Puberty is often implicated in the onset or exacerbation of psychopathology during adolescence, and pubertal timing and tempo have emerged as important predictors of wellbeing. In the psychosocial literature there is a tendency to view individual differences in the nature (timing and tempo) of pubertal development as either determined by stress experienced in childhood or as a determinant of the development of psychopathology; few studies, however, have examined puberty as both. We propose that pubertal timing and tempo are neither simply antecedents nor consequences with respect to onset or exacerbation of psychopathology, but rather as markers of accumulating risk such as that conceptualized as allostatic load. Further, we propose that integrating coping and self-regulation into models of off-time pubertal maturation presents an opportunity to forge linkages among the processes that precede and follow pubertal development, which may provide malleable intervention targets to offset the costs of early life stress and off-time maturation. The present narrative review synthesizes research from the following literatures: (1) the role of stress in determining the timing and tempo of pubertal development; (2) the role of stress in influencing how pubertal development affects socioemotional and behavioral outcomes during adolescence, and (3) the role of coping and self-regulation in understanding conditional adaptations to stress. Given the conclusions of this synthesis, critical recommendations are made for research and intervention work with adolescents.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Psychiatry and Mental health