Navigation Links
Faster progress through puberty linked to behavior problems

Children who go through puberty at a faster rate are more likely to act out and to suffer from anxiety and depression, according to a study by researchers at Penn State, Duke University and the University of California, Davis. The results suggest that primary care providers, teachers and parents should look not only at the timing of puberty in relation to kids' behavior problems, but also at the tempo of puberty -- how fast or slow kids go through puberty.

"Past work has examined the timing of puberty and shown the negative consequences of entering puberty at an early age, but there has been little work done to investigate the effects of tempo," said Kristine Marceau, a Penn State graduate student and the study's primary author. "By using a novel statistical tool to simultaneously model the timing and tempo of puberty in children, we present a much more comprehensive picture of what happens during adolescence and why behavior problems may ensue as a result of going through these changes."

The team -- led by Elizabeth Susman, the Jean Phillips Shibley Professor of Biobehavioral Health at Penn State -- created a unique nonlinear mixed-effects model that incorporated data from 364 white boys and 373 white girls that had been collected as part of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development's Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development, which had an initial goal of determining how variations in the environment are related to children's development. The data included information about breast and pubic hair development in girls and genital and pubic hair development in boys as assessed by nurses, as well as weight and height for both boys and girls. The data also included information on internalizing and externalizing behavior problems as reported by boys' and girls' parents or other caregivers, and risky sexual behaviors as reported by the kids themselves.

"We found that earlier timing for girls was related to a slew of behavior problems, and we also found that a faster tempo of development independently predicted those same sorts of problem behaviors," said Marceau. "Although timing and tempo both predicted behavior problems in girls, timing and tempo weren't related to each other. For boys, though, we found a strong relationship between timing and tempo. For example, we found that boys who have later timing combined with slower tempo exhibited the least amount of acting out and externalizing problems."

The team's results will appear in the September issue of the journal Developmental Psychology.

Why does going through puberty at a faster rate relate to external behavior problems and internal anxiety and depression?

"The thought is that when the major changes of puberty are compressed into a shorter amount of time, adolescents don't have enough time to acclimate, so they're not emotionally or socially ready for all the changes that happen," said Marceau. "This is the explanation that originally was attributed solely to early timing, but we suggest that the same thing also is happening if the rate of puberty is compressed."

According to Susman, timing and tempo of puberty vary dramatically across kids. "Children are extremely sensitive to how fast or slow other kids are going through puberty, and that may contribute to both the internalizing depression-type problems or the externalizing problems of acting out," she said.

In the future, Susman plans to examine the effects of tempo of puberty on later women's health problems. "One of the things that has concerned me over the years is the relationship between early puberty and later women's health problems," she said. "Specifically, there is some indication that early timing of puberty relates to more reproductive cancers, with the speculated mechanism being estradiol. If you're an early maturer, you have a longer exposure to this hormone. The question is whether the tempo of puberty has similar implications for women's health."


Contact: Sara LaJeunesse
Penn State

Related medicine news :

1. Language speed versus efficiency: Is faster better?
2. Faster Way to Treat Partners of Women With STDs Urged: Experts
3. Study on football: Women get up faster
4. Hammock Effect May Help Adults Fall Asleep Faster
5. Faster Transition From CPR to Defibrillator May Save Lives
6. Limiting carbs, not calories, reduces liver fat faster, UT Southwestern researchers find
7. Radiation at time of lumpectomy may offer faster, more precise treatment for breast cancer patients
8. Narrowed Leg Arteries Disable Women Faster Than Men: Study
9. Younger immigrants adjust to a new culture faster than do older immigrants
10. High levels of circulating DNA may signal faster progression of lung cancer
11. Youth adapt faster than seniors to unexpected events
Post Your Comments:
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... ... temporary closing of Bruton Memorial Library on June 21 due to a possible lice infestation, ... aspect of head lice: the parasite’s ability to live away from a human host, and ... necessary one in the event that lice have simply gotten out of control. , As ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... On Friday, June 10, Van Mitchell, ... at Work award to iHire in recognition of their exemplary accomplishments in worksite health ... annual Maryland Workplace Health & Wellness Symposium at the BWI Marriott in Linthicum Heights. ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Marcy was in a crisis. Her son James, eight, ... at his family verbally and physically. , “When something upset him, he couldn’t control his ... it. He would throw rocks at my other children and say he was going to ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... , ... June 24, 2016 , ... Topical BioMedics, Inc, makers of Topricin and MyPainAway ... call for a minimum wage raise to $12 an hour by 2020 and then adjusting ... restore the lost value of the minimum wage, assure the wage floor does not erode ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... 2016 , ... Strategic Capital Partners, LLC (SCP) in concert ... capital for emerging technology companies. SCP has delivered investment events and professional ... than a million dollars of capital investment for five companies. The ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/26/2016)... , June 26, 2016 ... care operating models within the health care industry is ... financial efficiency , Deloitte offers a suite of ... business issues impacting efficient cost optimization: labor resource analysis, ... These services facilitate better outcomes and better economics ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... FRANCISCO, Calif. , June 24, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... ), a biopharmaceutical company developing novel therapeutics for ... unmet needs, today announced the closing of its ... of common stock, at the public offering price ... in the offering were offered by GBT. GBT ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... , June 24, 2016 ... of the "Structural Electronics 2015-2025: Applications, Technologies, ... In-Mold Electronics, Smart Skin, ... Photovoltaics Structural electronics involves electronic ... load-bearing, protective structures, replacing dumb structures such as ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: