The study examined the relation between timing of physical maturation and problems of adjustment and peer relations. The participants were 9-14-year-old boys (N=56) and girls (N=52). Assessments of physical maturation consisted of pubertal staging according to Tanner criteria and serum determinations of luteinizing hormone, follicle stimulating hormone, testosterone, estradiol, dehydroepiandrosterone, dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate, and androstenedione. There was approximately an equal number of boys and girls in each pubertal stage. The psychological measures were the Psychopathology and Emotional Tone subscales from the Offer Self-Image Questionnaire for Adolescents and interview questions to assess interactions with peers. Psychopathology and emotional tone (sad effect) scores were higher for boys with high-for-age adrenal androgens and lower for boys with high-for-age sex steroids. Behavioral manifestations of sexuality, interest in dating, was higher for boys with high-for-age adrenal androgens. Dating and spending time with friends were higher for boys with high-for-age gonadotropins. Psychopathology and emotional tone were higher for girls with high-for-age gonadotropins. The results indicate that high-for-age hormone level or early timing of puberty generally was related to adverse psychological consequences for boys and girls, with relations being stronger for boys than for girls.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Social Psychology
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Social Sciences (miscellaneous)