.Google Scholar
  3. Alexander, J. F. (1973a). Defensive and supportive communication in normal and deviant families.J. Consult. Clin. Psychol. 40: 223–231.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Alexander, J. F. (1973b). Defensive and supportive communications in family systems.J. Marr. Fam. 35: 613–617.Google Scholar
  5. Allison, P. D., and Liker, J. K. (1982) Analyzing sequential categorical data on dyadic interaction: A comment on Gottman.Psychol. Bull. 91(2): 393–403.Google Scholar
  6. Bakeman, R. (1978). Untangling streams of behavior: Sequential analysis of observational data. In Sackett, G. (ed.),Observing Behavior, Vol. 2, Data Collection and Analysis Methods, University Park Press, Baltimore, Md.Google Scholar
  7. Bakeman, R., and Brown, J. (1977). Behavioral dialogues: An approach to the assessment of mother-child interaction.Child Dev. 48: 195–203.Google Scholar
  8. Bakeman, R., and Brown, J. (1980). Analyzing behavioral sequences: Differences between preterm and infant-mother dyads on the first months of life. In Sarvin, D., Hawkins, R., Walker, L., and Penticuff, J. (eds.),Exceptional Infant, Vol. 4, Brunner-Mazel, New York.Google Scholar
  9. Bateson, G., Jackson, D., Herley, J., and Weakland, J. (1956). Toward a theory of schizophrenia.Behav. Sci. 1: 251–264.Google Scholar
  10. Beardslee, W., Jacobson, A., Hauser, S., Noam, G., and Powers, S. (1985). An approach to evaluating adolescent adaptive processes.J. Am. Acade. Child Psychi. 24: 637–642.Google Scholar
  11. Berzonsky, M. D., and Lombardo, J. P. (1983). Pubertal timing and identity crisis: A preliminary investigation.J. Early Adoles. 3: 239–246.Google Scholar
  12. Brooks-Gunn, J., and Petersen, A. C. (eds.) (1983).Girls at Puberty: Biological and Psychosocial Perspectives, Plenum, New York.Google Scholar
  13. Broderick, C. P., and Pulliman-Drager, H. (1979) Family process and outcome. In Burr, W., Hill, R., Nye, F. I., and Reiss, I. L. (eds.),Theories About the Family, Vol. I, Macmillan, New York.Google Scholar
  14. Brooks-Gunn, J., and Warren, M. P. (1983). Relative and actual maturation timing: Psychological adaptation to pubertal change. Paper presented at the Educational Testing Service Conference, Princeton, New Jersey.Google Scholar
  15. Clausen, J. A. (1975). The social meaning of differential physical and sexual maturation. In Dragastin, S. and Elder, G. H., Jr. (eds.),Adolescence in the Life Cycle: Psychological Change and Social Context, Halsted, New York.Google Scholar
  16. Cohen, J. (1960). A coefficient of agreement for nominal scales.Educ. Psychol. Meas. 20: 37–46.Google Scholar
  17. Conger, J. (1983). Preface. In Brooks-Gunn, J., and Petersen, A. C. (eds.),Girls at Puberty: Biological and Psychosocial Perspectives, Plenum, New York.Google Scholar
  18. Coopersmith, S. (1967).The Antecedents of Self-Esteem, Freeman, San Francisco.Google Scholar
  19. Danon-Boileau, H. (1982). Parental crisis facing their adolescent child.L'Evolution Psychiatrique 47(1): 157–175.Google Scholar
  20. Doane, J., West, K., Goldstein, M., Rodnick, E., and Jones, J. (1981). Parental communication deviance and affective style.Arch. Gen. Psychiat. 38: 679–685.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Drummond, W. J. (1982). Adolescents and identity development in the 80's.Delta 30: 27–31.Google Scholar
  22. Ehrhardt, A., Meyer-Bahlburg, H. F. L., Bell, J. J., Cohen, S. F., Healey, J. M., Stiel, R., Feldman, J. F., Morishima, A., and New, M. I. (1984). Idiopathic precocious puberty in girls: Psychiatric follow-up on adolescence.J. Am. Acad. Child Psychiat. 23(1): 23–33.Google Scholar
  23. Fox, R. et al., (1983). Socially maladjusted adolescents' perceptions of their families.Psychol. Rep. 52(3): 831–834.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. Goldberg, S., Blumberg, S., and Kriger, A. (1982). Menarche and interest in infants: Biological and social influences.Child Dev. 53: 1544–1550.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Gottman, J. M. (1979).Marital Interaction: Experimental Investigations, Academic Press, New York.Google Scholar
  26. Gottman, J. M. (1980a). Analyzing for sequential connection and assessing interobserver reliability for the sequential analysis of observational data.Behav. Assess. 2: 361–368.Google Scholar
  27. Gottman, J. M. (1980b). Consistency of nonverbal affect and affect reciprocity in marital interaction.J. Consult. Clin. Psychol. 48: 711–717.Google Scholar
  28. Gottman, J. M. (1983). How children become friends.Monogr. Soc. Res. Child Dev. 48(2).Google Scholar
  29. Greif, E. B., and Ulman, K. J. (1982). The psychological impact of menarche on early adolescent females: A review of the literature.Child Dev. 53: 1413–1430.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. Hahlweg, K. (1984). Sequential analysis of system interaction. Position paper presented at NIMH Workshop “State of the Art, Family Therapy Efficacy Research.” Washington, D.C.,Google Scholar
  31. Hauser, S. T., Jacobson, A., Noam, G., and Powers, S. (1983). Ego development and selfimage complexity.Arch. Gen. Psychiat. 44: 325–332.Google Scholar
  32. Hauser, S. T., Powers, S. I., Noam, G., Jacobson, A. M., Weiss, B., and Follansbee, D. (1984). Familial contexts of adolescent ego development.Child Dev. Google Scholar
  33. Hauser, S., Powers, S., Jacobson, A., and Noam, G. (1985a).Working with Adolescents and Their Families, Free Press, New York.Google Scholar
  34. Hauser, S. T., Houlihan, J., Powers, S., Jacobson, A., Noam, G., and Follansbee, D. (1985b). Interaction sequences in families of psychiatrically hospitalized and non-patient adolescents. Accepted for publication.Google Scholar
  35. Hertherington, E. M., Stouwie, R., and Ridberg, E. (1971). Patterns of family interaction and child rearing attitudes related to three dimensions of juvenile delinquency.J. Abnorm. Psychol. 78: 160–178.Google Scholar
  36. Jacob, T. (1974). Patterns of family conflict and dominance as a function of child age and social class.Dev. Psychol. 10: 1–2.Google Scholar
  37. Kithara, M. (1983). Female puberty rites: Reconsideration and speculation.Adolescence, 18: 975–964.Google Scholar
  38. Koff, E., Rierdan, J., and Jacobson, S. (1981). The personal and interpersonal significance of menarche.J. Am. Acad. Child Psychiat. 20: 148–158.Google Scholar
  39. Lerner, R. M., and Spanier, G. B. (1978).Child Influences on Marital and Family Interaction, Academic Press, New York.Google Scholar
  40. Lewis, M., and Feiring, C. (1978). The child's social world. In Lerner, R., and Spanier, G. (eds.),Child influence on Marital and Family Interaction, Academic Press, New York.Google Scholar
  41. Lewis, J., Rodnick, E., and Goldstein, M. (1981). Intrafamilial interactive behavior, parental communication deviance, and risk for schizophrenia.J. Abnorm. Psychol. 90: 448–457.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  42. Lidz, T., Cornelison, A. R., Fleck, S., and Terry, D. (1957). The interfamilial environment of schizophrenic patients: II. Marital schism and marital skew.Am. J. Psychiat. 114: 241–148.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  43. Margolin, G., and Wampold, B., (1981). Sequential analysis of conflict and accord in distressed and non-distressed marital partners.J. Consult. Clin. Psychol. 49: 554–567.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  44. Marshall, W. A., and Tanner, J. M. (1969). Variations in the pattern of pubertal changes in girls.Arch. Dis. Childhd. 44: 291–303.Google Scholar
  45. Mead, M. (1952). Adolescence in primitive and modern society. In Swanson, G. E., Newcomb, T. M., and Hartley, E. L. (eds.),Readings in Social Psychology, Holt, New York.Google Scholar
  46. Minuchin, S., Rosman, B., and Baker, L. (1978).Psychosomatic Families, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass.Google Scholar
  47. Mussen, P. H., and Jones, M. C. (1958). The behavior-inferred motivations of late- and early-maturing boys.Child Dev. 29: 61–67.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  48. Patterson, G. R. (1980). Mothers: The unacknowledged victims.Monogr. Soc. Res. Child Dev. 45: 1–63.Google Scholar
  49. Peskin, H. (1973). Influence of the developmental schedule of puberty on learning and ego functioning.J. Youth Adoles. 4: 273–290.Google Scholar
  50. Petersen, A. C., Tobin-Richards, M., and Boxer, A. (1983). Puberty: Its measurement and its meaning.J. Early Adoles. 3(1–2): 47–61.Google Scholar
  51. Powers, S., Hauser, S., Schwartz, J., Noam, G., and Jacobson, A. (1983). Adolescent ego development and family interaction: A structural-developmental perspective. In Grotevant, H., and Cooper, C. (eds.),Adolescent Development and Family Interactions: New Directions in Child Development, Jossey-Bass, San Francisco.Google Scholar
  52. Profrock, D. W. The uncertainty principle in adolescent research.Adolescence 18: 339–343.Google Scholar
  53. Romeo, F. F. (1984). Adolescence, sexual conflict, and anorexia nervosa.Adolescence 19: 00–00.Google Scholar
  54. Ruble, D. N., and Brooks-Gunn, J. (1982). The experience of menarche.Child Dev. 53: 1557–1566.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  55. Rutter, M. (1980).Changing Youth in a Changing Society: Patterns of Adolescent Development and Disorder, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass.Google Scholar
  56. Sackett, G. P. (1977). The lag sequential analysis of contingency and cyclicity in behavioral interaction research. In Osofsky, J. (ed.),Handbook of Infant Development, Wiley, New York.Google Scholar
  57. Sackett, G. (1980). Lag sequential analysis as a data reduction technique in social interaction research. In Sawin, D., Hawkins, R., Walker, L., and Penticuff J. (eds.),Exceptional Infant, Vol. 4, Brunner-Mazel, New York.Google Scholar
  58. Shapiro, E. R., Zinner, J., Shapiro, R. L.,et al. (1975). The influence of family experience on borderline personality development.Int. Rev. Psychoanal. 2: 399–411.Google Scholar
  59. Simmons, R. G., Blyth, D. A., Van Cleave, E. F., and Bush, D. M. (1979). Entry into early adolescence: The impact of school structure, puberty, and early dating on self-esteem.Am. Sociol. Rev. 44: 948–967.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  60. Stabenau, J., Tupin, J., Werner, M., and Pollin, W. (1965). A comparative study of families of schizophrenics, delinquents, and normals.Psychiatry 28: 45–59.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  61. Steinberg, L. D. (1977). A longitudinal study of physical growth, intellectual growth, and family interaction in early adolescence. Doctoral dissertation, Cornell University.Google Scholar
  62. Steinberg, L. D. (1981). Transformations in family relations at puberty.Dev. Psychol. 17: 833–840.Google Scholar
  63. Steinberg, L. D., and Hill, J. P. (1978). Patterns of family interaction as a function of age, the onset of puberty, and formal thinking.Dev. Psychol. 14: 683–684.Google Scholar
  64. Stierlin, H. (1974).Separating Adolescents and Parents, Quadrangle, New York.Google Scholar
  65. Strodtbeck, F. L. (1958). Husband-wife interaction and revealed differences.Am. Sociol. Rev. 16: 468–473.Google Scholar
  66. Tanner, J. M. (1972). Sequence, tempo, and individual variation in growth and development of boys and girls aged 12 and 16. In Kagan, J., and Coles, R. (eds.),12 to 16: Early Adolescence, Norton, New York.Google Scholar
  67. Tyerman, A., and Humphrey, M. (1983). Life stress, family support and adolescent disturbance.J. Early Adoles. 6(1): 1–12.Google Scholar
  68. Wendt, H. (1983). Crisis in our life: The crisis of puberty and the crisis of midlife.Partnerberatung 20(2–3): 96–106.Google Scholar
  69. Westley, W., and Epstein, N. (1969).Silent Majority, Jossey-Bass, San Francisco.Google Scholar
  70. Winer, B. J. (1971).Statistical Principles in Experimental Design, 2nd ed., McGraw-Hill, New York.Google Scholar
  71. Wynne, L., Jones, J., and Al-Khayyal, M. (1982). Healthy communication patterns: Observations in families at risk for psychopathology. In Walsh, F. (ed.),Normal Family Processes, Guilford, New York.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stuart T. Hauser
    • 2
    • 1
  • Wendy Liebman
    • 2
  • John Houlihan
    • 3
    • 4
  • Sally I. Powers
    • 2
    • 5
  • Alan M. Jacobson
    • 2
    • 6
  • Gil G. Noam
    • 7
    • 1
    • 4
  • Bedonna Weiss
    • 1
  • Donna Follansbee
    • 8
    • 1
  1. 1.Adolescent Family Development ProjectMassachusetts Mental Health CenterUSA
  2. 2.Adolescent and Family Development ProjectHarvard Medical SchoolUSA
  3. 3.Academic Computing CenterBoston UniversityUSA
  4. 4.Department of PsychologyHarvard Medical SchoolUSA
  5. 5.Radcliffe CollegeUK
  6. 6.Mental Health UnitJoslin Diabetes CenterUSA
  7. 7.Education Services, Hall-Mercer Children's UnitMcLean HospitalUSA
  8. 8.Judge Baker Guidance CenterUSA

Personalised recommendations