Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 32, Issue 3, pp 157–167 | Cite as

Pubertal Timing and Adolescent Adjustment and Behavior: Conclusions Vary by Rater

  • Lorah D. Dorn
  • Elizabeth J. Susman
  • Angelo Ponirakis
Article

Abstract

The effects of pubertal timing on adolescent development have been studied since the late 1930s, yet the research has yielded inconsistent findings. One reason for such inconsistency may be the source of the rating. The purpose of this report was to examine whether pubertal timing by self-report (SR), parent report (PR), or physical exam (PE) predicted the same aspects of adjustment and behavior problems. Fifty-two girls, age 9–14 years (M = 12.0 ± 1.6) and 56 boys, age 10–15 years (M = 12.7 ± 1.3) and their parents were enrolled in the longitudinal study. Parents completed the Child Behavior Checklist and adolescents completed the Offer Self-Image Questionnaire. Using regression, later maturing boys and girls had more adjustment and behavior problems than on-time or earlier maturers in cross-sectional analyses. Longitudinally, there were few significant relationships between pubertal timing at the first occasion of measurement and adjustment and behavior problems 1 year later. Overlap in correlates of adjustment and behavior problems across raters was not always found. More significant findings were evident between pubertal timing and adjustment and behavior problems for boys than for girls and more for ratings by PE than by SR or PR. Caution appears in order when drawing conclusions about pubertal timing and adolescent behavior when rater of pubertal development or timing of rating varies across studies. The selection of who rates pubertal development and the timing of the ratings should be based on the underlying theoretical framework guiding the hypotheses.

pubertal timing behavior problems self-image puberty 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

REFERENCES

  1. Achenbach, T. M., and Edelbrock, C. S. (1979). The Child Behavior Profile 2. Boys aged 12-16 and girls aged 6-11 and 12-16. J. Consult. Clin. Psychol. 47: 223–233.Google Scholar
  2. Achenbach, T. M., and Edelbrock, C. S. (1983). Manual for the Child Behavior Checklist and Revised Child Behavior Profile. Department of Psychiatry, University of Vermont, Burlington.Google Scholar
  3. Andersson, T., and Magnusson, D. (1990). Biological maturation in adolescence and the development of drinking habits and alcohol abuse among young males: A prospective longitudinal study. J. Youth Adolesc. 19: 33–41.Google Scholar
  4. Angold, A., Costello, E. J., and Worthman, C. M. (1998). Puberty and depression: The roles of age, pubertal status and pubertal timing. Psychol. Med. 28: 51–61.Google Scholar
  5. Berzonsky, M. D., and Lombardo, J. P. (1983). Pubertal timing and identity crisis: A preliminary investigation. J. Early Adolesc. 3: 239–246.Google Scholar
  6. Blyth, D., Simmons, R. G., and Zakin, D. F. (1985). Satisfaction with body image for early adolescent females: The impact of pubertal timing within different school environments. J. Youth Adolesc. 14: 207–225.Google Scholar
  7. Brooks-Gunn, J. (1988). Antecedents and consequences of variations in girls' maturational timing. J. Adolesc. Health Care 9: 365–373.Google Scholar
  8. Brooks-Gunn, J., Petersen, A. C., and Eichorn, D. (1985). The study of maturational timing effects in adolescence. J. Youth Adolesc. 14: 149–161.Google Scholar
  9. Brooks-Gunn, J., and Warren, M. P. (1989). Biological and social contributions to negative affect in young adolescent girls. Child Dev. 60: 40–55.Google Scholar
  10. Brooks-Gunn, J., Warren, M. P., Rosso, J., and Gargiulo, J. (1987). Validity of self-report measures of girls' pubertal status. Child Dev. 58: 829–841.Google Scholar
  11. Buchanan, C. M., Eccles, J. S., and Becker, J. B. (1992). Are adolescents the victims of raging hormones: Evidence for activational effects of hormones on moods and behavior at adolescence. Psychol Bull 111(1): 62–107.Google Scholar
  12. Caspi, A. (1995). Puberty and the gender organization of schools: How biology and social context shape the adolescent experience. In Crockett, L. J., Crouter, A. C., (eds.), Pathways Through Adolescence: Individual Development in Relation to Social Contexts. Erlbaum, Mahwah, NJ pp. 57–74.Google Scholar
  13. Caspi, A., and Moffitt, T. E. (1991). Individual differences are accentuated during periods of social change: Sample case of girls at puberty. J. Pers. Soc. Psychol. 61: 157–168.Google Scholar
  14. Crockett, L. J., and Petersen, A. C. (1987). Pubertal status and psychosocial development: Findings from the Early Adolescence Study. Biological-psychosocial interactions in early adolescence. In Lerner, R. M., and Foch, T. T., (eds.), Biological and Psychological Interaction in Early Adolescence. Erlbaum, Hillsdale, NJ pp. 173–188.Google Scholar
  15. Dorn, L. D., Susman, E. J., Nottelmann, E. D., Inoff-Germain, G., and Chrousos, G. P. (1990). Perceptions of puberty: Adolescent, parent, and health care personnel. Dev. Psychol. 26: 322–329.Google Scholar
  16. Dubas, J. S., Graber, J. A., and Petersen, A. C. (1991). The effects of pubertal development on achievement during adolescence. Am. J. Educ. 99: 444–460.Google Scholar
  17. Duke, P. M., Litt, I. F., and Gross, R. T. (1980). Adolescents' self-assessment of sexual maturation. Pediatrics 66: 918–920.Google Scholar
  18. Duncan, P. D., Ritter, P. L., Dornbusch, S. M., Gross, R. T., and Carlsmith, J. M. (1985). The effects of pubertal timing on body image, school behavior, and deviance. J. Youth Adolesc. 14: 227–235.Google Scholar
  19. Ellis, B. J., and Garber, J. (2000). Psychosocial antecedents of variation in girls' pubertal timing: Maternal depression, stepfather presence, and marital and family stress. Child Dev. 71: 485–501.Google Scholar
  20. Ellis, B. J., McFadyen-Ketchum, S., Dodge, K. A., Pettit, G. S., and Bates, J. E. (1999). Quality of early family relationships and individual differences in the timing of pubertal maturation in girls: A longitudinal test of an evolutionary model. J. Pers. Soc. Psychol. 77: 387–401.Google Scholar
  21. Faust, M. S. (1960). Developmental maturity as a determinant in prestige of adolescent girls. Child Dev. 31: 173–184.Google Scholar
  22. Flannery, D. J., Rowe, D. C., and Gulley, B. L. (1993). Impact of pubertal status, timing and age on adolescent sexual experience and delinquency. J. Adolesc. Res. 8: 21–40.Google Scholar
