Purpose: To evaluate interobserver reliability of physician assessments of pubertal maturation and to evaluate the validity of self-assessment compared to physician assessments of pubertal maturation by girls in a multiethnic sample.
Methods: The study design is descriptive. A total of 107 8-17-year-old healthy volunteers from settings with large minority populations in the Houston metropolitan area were recruited for a study on adolescents' energy needs. The two outcome measures were interobserver reliability between two physicians' assessments of breast and pubic hair, and the self-assessment of breast and pubic hair maturation compared to physicians' assessments.
Results: The kappa coefficient for physician interobserver agreement for breast maturation was 0.5. The kappa coefficient for physician interobserver agreement for assessment of pubic hair was 0.79. The kappa coefficient for the validity of self-assessment of breast development was 0.34, and that for self-assessment of pubic hair was 0.37.
Conclusion: Interobserver agreement for physician assessment of breast maturation was low and self-assessment of breast maturation was not reliable in this group of adolescent girls. However, whereas physician interobserver agreement for pubic hair was good, self-assessment of pubic hair maturation was not reliable in this group of adolescent girls.