Performance of a new pubertal self-assessment questionnaire: a preliminary study

Paediatr Perinat Epidemiol. 2001 Jan;15(1):88-94. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-3016.2001.00317.x.


We describe the performance of a new, self-assessment questionnaire that aims to measure pubertal status by using gender-specific line drawings of the Tanner puberty stages. The study was carried out on 103 children aged 12-16 years attending a paediatric endocrinology outpatient clinic and used physical examination by clinic doctors as the 'gold standard'. Of 133 consecutive, eligible children, 108 (81%) agreed to participate in the study. Data were collected from 62 (60%) males and 41 (40%) females. Mean age was 14.78 years (SD = 1.26 years, range 12.08-16.98 years). For the pubic hair distribution Tanner stage, there was agreement to within one Tanner stage for 90 children (88%), weighted kappa statistic for inter-rater agreement = 0.68 [95% CI 0.49,0.87]. For the female breast/male genitalia Tanner stage, there was agreement to within one Tanner stage for 75 children (76%), kappa = 0.48 [95% CI 0.31,0.64]. The children tended to underestimate their stage of pubertal development. Overall, the kappa statistics implied good agreement for the pubic hair question and moderate agreement for the breast/genitalia stage question in both girls and boys. The questionnaire may prove useful in situations such as large-scale epidemiological studies, in which direct examination of children to determine pubertal status is not possible, and further validation in normal adolescents is warranted.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Body Image*
  • Breast / growth & development
  • Child
  • Female
  • Genitalia, Female / growth & development
  • Genitalia, Male / growth & development
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Puberty*
  • Self-Assessment*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*