  23. Ge, X., Brody, G. H., Conger, R. D., Simons, R. L., and Murry, V. M. (2002). Contextual amplification of pubertal transition effects on deviant peer affiliation and externalizing behavior among African-American children. Dev. Psychol. 38: 42–54.Google Scholar
  24. Ge, X., Conger, R. D., and Elder, G. H., Jr. (1996). Coming of age too early: Pubertal influences on girls' vulnerability to psychological distress. Child Dev. 67: 3386–3400.Google Scholar
  25. Ge, X., Conger, R. D., and Elder, G. H., Jr. (2001a). Pubertal transition, stressful life events, and the emergence of gender differences in adolescent depressive symptoms. Dev. Psychol. 37: 404–417.Google Scholar
  26. Ge, X., Conger, R. D., and Elder, G. H., Jr. (2001b). The relation between puberty and psychological distress in adolescent boys. J. Res. Adolesc. 11: 49–70.Google Scholar
  27. Glass, G. V., and Hopkins, K. D. (1996). Statistical Methods in Education and Psychology (3rd ed.) Allyn and Bacon, Boston, MA.Google Scholar
  28. Graber, J. A., Lewinsohn, R. M., Seeley, J. R., and Brooks-Gunn, J. (1997). Is psychopathology associated with the timing of pubertal development? J. Am. Acad. Child Adolesc. Psychiatry 36: 1768–1776.Google Scholar
  29. Graber, J. A., Petersen, A. C., and Brooks-Gunn, J. (1996). Pubertal processes: Methods, measures, and models. In Graber, J. A., Brooks-Gunn, J., and Petersen, A. C., (eds.), Transitions Through Adolescence. Erlbaum, Mahwah, NJ, pp. 23–53.Google Scholar
  30. Hayward, C., Killen, J. D., Wilson, D. M., Hammer, L. D., Litt, I. F., Kraemer, H. C., Haydel, F., Varady, A., and Taylor, C. B. (1997). Psychiatric risk associated with early puberty in adolescent girls. J. Am. Acad. Child Adolesc. Psychiatry 36: 255–262.Google Scholar
  31. Hollingshead, A. B. (1975). Four-Factor Index of Social Status. Yale University CT Press, New Haven.Google Scholar
  32. Jones, H. E. (1938). The California adolescent growth study. J. Educ. Res. 31: 561–567.Google Scholar
  33. Jones, M. C. (1958). A study of socialization patterns at the high school level. J. Genet. Psychol. 92: 87–111.Google Scholar
  34. Jones, M. C., and Bayley, N. (1950). Physical maturing among boys as related to behavior. J. Educ. Psychol. 41: 129–148.Google Scholar
  35. Laitinen-Krispijn, S., Van der Ende, J., Hazebroek-Kampschreur, A. A. J. M., and Verhulst, F. C. (1999). Pubertal maturation and the development of behavioral and emotional problems in early adolescence. Acta Psychiatr. Scand. 99: 16–25.Google Scholar
  36. Magnusson, D. H., Stattin, H., and Allen, V. (1985). Biological maturation and social development: A longitudinal study of some adjustment processes from mid-adolescence to adulthood. J. Youth Adolesc. 14: 267–283.Google Scholar
  37. Marshall, W. A., and Tanner, J. M. (1969). Variations in the pattern of pubertal changes in girls. Arch. Dis. Child. 44: 291–303.Google Scholar
  38. Marshall, W. A., and Tanner, J. M. (1970). Variations in the pattern of pubertal changes in boys. Arch. Dis. Child. 445: 13–23.Google Scholar
  39. Marti-Henneberg, C., and Vizmanos, B. (1997). The duration of puberty in girls is related to the timing of its onset. J. Pediatr. 131: 618–621.Google Scholar
  40. Morris, N., and Udry, J. R. (1980). Validation of a self-administered instrument to assess stage of adolescent development. J. Youth Adolesc. 9: 271–280.Google Scholar
  41. Mussen, P. H., and Jones, M. C. (1957). Self-conceptions, motivations, and interpersonal attitudes of late-and early-maturing boys. Child Dev. 28: 243–256.Google Scholar
  42. Neinstein, L. S. (1982). Adolescent self-assessment of sexual maturation: Reassessment and evaluation in a mixed ethnic urban population. Clin. Pediatr. 21: 482–484.Google Scholar
  43. Nottelmann, E. D., Susman, E. J., Dorn, L. D., Inoff-Germain, G., Loriaux, D. L., Cutler, G. B., Jr., and Chrousos, G. P. (1987). Developmental processes in early adolescence: Relations among chronological age, pubertal stage, height, weight, and serum levels of gonadotropins, sex steroids, and adrenal androgens. J. Adolesc. Health Care 8: 246–260.Google Scholar
  44. Offer, D., Ostrov, E., and Howard, K. I. (1977). The Offer Self-Image Questionnaire for Adolescents: A Manual. Michael Reese Hospital, Chicago.Google Scholar
  45. Offer, D., Ostrov, E., and Howard, K. I. (1981). The Adolescent: A Psychological Self-Portrait. Basic Books, New York.Google Scholar
  46. Orr, D. P., and Ingersol, G. M. (1995). The contribution of level of cognitive complexity and pubertal timing to behavioral risk in young adolescents. Pediatrics 95: 528–533.Google Scholar
  47. Petersen, A. C., and Crockett, L. (1985). Pubertal timing and grade effects on adjustment. J. Youth Adolesc. 14: 191–206.Google Scholar
  48. Petersen, A. C., and Taylor, B. (1980). The biological approach to adolescence. In Adelson, J. (ed.), Handbook of Adolescent Psychology. Wiley, New York, pp. 117–155.Google Scholar
  49. Schlossberger, N. M., Turner, R. A., and Irwin, C. E. (1992). Validity of self-report of pubertal maturation in early adolescents. J. Adolesc. Health 13: 109–113.Google Scholar
  50. Siegel, J. M., Yancey, A. K., Aneshensel, C. S., and Schuler, R. (1999). Body image, perceived pubertal timing and adolescent mental health. J. Adolesc. Health 25: 155–165.Google Scholar
  51. Silbereisen, R. K., Petersen, A. C., Albrecht, H. T., and Kracke, B. (1989). Maturational timing and the development of problem behavior: Longitudinal studies in adolescence. J. Early Adolesc. 9: 247–268.Google Scholar
  52. Simmons, R. A., Blyth, D. A., Van Cleave, E. F., and Bush, D. (1979). Entry into early adolescence: The impact of school structure, puberty, and early dating on self-esteem. Am. Sociol. Rev. 44: 948–967.Google Scholar
  53. Stattin, H., and Magnusson, D. (1990). Pubertal Maturation in Female Development. Erlbaum, Hillsdale, NJ.Google Scholar
  54. Steinberg, L. (1987). Impact of puberty on family relations: Effects of pubertal status and pubertal timing. Dev. Psychol. 23: 451–460.Google Scholar
  55. Stolz, H. R., and Stolz, L. M. (1944). Adolescence related to somatic variation. In Henry, N. B. (ed.), Adolescence: 43rd Yearbook of the National Committee for the Study of Education; 43rd,pt.1. University of Chicago Press, Chicago.Google Scholar
  56. Susman, E. J., Dorn, L. D., and Chrousos, G. P. (1991). Negative affect and hormone levels in young adolescents: Concurrent and predictive perspectives. J. Youth Adolesc. 20: 167–190.Google Scholar
  57. Susman, E. J., Nottelmann, E. D., Inoff-Germain, G., Dorn, L. D., and Chrousos, G. P. (1987). Hormonal influences on aspects of psychological development during adolescence. J. Adolesc. Health Care 8: 492–504.Google Scholar
  58. Susman, E. J., Nottelmann, E. D., Inoff, G. E., Dorn, L. D., Cutler, G. B., Loriaux, J., and Chrousos, G. P. (1985). The relationship of relative hormone levels and physical development and social-emotional behavior in young adolescents. J. Youth Adolesc. 14: 245–264.Google Scholar
  59. Swarr, A. E., and Richards, M. H. (1996). Longitudinal effects of adolescent girls' pubertal development, perceptions of pubertal timing, and parental relations on eating problems. Dev. Psychol. 32: 636–646.Google Scholar
  60. Tobin-Richards, M. H., Boxer, A. M., and Petersen, A. C. (1983). The psychological significance of pubertal change: Sex differences in perceptions of self during early adolescence. In Brooks-Gunn, J., and Petersen, A. C. (eds.), Girls at Puberty: Biological and Psychosocial Perspectives. Plenum, New York, pp. 127–154.Google Scholar
  61. Tschann, J. M., Adler, N. E., Irwin, C. E. Jr., Millstein, S. G., Turner, R. A., and Kegeles, S. M. (1994). Initiation of substance use in early adolescence: The roles of pubertal timing and emotional distress. Health Psychol. 13: 326–333.Google Scholar
  62. Wichstrom, L. (2000). Predictors of adolescent suicide attempts: A nationally representative longitudinal study of Norwegian adolescents. J. Am. Acad. Child Adolescent Psychiatry 39: 603–610.Google Scholar
  63. Williams, J. M., and Dunlop, L. C. (1999). Pubertal timing and self-reported delinquency among male adolescents. J. Adolesc. 22: 157–171.Google Scholar
  64. Wilson, D. M., Killen, J. D., Hayward, C., Robinson, T. N., Hammer, L. D., Kraemer, H. C., Varady, A., and Taylor, C. B. (1994). Timing and rate of sexual maturation and the onset of cigarette and alcohol use among teenage girls. Arch. Pediatr. Adolesc. Med. 148: 789–795.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lorah D. Dorn
    • 1
  • Elizabeth J. Susman
    • 2
  • Angelo Ponirakis
    • 3
  1. 1.School of Nursing and Department of PsychiatryUniversity of PittsburghPittsburgh
  2. 2.Biobehavioral HealthThe Pennsylvania State UniversityUniversity Park
  3. 3.Institute for Public Policy Studies, Center for Mental Health PolicyVanderbilt UniversityWashington DC

Personalised recommendations