Pubertal timing and the development of psychopathology in adolescence and beyond

Horm Behav. 2013 Jul;64(2):262-9. doi: 10.1016/j.yhbeh.2013.04.003.


This article is part of a Special Issue "Puberty and Adolescence". This paper examines consistency of effects of pubertal timing (going through puberty earlier, later or at the same time one's cohort of peers) on the development of psychopathology during adolescence as well as the persistence of effects into adulthood. It is argued that early maturing girls are at unique risk for psychopathology not only in terms of elevated internalizing and externalizing symptoms and disorders during adolescence but also persistence of elevated risk for depressive disorders and other symptomatology in adulthood. Emerging evidence supports bio-psychosocial pathways for these effects. In addition, recent evidence indicates that late maturation in males may also be a pathway for psychopathology typified by elevated symptoms of psychopathology during early and mid-adolescence and the emergence of disorder in the late adolescent period. While less well established, potential pathways for this association are also discussed.

Keywords: Psychopathology; Pubertal timing; Vulnerability-stress models.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior / psychology
  • Adolescent Development / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / etiology*
  • Mental Disorders / physiopathology
  • Psychology, Adolescent*
  • Puberty / physiology*
  • Puberty / psychology*
  • Sexual Maturation / physiology*
  • Time Factors